George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

Dean’s Business Plan Competition

About the 8th Annual Competiton

The annual Dean's Business Plan Competition provides student and recent alumni the opportunity to gain first hand experience with entrepreneurial actions such as opportunity identification, team formation, idea validation, customer and product development, business model innovation, and communications and presentation skills.

The competition is open to students in and recent alumni of all Mason schools and colleges. The competition welcomes ventures and organizations in all industries and sectors, including social ventures and non-profits. Additionally, the competition is open to early, idea stage ventures and organizations earning up to $250,000 in revenues annually.

The competition consists of two rounds, with a first round application deadline of March 19, 2015 at 6 pm EST. The final round will take place on April 10, 2015 in Arlington, VA at Disruption Corporation. To register to attend click here.

Leading investors, entrepreneurs, and members of the DC innovation community will serve as judges on April 10th, providing partipants direct feedback and first hand experience with answering investor questions. The final round is open to the general public and will feature a Mason Innovation Expo at Disruption Corporation.

$10,000 in funds and additional prizes are available to competitors in the finals; including the First Prize, Second prize, the  Social Impact Award, and the Audience Choice Prize.  

 Eligibility and Requirements:

 A. Mason Affiliation. Your "Venture" must be 50% or more controlled by a Mason "Participant." Your Venture may be organized as a small team with an idea, an organized project, or a larger organized company, partnership, corporation, etc. A Mason "Participant" is defined as:

A. currently enrolled (full or part-time) student in any Mason degree program , or

An alumni of any Mason degree program who graduated after December 1 2011 (within the past 4 years).

B. Any Business or Industry. Open to entries from the early idea phase to operating profitable businesses, from any industry, including for-profit, nonprofit and social ventures.

C. Early Stage Venture. Open to Ventures that: Have raised funding (equity or debt or both) or received grants of less than $100,000, and Have less than $250,000 in annual revenue.

As part of the first round application, each submission will include an executive summary. The document should include the following:

  1. A 150 word summary of your Venture.
  2. How does your Venture, project or organization create value? (What problem solved or benefit created?)
  3. Who is value created for? (Who are the customers that want this problem solved or additional benefit? Please be specific with examples.)
  4. What is your solution to the problem? What is the value proposition for your customer? (e.g., cheaper, more convenient, better quality, more dependable, values, intellectual property, etc?)
  5. How big is this problem? How do you know this? Can you validate that this is a real problem? (For example, do you already have customers or you created a prototype and shared it with potential customers? Surveys? Crowdfunding? Prototypes? Other?)
  6. How big is your addressable market? (How much of the market can you capture in the first 2 years? in 5 years? Please explain any important milestones.)
  7. Does your organization make a social impact? If social benefits are a core part of your model please describe. How do you measure social impact?
  8. Who are your competitors, and why is your solution better?
  9. How will you make money (what is your business model)? What are your revenue stream(s)?
  10. Explain your marketing and distribution strategy?
  11. What are your major startup costs? Recurring costs?
  12. Who is your management team? What backgrounds and experiences do they bring? What holes do you need to fill?
  13. How does your Mason Participant (student or alumni) control the Venture?
  14. Use of funds—How will you use the $5,000 in first place prize money should you win the competition? How much additional funding do you need over the next 2 years?

Those entering will have the option of submitting a 60-90 second video pitch. These pitches will be shared with the public on facebook. The public will have a chance to vote one of the entries into the final round at Disruption Corporation on April 10, 2015.

2015 Dean's Business Plan Competition first round application -- including a chance to upload your executive summary.

Read about the winner of the 2013 Dean's Business Plan Competition.

Read about the winner of the 2012 Dean's Business Plan Competition.

Questions, please contact the Mason Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 703-993-6015