Laurence A. Baiada Institute for Entrepreneurship

Ian J. Berg Business Plan Competition Guidelines

Ian J. Berg Business Plan Competition Guidelines

Submit a full business plan by April 7, 2014. The top six teams will present their plan in a 15 minute pitch on May 8, 2014. Compete to win cash prizes totaling $6000.

What is the Business Plan Competition?

The Ian J. Berg Business Plan Competition is designed to invite participation by a large number of students from across all schools at Drexel, including those who are not currently in the entrepreneurial curriculum. We welcome business plans from all schools and departments at Drexel. The Baiada Institute Mentors on Call are available to help you every step of the way

When is the deadline for submission?

The deadline for submission of Business Plans is on April 7, 2014, at 5 p.m., following the online instructions that follow. The deadline will be taken extremely seriously. Absolutely no plans will be accepted after the deadline.

How to enter the Business Plan Competition
All contestants should register in advance for the Business Plan Competition. The registration form should be submitted to the Baiada Institute by April 1, 2014. Business plans that have not been pre-registered will be accepted; however, in the event that the quantity of business plans submitted exceeds the availability of judges secured based upon pre-registrations, plans that have not been pre-registered may be eliminated from the competition. Participants in the competition must also complete one of the two requirements as detailed in the Participant Eligibility Requirements section. Full business plans must be submitted by 5 p.m. on April 7, 2014 to the Laurence A. Baiada Institute following the online submission instructions that follow. Business Plan Competition judges will select the top six papers from the pool of submissions. These six students or student teams will present their idea in a 15 minute pitch on May 8, 2014.

Participant Eligibility Requirements

  • A business plan may be submitted by an individual or by a team, as long as the individual (if a single-person team) or the team's leader (if a team of two or more) is a current student (graduate, undergraduate, evening college, executive ed, etc.) of Drexel University, whether on co-op or in classes during the deadline periods.
  • There is no limit to the number of business plans that may be submitted per individual. However, submissions from the same team or individual must be materially different in content and may not represent minor modifications or different versions of the same plan.
  • There is no limit to the number of teams in which an individual may participate. As long as the team leader is a current Drexel student, other team members are not required to be affiliated with Drexel. Students are encouraged to build teams across schools at Drexel.
  • The business plan must be the original work of the submitting team. The submission of a business idea to the Ian J. Berg Business Plan Competition constitutes a representation on the part of all members of the team that the business concept and submission are the original work of the team. If you have doubts about the status of your concept or business, please contact the Baiada Team for clarification before entering.
  • Owning the rights to any intellectual property related to your company's business is NOT a requirement for participating in the written business plan competition for purely academic purposes. Student teams can enter the written business plan competition as an academic exercise, with no intention to move forward with creating the company based on their business plan. However, it is important that you address the intellectual property that pertains to your plan by including in your business plan a section entitled "Intellectual Property, Inventions and Technologies," which deals with the question of rights to commercialize the technologies in question. It is also important to take into account the projected costs associated with intellectual property protection and licensing (if the company is based on third party's technology).
  • If you plan to start a company to commercialize a technology and compete in the Incubator Competition, it is a requirement that you obtain the rights to the underlying technology before entering the competition. Many technologies developed at Drexel are owned by the University, and its permission is required to commercialize them. Please contact Dr. Robert McGrath in the Office of Research – Technology Commercialization ( or 215-895-0303), to determine what permissions may be necessary to commercialize the technology.
  • The Ian J. Berg Business Plan Competition is created primarily for current students of Drexel University. We intend this competition to approximate real-world business planning conditions as closely as possible, and we understand that some eligible students will wish to bring additional talent to bear while developing their concept. However, we do not encourage outside individuals to approach current Drexel students to collaborate solely for the purpose of submitting a business concept to the Drexel Business Plan Competition. We will closely screen entries to ensure that this is not the case, using the above criteria and other criteria not listed here. To ensure your eligibility, please adhere to the spirit of the Competition when building your teams and choosing a concept to refine and present.

