M West Challenge

West Michigan's regional business plan competition.

Welcome to the 2016 MWest Challenge, a student venture competition designed to create cross collaboration between students that span across several universities from West Michigan. Through MWest, entrepreneurially minded students are able to develop and grow new ventures based on their own ideas. MWest involves eight West Michigan colleges and universities, representing 75,000 students from: Grand Valley State University, Kendall College of Art and Design, Davenport University, Aquinas College, Calvin College, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids Community College, Kuyper College, and Hope College.

Business Requirements: What Sort of Businesses May Enter

All submissions are subject to review, consideration and acceptance by the West Michigan Colleges and Universities Group

The MWest Challenge has two primary missions.  (1) to teach students the skills and process of new enterprise development. (2) To help students who desire to start a new enterprise in their endeavor through encouragement, mentorship and early stage funding.  MWest is designed for venture concepts that are in the ideation or early stage of development.

MWest Guidelines:  For teams who are in the ideation stage and just started the process and have not refined their plans and goals.  

  • The company or idea Must be majority owned (over 50%) by the student.

  • Must be an independent venture in the start-up ideation or very early growth.

  • Ideas can be for profit or nonprofit.

  • Sales or investments from grants, investors and competitions can’t exceed up to $5000, since the LLC was established, are allowed in the process of validation.

  • This is for concepts in the ideation stage. However, if a legal entity has been formed, the earliest incorporation date cannot be before April 1 2017.


  • If you have previously competed and won an award at MWest, other than Impact award, you are not eligible to apply.


Student requirements: Size of Team and Entries Allowed per Team
This competition is for current undergraduate or graduate level students enrolled in a degree-seeking program at a participating college or university:

  • Aquinas College

  • Calvin University

  • Cornerstone University

  • Davenport University

  • Grand Rapids Community College

  • Grand Valley State University

  • Hope College

  • Kendall College

  • Kuyper College

Students must be currently enrolled at their respective college or university. Students who graduate Dec 2017 can participate in the Mwest Challenge.  However, they must send an email, indicating intent to participate, to Shorouq Almallah (almallas@gvsu.edu) no later than Dec 31, 2017.

Teams are not university specific. Teams can be made up of students representing one or more of the participating universities.

Contestants may compete individually or in teams.  However, it is highly encouraged that students work in teams.


International Students

  • International students are not eligible to win prize money from the competition

  • Prizes are seed funds for US-based startups

  • International students may participate on teams with US students for the educational and experiential component


Ownership of the Plan

  • The Competition is for student created, managed and owned ventures.

  • Students must have played the major role in conceiving the venture.

  • Students must have key management roles in the (proposed) venture.

  • Students must have supermajority in the (proposed) venture.


Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines

Contestants should be aware that neither administrators of the competition nor judges of the business plan will be required, nor should they be asked, to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDA).

Contestants are encouraged to be selective about what they disclose, to label plans and contents with the words CONFIDENTIAL AND PROPRIETARY, and to seek legal counsel if they have any further questions regarding the legal protection of their ideas.

All public sessions of the Competition, including but not limited to oral presentations and question/answer sessions, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these public sessions may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include radio, television and the Internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions.

Event organizer may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes of the presentations including the written business plan and other documents, charts or material prepared for use in presentation at the Regional Business Plan Competition, and disseminate said materials in any promotional form. Contestants retain all proprietary rights to their ideas.