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A Tale of Two (or Three) Business Plans

If you’ve ever had the chance to be a judge in a business plan competition, you’ve probably experienced this feeling when reviewing some great (and also not so great) entries. We’re here to highlight a few of your typical business plans that one will see in any given competition and identify the type of plan that will prevail in the end.

Why Running a Sweepstakes is a Waste of Time

Sweepstakes don’t work. If you were to Google “sweepstakes” right now, you would see that there are hundreds of pages of sweepstakes submission forms. Before joining the hundreds of others going down the wrong road, look at the facts:

A sweepstakes does not leave a lasting impression on the consumer.

Sweepstakes = prizes. When a consumer fills out a sweepstakes form, they have one thing in mind: That bright, shiny prize. They only interact with the brand for as long as it takes them to enter their personal information in. After those few seconds, they’re gone. The only ones who re-interact with the brand are the winners! Those who entered, but did not win, are often never reached or reminded of the brand again. Many are often deterred because of the low odds of winning.

3 Steps to Running an Innovative Competition

Reviewr|Reviewr|June 15, 2015

You’re an administrator of an entrepreneurship organization and you’ve been tasked to head up a competition. Your team has identified the benefits of running a competition, such as:

  • Competitions bring together all elements needed to give an entrepreneur a start
  • Competitions build engagement and excitement in and around the programs
  • Competitions provide incentive for sponsors to get involved
  • Competitions build prestige around programs and involve major industry players
  • Competitions help engage alumni networks

Of course it’s easy to point out the benefits of the overall program. But what about the actual implementation process? If you’ve never run a competition before, fear not. We’ve put together a few things to help in the brainstorming process.

Integrate Crowdsourcing Campaigns Into Your Competition

Reviewr|Erin Carey|June 14, 2015

Crowdsourcing frees up time that can be better spent on the integral parts an event, such as submission creation, judging, and more. Because of this, event administrators are beginning to incorporate crowdsourcing into their competition, award program or brand engagement event in many different ways.

Below, we’ve outlined four ways that utilizing crowdsourcing can better a competition, award program or brand engagement event:

6 Things to Remember When Running Your Event

We completely understand - it's a lot of work to be an administrator of an engaging event. There's a lot of work to be done and planning to be had; dates to finalize and judges to confirm. With all of the hustle and bustle that you're inevitably doing, it's easy to forget a few simple (but important) elements of running your program.

Here's a few of the commonly forgotten items:

Entrepreneurship Competitions Teach Things your College Business Class Won't

Reviewr|Ellen Peterson|June 12, 2015

College is a great time to learn a wide variety of skills and disciplines and to experience the many things that life has to offer. A college business class is a great place to start learning the grassroots of what makes a strong company and an excellent employee/employer. However, there are aspects of business that can only be learned through real-life experience, and a great way to gain this experience is through an entrepreneurship competition.

Writing a Business Plan: An Adventure, Not A Job!

Competition Tips|Reviewr|June 11, 2015

A well-crafted business plan is crucial to success in business plan competitions. And not just any well-crafted business plan; one that stands out from the crowd. For students in business schools, especially those in entrepreneurial tracks, creating such a plan is a huge part of their education. For everyone else, it’s a learned art that combines your passion for a business with the down-to-earth details involved in getting that business off the ground.

If you’re a wanna-be entrepreneur or student who has a great idea for a business and either wants to enter a business plan competition or find funding, here are some factors to consider as you craft a business plan.

Judging a Live Competition: A Checklist

Many events these days include a live element where applicants appear before a panel of judges and pitch their idea, business plan, etc. Event administrators seasaw between the ease of evaluating on an online platform and the familiarity, on the judge’s part, of hard-copy judging. On the one hand, online scoring allows for real-time results, easy reporting and instant feedback for applicants. On the other hand, judges can sometimes be stuck in their ways (think “We’ve always done it on paper) and may not be jumping for joy over a new system. However, the old pen-and-paper routine leaves a lot of room for human error in the ways of scoring (what if you add them up wrong?), collecting (what if you lose one?) and sharing feedback (how are you going to give the feedback to the applicants? Mail them a copy?). Before you break out the No.2 pencils, know that competitions across the globe (big and small) are using online judging during live presentations. The only difference is, instead of double-checking that the printer has ink, you must check these 7 elements before the live portion of judging begins.

How to leverage mentorship in your competition, challenge or award program

Contests, competitions and challenges breed excellent ideas. But what do applicants do with those ideas after they get feedback from the first round of judging? Applicants spend hours putting together their submission before entering it for review. Even with feedback from reviewers, they likely don’t know the best ways to implement or improve on it. Our team has witnessed an elevated amount of clients who choose to incorporate a mentoring round into their contest, competition or award program.

How to find sponsorship for your competition, contest, or award program

Company News|Erin Carey|June 11, 2015

More and more, competition, contest or award program administrators are matching up with sponsors to help fund their event. Sponsors lend recognition and capital to the event while simultaneously benefiting the sponsor themselves. But how does an event administrator go about finding sponsors? And what do they do once they have been found?

Follow the 7 steps listed below to achieve sponsorship success:

6 Tips for Perfecting Your Elevator Pitch

Investors and competition administrators often don’t want to go through entire business plans only to find that the idea doesn’t fit with what they’re looking for. They often want applicants to outline their idea in a brief, but comprehensive, format.

To combat this, many event administrators offer an “elevator pitch” component in their business plan competition. In fact, elevator pitches are becoming so popular that they often make up an entire competition. Elevator pitches are important to refine because in life, and competitions, one must be able to sell your product/service, your company and yourself to anyone you meet in roughly 2 minutes (the duration of a typical elevator ride). And we’re here to give you a few tips for the crafting and refinement of your elevator pitch.

Design Ignites & AIGA present: 2014 Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award

Company News|Erin Carey|June 11, 2015

Sylvia Harris (1953 – 2011) is widely recognized as a pioneer, a generous mentor and a vital inspiration to the field of social impact design. Over her twenty-five year career, Sylvia Harris championed “good design for the common good,” tirelessly promoting accessible communications for mass audiences. As founder and principal of Citizen Research & Design, she consulted to the nation’s largest hospitals, universities and civic agencies on strategic design planning, public policy development and innovation management.   

In that spirit, Design Ignites Change and AIGA have established the Sylvia Harris Citizen Design Award to honor her legacy by supporting other vanguards dedicated to public design.

5 Reasons Entrepreneurship Competitions are an Ideal Place to Invest Capital

We all know that entrepreneurship competitions are a great place to receive funding, gain notoriety, and network with influential entrepreneurs. However, you may not know that entrepreneurship competitions are a great place to invest capital, too! Here’s just a few reasons you should consider it.

7 Funding Benefits Entrepreneurs Gain from Business Plan Competitions

Business plan competitions are valuable in the business world, especially now that the entrepreneurship rate is around 11.3% in the United States*, and it’s undeniable that one of the best parts is the capital that can be received and used to fund a business venture. However, different than any run-of-the-mill funding, the capital that comes from entrepreneurship competitions can be particularly helpful because it comes with things that aren’t just numbers after a dollar sign.

From funding to notoriety and beyond, business plan competitions are THE ideal place to receive capital for a business.

Entrepreneurs Need Contests, Competitions or Award Programs

The entrepreneur world is ever changing. Finding a way to shape, mentor and enhance the work of up and coming entrepreneurs is the whole reason we built our company. Competitions foster growth, enable feedback, and allow for mentorship.