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.
PURPOSE OF PROGRAM
To encourage the founding of high-potential new ventures and to reward the developers of promising business plans.
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.
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.
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.
PHASES OF THE PROGRAM
Three Phases of the New Venture Challenge
session closely following the Phase II announcement.
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.
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