Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell is hosting a business plan challenge in an effort to encourage students to become entrepreneurs, according to a press release from his office.
Virginians are being encouraged to present their business plans for start-ups for the possibility of large cash rewards.
Here's a closer look at the competition.
* The registration deadline is April 29 and the event where winners will be announced is to be held May 2 at 1111 East Broad Street in Richmond from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
* Attendees at the statewide competition event will have opportunities to network and will meet with a capital panel. Attendance cost is free for presenters, judges, and media, but will cost $10 for students and $25 for general attendees, with lunch included.
* Students interested in presenting their plans are expected to contact the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) if they're uncertain whom to contact at their institution of higher learning.
* Public and private colleges will be sending selected presenters to the event.
* Undergraduates are expected to develop their plans as individuals or as a team, and, according to the rules, must have an original idea.
* Presenters will be 18 or older when entering the challenge, must be enrolled in a Virginia college or university, and be U.S. citizens.
* If the business is already operating, then the students must have majority ownership, with the CEO and presenter as current students.
* Colleges and universities must have their submissions in between April 1 and 20.
* Presentations will take from three to five minutes for a pitch given to judges and judges will then use three to five minutes for questions.
* Prizes include a single prize valued at $10,000 in cash and services, a similar prize worth $2,500, and four honorable mentions.
* Judges will be looking to make sure the company has a reasonable chance of succeeding, must meet a clear market demand, the product or service should be the only one of its kind in the market, and it should be clear that the company has an advantage over competitors.
* If there are ties, the tiebreaker will be the business plan most likely to provide success for the company.
* The challenge is hosted by innoVAte, the Office of the Governor, and Work It, Richmond.
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and lives near Washington in Germantown, Md.
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