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University of Chicago New Venture Challenge

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University of Chicago New Venture Challenge

Launched in 1996, the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC) is the premier start-up launch program run by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. As an immersive, experiential learning program, the NVC helps students turn their ideas into viable businesses. Today, the NVC is recognized as a top-ranked accelerator program in the nation, and is where companies like GrubHub and Braintree got their strong start.


To encourage the founding of high-potential new ventures and to reward the developers of promising business plans.


Team Size:

There is no minimum or maximum team size. However, each team is required to have at least one currently registered student from the University of Chicago as an active member of the team.* This includes full-time and part-time (e.g., Evening and Weekend MBA Programs) students. We highly encourage teams to incorporate at least one student from the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business (Chicago Booth). To qualify, the UChicago student must be registered as of the Phase I deadline. The student should be an integral part of the team, and should have equity in the company and/or a role on the management team.

*Teams comprised of undergraduate students are eligible if:
– The team has previously participated in the College NVC, or – The team includes at least one current graduate student

A team of all undergraduate students will not be eligible for the NVC or Social NVC if neither of these criteria has been met.

Team Composition:

All registered University of Chicago undergraduate and graduate students, from any department, are eligible to fill out the rest of the team. In addition, teams may have members who are not affiliated with the University of Chicago. The Polsky Center encourages teams to identify individuals, within and external to the University, who may contribute the additional expertise and experience to help the team succeed.

Entries must be the original work of the entrants and may be made by a single-student or by multiple- student teams. Each team or student may submit as many entries as they wish. However, it is unlikely that multiple entries from the same team will be successful given that the plans are judged partly on the ability of the team to execute the plan.

Originality of Business Ideas:

The new venture idea should be original and have commercial promise. The entry may be developed in conjunction with a course or research project, and students may enlist faculty aid. Business plans that have participated in the past as part of other university business plan competitions are not eligible unless approved by one of the NVC faculty or coaches.

Business plans for very early stage ventures may be acceptable if the company has not already received funding from venture capitalists and/or other investors. Teams that have secured arrangements for capital from any source must disclose the amounts and sources in their Phase I executive summaries. Entries which have received outside investment from venture capital firms, private investors, or other industry sources may be considered ineligible to compete and should contact the Polsky Center in advance for confirmation.

Equity Agreements

As a condition to receive the Prize Money, each winning team must agree to provide the Polsky Center with equity in the Company (that was the subject of its business plan) in an amount equal to its respective award if the company receives funding or otherwise enters into a business combination transaction wherein the surviving entity receives financing or equity in another entity.

The Judges Panel and/or the Polsky Center reserve the right to disqualify any entry that does not meet all the eligibility requirements or that violates any rules or regulations of the New Venture Challenge.


Three Phases of the New Venture Challenge

  1. Phase I
    1. One electronic copy of each team’s feasibility summary is due to [email protected] by the Phase I deadline.
    2. Team selected to advance to Phase II as semi-finalists, will be announced in late February.
    3. Phase II team members are eligible and strongly encouraged to take BUS 34104 Special Topics in Entrepreneurship: Developing a New Venture for credit or audit. At least one team member is required to be registered for the course in order for the team to receive the detailed coaching assistance. Members from each of the teams are also urged to attend the orientation

      session closely following the Phase II announcement.

  2. Phase II
    1. In BUS 34104, each team will present their business plan to in-class judges comprising venture capitalists and entrepreneurs. For more details, please see the “Business Plans” section below. The feedback received from these presentations will help the teams improve the plan and their presentations and position them for the final round of the program.
    2. Each semi-finalist team must submit an electronic copy of their full business plan on the deadline provided by the NVC faculty. These business plans will be sorted and sent to the NVC Judges Panel for selection into the final round of the program.
    3. Teams selected to advance to the third and final phase of the Challenge will be announced in the days following the final classroom presentation round.
  3. Phase III/Finals

a. Each finalist team will present their full business plan in-person to the panel of NVC Judges. Only University of Chicago team members can present to the judges, while the non-University of Chicago team members can participate in the following Q & A session. The Judges Panel will adjourn after the final presentation to deliberate and select the winning teams.

b. Winning teams will be announced at a reception immediately following the judges’ deliberation.

Deadline: February 2, 2017

Official Link: https://research.chicagobooth.edu/nvc 


Type of Opportunity Competitions and Awards
Deadline02 February,2017



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