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 recognizes that some students are more advanced in their enterprise development and will compete more effectively. To encourage continued development by advanced students and businesses, MWest has created the Masterclass. The Masterclass is for more experienced and developed teams that have won previous competitions, have an established business model, received grant money or are working on the commercialization of an idea with a community partner.
The Early Stage Track Guidelines: For teams who are in the ideation stage and just started the process and have not refined their plans and goals.
Must be an independent venture in the start-up ideation or very early growth.
Ideas can be for profit or nonprofit.
Sales up to $5000, since the LLC was established, are allowed in the process of validation.
Can’t have any investment money raised from previous competitions, grants, family, friends, microloans, or investors
The Masterclass Track Guidelines:
Must be an independent venture in the start-up ideation, early growth or seed stages.
Ideas can be for profit or nonprofit.
Sales from $5000-$50,000, since the LLC was established, are allowed in the process of validation.
Teams that have competed and won in previous competitions, received grants, or investment money can participate in the MWest Challenge in the Masterclass track. However, teams that previously competed in the MWest Challenge and won a grand prize, first prize, or second prize, may not compete again in the competition.
Any team cannot have more than $100,000 in investment capital. Investment capital is funds received from family, friends, grants, competitions, crowd funding, loans, venture, or angel investments.
Community Partner Sponsored Ideas: MWest encourages using community and corporate resources to develop new enterprises and problem based ideas. Students that have an idea that originates from and uses the resources of a community organization or a corporation may compete in then Masterclass.
Teams with Community Partner Ideas will be able to compete in the Masterclass track only
Teams should play a significant role in developing the idea and/or the business plan. Teams cannot just pitch an idea for a Community Partner. They have to have played a significant role in developing the idea and/or business.
Teams should be engaged in the ongoing development of the business after the competition.
Teams should have a license or a letter of intent from the sponsoring organization or corporation.
Teams should contact the MWest manager for clarification on the letter of intent criteria.
Teams are subject to the other competition criteria for the Masterclass involving revenue, previous competitions and capital investments.
Student teams developing ideas in conjunction with a community organization or corporation, may participate in the Masterclass under the aforementioned conditions.
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 College
- Cornerstone University
- Davenport University
- Grand Rapids Community College
- Grand Valley State University
- Hope College
- Kendall College
- Kuyper College
Students must be enrolled during the Fall 2016 and Winter 2017 semesters at their respective college or university. Students who graduate Dec 2016 can participate in the Mwest Challenge. However, they must send an email, indicating intent to participate, to Shorouq Almallah (firstname.lastname@example.org) no later than Dec 31, 2016.
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 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.