Participants in the Ian J. Berg Business Plan Competition must complete a minimum of one of the following two requirements – no exceptions:

  1. Successful completion of an academic course in Entrepreneurship. Be sure to indicate the course that you have completed when completing the registration form for the competition. The preliminary acceptable courses are as follows:
    • Introduction to Entrepreneurship (MGMT 260)
    • Technology Management (MGMT 364)
    • Business Planning for Entrepreneurs (MGMT 365)
    • New Venture Planning (MGMT 652)
    • Biomedical Technology Entrepreneurship – (BMES 409–BMES 509)
    • College of Media Arts & Design – Entrepreneurship of Fashion – (FASH 465)
    • Entrepreneurship of Fashion (FASH 465/766)
    • Senior Problem in Design and Merchandising (DSMR 496)
    • The Recording Industry (MUSC 361)
    • Engineering Management – Entrepreneurship for Engineers
    • Honors Program – Entrepreneurial Studies – (HNRS 301)
    • EAM 211 - Strategic Management for Entertainment & the Arts
    • N588 - The Nurse as Intra/Entrepreneur and Consultant
    • MIP 374 - Entrepreneurship in the Music Industry
    • AADM 765 - Arts Entrepreneurship
  2. Review and acceptance of the business plan by one of the Baiada Institute mentors. A signed letter from your mentor must be submitted with your registration form. Attend one of the "Breathing Life Into Your Business Idea" sessions or contact us via email at to be referred to a mentor.

Because the format of your business plan should reflect the strategic elements most important to your business, no two business plans should be formatted alike. However, we have developed the following general guidelines to aid teams preparing business plans, particularly those who have no formal business or entrepreneurial training. Depending on your business model, anticipated operations, etc., you may find that some of the items described below are not relevant to your business. You may also find that some information critical to your business is not listed below. These are simply guidelines to assist your thinking and to help answer commonly anticipated questions necessary to formulate a complete plan.

Beyond the very basic structural elements described below, these guidelines do not suggest a preferred order of sections in a business plan, and our judges will not favor one plan over another based upon the format or order described in the following guidelines. One of your team's primary challenges in creating a compelling business plan is to find the optimal order in which to present your business to maximum advantage.

The business planning process is threefold. Your team must:

  • Analyze the business fundamentals underlying your venture (see the Business Concept Ingredients for a useful list of fundamental business issues that must be analyzed and addressed in shaping a winning venture).
  • Create the optimal business structure to address these fundamentals and craft a sustainable strategic advantage.
  • Write a concise, compelling plan.

An excellent business plan should:

  • Demonstrate the team's careful analysis of the fundamental strategic and business issues in play in the industry, the market, and the business.
  • Present a business that is carefully designed to thrive in the above environment.
  • Act as both a planning tool and a persuasive document -- it should at once point out potential risk factors and propose convincing and thought-out strategies for addressing them.
  • Be written in a measured and professional tone. It should avoid an overtly sales-pitch style.

Submission Format and Length Limit

Length Limit

  • Suggested length is 15-20 single-spaced pages, and the maximum length is 25 pages (excluding cover page, table of contents, financials and appendices).
  • Typeface must be no smaller than 10 point throughout plan, financials and appendices.
  • Margins must be no smaller than 1 inch.
  • Please number pages so that we can verify that you have met the length limit. Plans exceeding this length limit will be disqualified.
  • Financial statements length: Five pages maximum.

  • Appendices length: Three pages maximum.

Submission Format

  • Please choose a unique four-digit alpha-numeric PIN number and enter this number on the Team Registration Form. If you submit more than one business plan, each plan must have a unique PIN number.
  • Submit your full business plan, including all attachments in PDF format online by clicking here.

