Description & Guidelines

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Updated 02-16-21

General Guidelines of Competition

It is the participant's responsibility to read and to abide by these guidelines. Participation in the competition means that the participants have read and agree to these guidelines.

While not anticipated, the CMU College of Business Administration reserves the right to update, add, or subtract from these guidelines at any time and may reject the submission of a business if it believes it is in the best interest of CMU.

Purpose

The CMU New Venture On-Line Competition (NVOC) is a program for students enrolled across all colleges at CMU to develop their entrepreneurial mindset, learn business start-up techniques, and develop their business ideas. It is intended for very early-stage student business ventures. The NVOC provides a transformational experience where students are able to earn start-up funds for their businesses. They have multiple opportunities to connect with experienced entrepreneurs, alumni, business professionals, venture capital experts, angel investors, faculty, and community leaders. They work on their business ideas over two semesters, pitch their businesses to experienced professionals, make adjustments and compete to earn/win start-up funds and in-kind services. 

During the fall and spring semesters, a series of 12 workshops are hosted by CMU’s Isabella Bank Institute for Entrepreneurship (IBIE). These are focused on start-up basics using the Business Model Canvas (Strategyzer.com) approach. Teams are encouraged to create minimal viable products and do customer discovery and validation. They have the opportunity to provide a two-minute pitch in the fall and spring to gain feedback from professionals.

For the eleventh year, we welcome aspiring entrepreneurs from Michigan Technological University to join CMU students to further expand the possibilities for start-up business success in Michigan.

The NVOC Virtual Award Ceremony will take place on April 23, 2021. Prizes/Awards are subject to revision. Final revisions will be completed by March 2021.

Virtual Competition: Because the 2020 NVOC had smaller awards than originally anticipated (as a result of COVID), all participants in the 2020 NVOC were also invited to compete in this year’s 2021 NVOC. Like last year’s NVOC, the 2021 NVOC competition will be virtual. Similarly, each student venture will prepare and submit an Executive Summary, a Financial Summary, and a link to the 10-Minute Presentation or a 2-Minute Pitch. Each venture is also welcomed to participate in the virtual Student Gallery.

Two tracks for entries:

  • 10-Minute Presentation
  • 2-Minute Pitch

2021 NVOC Awards

For the 10-Minute Presentation, Judges will select:

  • The $25,000 David & Janice Underwood Best Overall Venture 2020 Make-Up Award*
  • The $10,000 David & Susan Roberts Best Social Venture 2020 Make-Up Award*
  • The $25,000 David & Janice Underwood Best Overall Venture 2021 Award
  • The $10,000 David & Susan Roberts Best Social Venture 2021 Award
  • The $10,000 The Korson Highest Growth Potential Venture Award
  • $5,000 of Up-and-Coming Venture Award(s) (specific awards/allocations TBD; for example, the final allocation may result in five awards at $1,000 each or one award at $5,000)

* 2020 Make-Up Awards: These two 10-Minute Presentation awards are reserved exclusively for 2021 NVOC participating ventures that: (i) have at least one active team member who also competed in the 2020 NVOC; (ii) indicate that they desire to compete for the two 2020 Make-Up Awards; and, (iii) agree that they will be ineligible for both of the comparable 2021 Awards (i.e., they will not be considered for either the $25,000 David & Janice Underwood Best Overall Venture 2021 Award or the $10,000 David & Susan Roberts Best Social Venture 2021 Award).

For the 2-Minute Pitch, Judges will select:

  • The 1st Place Award of $5,000
  • The 2nd Place Award of $2,500
  • The 3rd Place Award of $1,000
  • Up to two Honorable Mention Awards (at $750 each)

For the Student Gallery, Judges will determine winners of ($5,000 total): Specific awards/allocations TBD.


How to Enter 

  1. The IBIE will use the Intent to Compete form to manage applications and submissions. To enter, one individual from the team must complete the online Intent to Compete form by 11:59 pm EST on March 4, 2021. This registers you to participate in the competition.
  2. The final Executive Summary and Financial Table must be submitted into Microsoft Teams by 11:59 pm EST on March 29, 2021. These documents will be displayed in the NVOC program book for distribution.
  3. The link to your pitch or presentation video submission and your pitch deck for judging are due by 11:59 EST on April 8, 2021 via Microsoft Teams.

