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Northwest Missouri State University

News Release

Feb. 17, 2012

Students invited to enter business plan competition, winner receives scholarship

Northwest Missouri State University students interested in developing business plans and presenting them in a competitive setting are encouraged to register for the inaugural Business Plan Competition.

The objective of the competition, sponsored by the Department of Marketing and Management, is to encourage students to consider entrepreneurship as a potential career and help prepare them for such a path, said Dr. Ben Blackford, an assistant professor of marketing and management at Northwest who is coordinating the competition.

“The inspiration was to provide another opportunity for students to gain real world experience in an important aspect of entrepreneurship and small business,” Blackford said. “The idea developed from conversations with individuals on campus and in the community regarding possible ways to provide this experience as well as from other such successful competitions across the country.”

Blackford said students participating in the competition will have the chance to explore a potential business idea and receive valuable feedback from successful entrepreneurs and experienced professionals. The competition also will provide students with an opportunity to network with professionals and gain presentation experience.


How to enter

Teams may register by submitting an email outlining their intention to enter the competition, with a complete business plan that meets the competition criteria, to Blackford at All entries must be submitted by Monday, March 19, for a preliminary review.

The selection committee will then notify teams selected to advance to the presentation competition, which will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in the J.W. Jones Student Union.

The competition is open to all Northwest students. Teams must consist of at least two members and no more than six members. There is no entry fee for the competition. Full details regarding the competition and plan format can be found by clicking here.

Teams will be judged on the effectiveness and persuasiveness of their presentations, the innovativeness and quality of their ideas, the competitive advantage of their proposed businesses, effective discussion of financials and proposed management teams. Ultimately, the judges will base their final decisions on how likely they would be to invest their own money in one of the proposals.

Grand prize winners will receive the Dave and Les Ackman Entrepreneurship Scholarship.


Competition format

The competition will consist of two timed rounds of oral presentations. Teams will be allotted five minutes to set up and begin their presentations once the previous team’s presentation is complete. Competing teams will be allowed to observe other presentations only after presenting their own plans.

Teams advancing from the preliminary round will compete in the first round and then be divided into three tracks. During the first round, teams will have 15 minutes to present an overview of their business plans to a panel of three judges. Teams will then have 10 minutes to answer judges’ questions.

After all teams have presented, judges will select the best team from their track to advance to the final round. The three teams selected for the final round will present their plans again and the judges will select an overall winner.

During the final round, teams will have 15 minutes to present their plans to judges, who will be allowed to ask questions at any time.

The competition day schedule also includes a lunch at which Northwest alumnus Melvin D. Booth will be the keynote speaker.

For more information about the competition, contact Blackford at or 660.562.1282.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468