Business Plan Format Guidelines

I. Cover Page

  • Include the name of your business team leader, CEO or primary contact. You may include the names of all team members on the cover page, or simply include such information elsewhere in the plan.
II. Table of Contents
  • Provide a basic outline and relevant page numbers so that readers can get an overview of your plan and can easily find specific information. Include itemized contents of your financial information and appendices.
III. Executive Summary (one to two pages suggested)
  • The role of the Executive Summary is to pique the interest of the reader by concisely demonstrating a compelling business opportunity. Written last and placed first, the executive summary should be able to stand alone as a concise description of your business. Include all major issues, including strategies to achieve an ongoing competitive advance and financing needs. Many investors will read only the executive summary to determine whether they are interested in reading your full business plan. Take the time to make a strong first impression
IV. Business Plan Narrative
  • Business Description/Background
    • A brief history of your company to date - when the business was formed (if, in fact, it has been formed) and the company's mission.
    • The products / services offered.
    • Target market.
    • Milestones achieved to date (existing clients, status of development of technology), if any, and next steps.
    • Growth, size and market share objectives.
    • Capitalization of company - investment to date. (Please note that businesses are not eligible to compete in the Drexel Business Plan Competition if they have received more than $50,000 in outside funding prior to their first entry in the Competition.)
  • Product / Service Description
    • Full description of products or services offered.
    • How the product meets a customer need.
    • How you will differentiate your product from similar products (quality, superior service or product characteristics, cost, ease of use, speed, etc. Warning: no business will succeed if it competes on price alone).
    • How the product will be used.
    • The status of product design and development to date.
    • Future product offerings.
  • Market Space/Target Market
    • Demographic factors (age, gender, income level, education level, etc., if your business targets consumers).
    • Market size -- how many potential units of your product or service might be sold each year and at what price? How large is your target market now and how large will it be in the future. Be as specific as possible.
    • Targeted market share - what percentage of the market does your company plan to achieve?
    • Who is the purchaser? Who is the end user?
    • Psychographic factors (psychological factors driving a purchase decision, psychological needs met by product).
    • Behavioral factors (purchasing behavior, frequency of product purchase).
  • For Business-to-Business Markets
    • Purchasing process - do target customers issue a request for proposals (rfp), solicit bids, use preferred vendor lists, enter long-term contracts?
    • Identify the purchasing decision-maker and who must approve the purchasing decision.
    • Description of the sales cycle.
    • How often will the product or service need to be replaced?
  • Industry
    • Structure of the industry in which the business operates.
    • Who holds the power in the industry - customers, suppliers, a few key players?
    • Size and growth rate (historical, projected) of the industry.
    • Key market forces affecting the industry.
    • Current trends and innovations in the industry.
    • What are the barriers to entry?
    • Key regulations in the industry and the company's strategy to ensure compliance.
  • Competition
    • Description of the existing competition, both direct competition (companies which offer a similar product or service) and indirect competition (other companies or products that meet the same need differently).
    • Major competitive players and their market share, target niche, and strategic initiatives.
    • Are there companies not presently competing in the market space that might logically desire to or could readily enter the market?
    • Competitive Matrix presenting the positioning and key features of your primary competitors.
    • Your company's strategic advantage over this competition - what is unique about your product that is not easily replicable by another company?
    • How will the introduction of your product or service affect competitors? How are competitors likely to respond? How will your company deal with this competitive response?
  • Business Model
    • How your company will generate revenue and profits -- through sales of your product or service, long-term contracts, strategic partnerships, subscription or licensing fees, advertising sales, etc.
    • What costs will drive revenues (sales force build-out, marketing, partner development, etc.)?
  • Marketing Plan and Sales Strategy
    • Your plan for attracting customers and generating sales.
    • Distribution strategy -- will you sell directly to the consumer/business customer or through a distributor or strategic partner? Will you maintain your own sales force or use manufacturer's representatives, retailers or wholesalers?
    • Forms of advertising and promotion to be used.
    • What is your e-business strategy, if any?
    • How much do you anticipate spending on marketing and sales in the next five years? What level of sales will this allow you to achieve?
    • Pricing strategy
    • Description of any strategic partnerships.
  • Operations / Production Plan
    • How you will design, manufacture or source the product or provide the service.
    • The availability of the resources and materials necessary to manufacture the product or offer the service. To what extent could your production capacity or profit margins be limited by the power of suppliers of raw materials, critical technologies or services?
  • Technology
    • Description of the technology necessary to create the product/service and the stage of development of this technology. Be sure to describe this in layman's terms - clear English that any potential investor with no technical expertise could understand.
    • Where does technology fit into your overall business? Is it a competitive advantage?
    • What level of resources will you need to develop your technology?
  • Management Strategy & Human Resources Plan
    • List of existing management team and the skills and experience they bring to the table.
    • List of key management and technical personnel which must be recruited to build out your team (detail responsibilities), both now and as your business grows.
    • How you intend to attract and maintain this talent pool?
  • Intellectual Property Issues
    • Your strategy for protecting or accessing intellectual property and proprietary technology and resources.
    • Do you hold a patentable technology? Do you intend to file for your own patent or will you operate under a licensing agreement or patent assignment? List all possible claims on the ownership of critical technology and other intellectual property and your plans for gaining legitimate use of these resources. Detail the results of patent searches.
    • If you will operate under a licensing agreement, provide details and basic terms of the agreement, including duration of the agreement and renewal terms, exclusivity, and rights and responsibilities.
    • Copyrights or trademarks secured or in process.
  • Major Milestones
    • List of milestones achieved to date -- key events marking measurable results in the development of your business.
    • Timeline of milestones your company must reach in the future and when you will reach them (be realistic).
  • Financial Highlights