Guidelines and Eligibility 
(Check back for updates to this)

  1. Team Composition
    1. This competition is for current undergraduate or graduate level Central Michigan University (CMU) students and through an invitation to Michigan Technological University students (MTU). The student must be a full-time or part-time student who is pursuing a degree program, and who was and/or is registered at CMU and/or MTU in Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and/or Spring 2021 semester(s). However, participants in the 2020 NVOC are also welcomed to participate in the 2021 NVOC.
    2. The CMU (or MTU) student must have a significant role in the venture and be part of the business structure. This role should be detailed in the submission. The NVOC Review Committee (which includes IBIE staff) reserves the right to review this position when questions arise in this regard. Examples of strong evidence of significant roles include but are not limited to significant ownership (majority or controlling) equity in the venture; and/or a key management role in the venture as evidenced by written agreement.
    3. Leadership: The CMU (or MTU) student must be a leading presenter during the video pitch/presentation. The business venture and documentation must be the original work of the team members. The team is expected to conform to the highest standards of honesty and integrity and comply with CMU (or MTU) Conflict of Interest Guidelines.
  2. Team Requirements
    1. Generally, teams should consist of no fewer than two members, and preferably no more than five members.
    2. Teams must work with a mentor/advisor to help them throughout the process and should identify the mentor in the Intent to Compete document submission.
    3. All CMU teams are strongly encouraged to have their executive summaries reviewed by the CMU Writing Center. A template is provided for your use in Microsoft Teams.
    4. Executive summaries must be the original work of the students. Participants may use reference materials.
    5. Team members may only be on one team in the 10-Minute Presentation track.
    6. All participants must be willing to participate in a variety of promotional activities related to the NVOC, including photos, interviews, and information about their business during the year of competition and subsequent to the competition.
    7. If a CMU or MTU employee is to be an officer of a company connected with an NVOC team or entry this must be fully disclosed to the NVOC Review Committee prior to March 15, 2021. Such disclosure shall indicate the role the CMU or MTU employee will play in the business and how this relates to the employee’s CMU or MTU responsibilities. Any decision or recommendation made by the NVOC Review Committee with respect to the employee’s role in the company shall be final and binding on the team. Deviation from this decision or recommendation or refusal to follow it shall be grounds for disqualification of the team from the NVOC.
  3. Nature of Ventures
    1. This competition is for independent student ventures in the start-up ideation, early growth or seed stages. It is desired that these have a positive impact on the business environment in Michigan and the USA. Generally excluded but can be considered are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, and licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area. Students considering these types of ventures must get written approval from the NVOC Review Committee prior to March 15, 2021. Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is encouraged, assuming they have not been previously commercialized. Students need to be a significant part of the business structure as noted in team composition.
    2. Early growth or seed-stage ventures with any annual sales greater than $50,000 or cumulative sales greater than $100,000 on or before September 8th, 2020, should not be considered.
    3. Ventures that have received outside financing or institutional funding (award/prize funding, venture capital, private equity, etc.) of $25,000 or greater on or before September 8th, 2020 are not eligible to compete. However, capital raised from insiders (e.g., founders and employees) and grantors (e.g., governmental agencies who make grants to local entrepreneurs) will generally NOT count towards the $25,000 amount. Students seeking an exception from (or clarification of) this rule should contact the NVOC Review Committee prior to March 15, 2021.
    4. Consistent with the design and purpose of the competition, CMU will evaluate the business venture plans consisting of an executive summary and financial table based on the criteria presented and will not accept plans that it deems, in its sole discretion, to be unethical or contrary to local, state or federal law. In addition, CMU reserves the right to reject any business plan for reasons including, but not limited to the plan, or any part of the plan is deemed to be in violation of the CMU Code of Ethics; violates any local, state, or national law; is of poor quality or does not present sufficient content.
    5. Participants must adhere to the requirements of the CMU or MTU Intellectual Property Policy and CMU or MTU Conflict of Interest Policy, as well as any other CMU and/or MTU policies and procedures that may be applicable. Teams that wish to use CMU (or MTU) owned IP must obtain permission from CMU or MTU prior to March 15, 2021.
  4. Pre-Registration Required

    Each team must complete the on-line Intent to Compete application. (NVOC Intent to Compete Form) by 11:59 pm EST on March 4, 2021. This will register the team to participate in the competition.

  5. Awards
    1. Award money will be made payable to the business entity that the winning team forms (e.g., a corporation, LLC, etc.) around their winning submission. Winning teams have until June 1 of the competition year to form their business entity (unless approved in writing by the IBIE). If the winning team fails to form the business entity and request the award money within the specified period of time, the money remains in the competition fund and is not disbursed, (unless approved in writing by the IBIE). Teams and their resultant business entities are responsible for any tax consequences of the award.
    2. Competition awards and prizes are selected by the judging panel based on their view and the judging criteria among other things. All judging results are final.
    3. Each team will be required to provide appropriate documentation by June 10 of the competition year to receive their award payment. Documents may include W-9 and/or EIN forms. This serves as the team’s award agreement. See the IBIE office in Grawn 166 with any questions.
    4. Winning teams are strongly encouraged to attend an award advisory meeting to obtain guidance prior to submitting required documents for award distribution.
    5. Winning teams should make themselves available before April 30th to record interviews for use as promotional material.

