George Mason UniversitySchool of Business

Deans' Business Plan Competition

Congratulations to the 2016 Deans' Business Plan Competition Award Winners!

First Prize ($10,000): EasyFBO - John Hill

Second Prize ($3000): Ground Control Coffee - Niels Bulskov

Social Impact Award ($3000): Selva Farms - Nico Vivero & Madeen Haidari

Audience Choice Award ($1000): EasyFBO - John Hill

The annual Deans' Business Plan Competition provides students 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.

For the first 8 years, the event was hosted by the Dean of the School of Business. In 2016, the Deans of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Science, and School of Engineering join the Dean of the School of Business as co-hosts of the competition.

Congrats to our 2016 Finalists: Create More Music Studios, EasyFBO, Ground Control Coffee, Selva Farms, and Youlery. Come watch these teams present their ventures and visions at 1776 Crystal City on April 15.

Additionally, during the finals of the 2016 competition, the Virginia Serious Games Institute will host a Mobile Game Competition and MIX@InnovationHall will present a Mason Maker Showcase. It will be an incredible day celebrating Mason's innovators. Mark your calendar for April 15 at 1776 Crystal City and register to attend now.

The business plan competition

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

The competition consists of two rounds. The final round of the Business Plan Competition, the Mobile Game Competition and the Mason Maker Faire will take place on April 15, 2016. For details on entering the VSGI Mobile Competiton or participating in the Mason Maker Faire.

Leading investors, entrepreneurs, and members of the DC innovation community and the gamde industry will serve as judges during the Business Plan Competition and Mobile Game Competitions, providing partipants direct feedback and first hand experience with answering investor and stakeholders questions. The final round is open to the general public. Register to attend.

$10,000 in cash and additional prizes are available to competitors in the business competition finals; including the First Prize, Second prize, the Social Impact Award, and the Audience Choice Prize. Development support valued at $15,000 will be awarded to the winner of the Mobile Game Competition.

The entire afternoon of innovation will take place at 1776 (where revolutions begin!) in Crystal City and the public is welcome and encouraged to attend. Reserve your spot

 Eligibility and Requirements for the Business Plan Competition:

  1. 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:
    1. currently enrolled (full or part-time) student in any Mason degree program , or
    2. an alumni of any Mason degree program who graduated after December 1 2012 (within the past 4 years).
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 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, better value, 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 many people will pay for your solution? How many can you reach? (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) play a lead role in 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?

Read about the 8th Dean's Business Plan Competition and its participants and winners.

Read about the winner of the 7th Dean's Business Plan Competition.

Read about the winner of the 6th Dean's Business Plan Competition.

Questions? Please contact the Mason Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at 703-993-6015.