    • A summary of the financial narrative.
    • Financial history and funding to date.
    • Key assumptions used in financial projections.
    • List of key forces driving revenue and costs.
    • Overview of revenue and cost projections.
    • Funding needs and anticipated use (amounts and timing) of funds sought.
    • Break-even point -- the point where the business's cumulative losses are completely offset by accumulated profits.
    • Identify any other points that are important milestones in the development of your venture. This may be the quarter in which you first turn a profit, the first quarter in which your business is cash flow positive, the point at which you achieve a given sales level, or other important financial milestones
  • Critical Risk Factors
    • Important risks your business must face now and your strategy for facing them.
    • Future risks your business will face if it is successful and how you will mitigate these now and in the future.
    • Risk factors could include those posed by competitors or supplier power, market trends, changes in technology platforms, changing government regulations, etc.

V. Financial Statements and Financial Narrative (Limit - five pages)

  • Pro forma cash flow and revenue/cost (profit and loss) projections for at least three years, at least as detailed as quarterly (monthly if possible) in the first two years and yearly after that. Projected balance sheets may be included but are not required.
  • Narrative explanation of key assumptions used in the financials.
  • Identify the break-even point and funding assumptions if the company will require ongoing funding. Identify any other points that are important milestones in the development of your venture. This may be the quarter in which you first turn a profit, the first quarter in which your business is cash flow positive, the point at which you achieve a given sales level, or other important financial milestones.
  • Identify the point at which investors, to the extent that funds will be raised, can expect a return.
  • Use of funds if the company is seeking funding. (Be sure to include this funding in your cash flow analysis.)

VI. Appendices (Limit -- three pgs)

  • Bios or resumes of existing management team if not described elsewhere in the business plan.
  • Trademarks, patents awarded or applied for and promotional materials, if relevant.
  • Diagrams or images of prototypes, products or services, if relevant.
  • Sources of research and other documentation.

What can I do with my prize money?
Winning teams are free to use the prize money in any way that they wish, whether or not they choose to start their new business. However, teams are encouraged to use prize monies awarded toward the further development of their business concept or plans, or the creation of a business venture.

Will my entry remain confidential?
Many of the judges we ask to participate in the Drexel/Baiada Institute Competitions are venture capitalists, investment bankers and other financial investment professionals. As a general practice, these financial investment professionals seldom sign confidentiality or non-disclosure agreements. However, participants in the Competition should understand, and can be confident that the judges selected will respect the confidential nature of all submissions and honor the spirit of the Competition.

Prize Amounts
Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three winners of the Ian J. Berg Business Plan Competition.
First Place: $3000
Second Place: $2000
Third Place: $1000


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