2021 NVOC Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the 2020 Make-Up Awards?

    Because the 2020 NVOC had smaller awards than originally anticipated (as a result of COVID), all participants in the 2020 NVOC were invited to compete in this year’s 2021 NVOC. Moreover, because of our generous sponsors, we created two separate award categories for 2020 NVOC participants who compete again in this year’s 2021 NVOC. More specifically, this year we will have:

    • The $25,000 David & Janice Underwood Best Overall Venture 2020 Make-Up Award; and
    • The $10,000 David & Susan Roberts Best Social Venture 2020 Make-Up Award

    These two 2020 Make-Up Awards are for 2021 NVOC participating ventures that: (i) have at least one active team member who also competed in the 2020 NVOC; (ii) compete in the 2021 NVOC’s 10-Minute Presentation track; (iii) indicate that they desire to compete for the two 2020 Make-Up Awards; and, (iv) agree that they will be ineligible for both of the comparable 2021 Awards (i.e., they will not be considered for either the $25,000 David & Janice Underwood Best Overall Venture 2021 Award or the $10,000 David & Susan Roberts Best Social Venture 2021 Award).

  2. I did not compete in the 2020 NVOC. Similarly, none of my teammates completed in the 2020 NVOC. Is my venture eligible for either of the 2020 Make-Up Awards?

    No. However, your venture has plenty of other awards it can compete for!

  3. I competed in the 2020 NVOC and I will be on a venture that competes in the 2021 NVOC. My 2021 NVOC venture will compete in the 2-Minute Pitch Track. Is my venture eligible for either of the 2020 Make-Up Awards?

    No. Ventures must compete in the 2021 NVOC’s 10-Minute Presentation track to be eligible for the 2020 Make-Up Awards.

  4. I competed in the 2020 NVOC and I will be on a venture that competes in the 2021 NVOC. My 2021 NVOC venture will compete in the 10-Minute Presentation Track. Is my venture eligible for either of the 2020 Make-Up Awards?

    Yes. However, your venture must indicate that it desires to compete for the two 2020 Make-Up Awards. Further, by choosing to compete for the 2020 Make-Up Awards, it will be ineligible for both of the comparable 2021 Awards. That is, your venture will not be considered for either the $25,000 David & Janice Underwood Best Overall Venture 2021 Award or the $10,000 David & Susan Roberts Best Social Venture 2021 Award.

  5. If my venture competes for the 2020 Make-Up Awards, can it also compete for the 2021 Awards?

    If your venture competes for the 2020 Make-Up Awards, it will be ineligible for both of the comparable 2021 Awards. That is, your venture will not be considered for either the $25,000 David & Janice Underwood Best Overall Venture 2021 Award or the $10,000 David & Susan Roberts Best Social Venture 2021 Award. However, it will still be eligible to compete for other awards including: (i) the $10,000 The Korson Highest Growth Potential Venture Award; (ii) Up-and-Coming Venture Awards of $5,000 or less; and, (iii) Student Gallery Awards.

  6. I competed in the 2020 NVOC and I will be on a venture that competes in the 2021 NVOC. My venture will compete in the 10-Minute Presentation Track. My venture would be eligible to complete in the 2021 NVOC even if I had NOT competed in the 2020 NVOC (because, for example, my teammates are current CMU students). Must my venture compete for the 2020 Make-Up Awards?

    No. It can instead compete for the $25,000 David & Janice Underwood Best Overall Venture 2021 Award or the $10,000 David & Susan Roberts Best Social Venture 2021 Award. However, by doing so, it will not be eligible to compete for the two 2020 Make-Up Awards.

  7. If I entered the 2020 NVOC and will compete in the 2021 NVOC, do I need to submit the same idea?

    No.

  8. If I entered the 2020 NVOC and will compete in the 2021 NVOC, do I need to have the same team?

    No.

  9. Who can qualify for the $10,000 Korson Highest Growth award? And the Up-and-Coming awards that are $5,000 or less?

    All ventures competing in the 10-Minute Presentation track can compete for these awards.

  10. Do I need to participate in the Student Gallery?

    All venture competing in the 10-Minute Presentation track must participate in the Student Gallery. Venture competing in the 2-Minute Pitch track are welcomed to participate in the Student Gallery (however, these ventures are not required to do so).