Mark Ain Business Model Competition Guidelines

  • All participants must currently be enrolled at the University of Rochester. Companies may include non-UR students on their executive team. However, only active UR students are eligible to present the business model in the semi-final and final rounds and receive prize money.
  • Students from both undergraduate and graduate schools are encouraged to participate.
  • Workshop attendance is free and open to all members of the University and general public.
  • Fee for business plan submission is waived for undergraduates and members of the Simon Entrepreneurs Association. There will be a $50 fee per submission for teams comprised of non-undergraduates and/or non-Simon Entrepreneur Association members.
Cash prizes have been made possible by the generous donation of Simon alumnus Mark S. Ain ’67S (MBA), founder of Kronos Incorporated.
  • 1st Place: $10,000
  • 2nd Place: $2,500
  • 3rd Place: $1,000
  • Teams may consist of no more than five individuals and it is recommended to have at least two members on each team.
  • Submissions for the preliminary round of judging (two-page applications only) are due no later than 4 p.m. on April 20, 2017. The ten (10) semi-finalists must submit their complete business plans by noon on April 27, 2017, and they must submit their presentations (slide decks) by noon on May 3, 2017. All entries (applications, complete business plans, and presentations) must be submitted electronically to
  • The business model must be in the idea, development, or start-up stage. Entries for a business that is already earning revenue will not be considered.
  • Entries must include an application and should address issues such as a market assessment, technical viability (if applicable), financial projections, management viability and potential for scalability. A business feasibility outline resource guide is available and participants are encouraged to use this resource in writing their business models.
  • Applications must include the following information and are limited to two (2) pages (not including a cover page and appendices; below word counts are only a guideline):
  • Team/Company Name
  • Industry
  • Management Team Members: Include full names, titles, Schools, and class years
  • Management (100 words): Explain what makes your team ideal to build this business
  • One Line Pitch (30 words)
  • Abstract (100 words)
  • Customer Problem (40 words)
  • Your Solution (100 words)
  • Target Market (100 words): Include market size, growth rate, segmentation, and market structure where applicable
  • Marketing & Sales Strategy (100 words)
  • Business Model (40 words)
  • Competition (100 words)
  • Competitive Advantage (100 words): List barriers to entry, any patents, and/or technology
  • Funds Needed
  • Use of Funds
  • Financial Snapshot: Show total revenue, total expenditure and net for each year over a 5-year projection period
  • Exit Strategy
  • Appendices: Include any diagrams that show or demonstrate your product or service
  • Complete business plans must be no longer than 10 pages written, and no more than 20 pages total with supporting graphs, charts, financials, etc.
  • The first round screening, preliminary judging, will be based on the review of the written application information. Up to ten (10) semi-finalist teams will be selected.
  • The second round screening, semi-finalist judging, will be based on an oral presentation of the business model, including slide decks, and the full, written business plan of the semi-finalist teams.
  • Up to five (5) finalist teams will be notified by May 5, 2017, after the oral presentations in the semi-finalist round. Finalists will have the opportunity to practice their presentations with coaches prior to the final competition round. The five (5) finalist teams will present their business models to a judging panel in mid-May 2017 for prize consideration. Winners will be announced the day of the finalist competition.