Teams must meet the following criteria:

  • All participants must be currently enrolled in a college or university as of March 1, 2017. Graduate and undergraduate students are eligible. Although faculty, staff and alumni are not eligible for the competition, teams are encouraged to seek mentorship and advice from these members of their academic communities, as well as from sources outside their institutions.
  • Teams should have 2-5 members. At least two team members must commit to attend and present at the International Finals in June 2017.
  • Teams can include members from multiple colleges or universities, as long as each member is a currently enrolled student.



This competition is intended to create innovative and practical business ideas that Tibetan refugees can implement in their communities to foster long-term economic development and stability. The best ideas will be adaptable for similar communities and populations in other parts of the world. Plans should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Demonstrate a clear and thorough understanding of the unique challenges facing Tibetan refugees and be able to explain how a venture will address these challenges. Participants are encouraged to connect with a Tibetan mentor and explore resources on our website to learn more about Tibetan refugees.
  • Plan to be financially sustainable or profitable, whether the venture is for-profit or not-for-profit
  • Plan to be scalable long-term, taking into account the potential for growth of the business, both financially and in its social impact
  • Include a plan for measuring and evaluating both financial and social impact
  • Submitted ventures may not be a wholly owned subsidiary of an existing entity (of either a for-profit or not-for-profit entity).
  • By entering the competition, students understand that all submitted plans are for the benefit of Tibetan refugees and may be implemented with or without student involvement.



  • All teams must submit an application, a two-page executive summary, a one-page financial snapshot, and the link to a five-minute video overview of the plan, uploaded to a platform such as YouTube or Vimeo. Teams selected to advance to the finals will submit a complete business plan.
  • The executive summary should include the following (word counts are only a guideline):
    • Team/Company Name
    • Industry
    • Management Team Members: Include full names, titles, Schools, and class years
    • 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 (due only if selected for the National Finals) may not exceed 15 pages written, and no more than 20 pages total with supporting graphs, charts, financials, etc. Teams may provide unlimited supplemental materials for the benefit of the Tibetans who will be implementing the winning plan; however, these materials will not be considered by the judges when selecting a winner.
  • Submissions are due to by 11:59pm on Monday, April 3, 2017. If selected for the National Finals, a full business plan will be due in May 2017. Details TBA.



Round 1: Students submit a proposal for the qualifying round in April 2017. Submissions are evaluated by a panel of judges to select the finalists.

Round 2: Finalists will compete at the National Finals in June 2017. The winners will be selected by an esteemed panel of judges, including high-profile Tibetans.

View the complete judging criteria.


Institution (required)

Contact Name (required)

Title (required)

Department (required)

Email (required)

Phone (required)

Additional Message


By entering the Tibetan Innovation Challenge, authors of each submitted plan agree to allow use of all elements of their plans to the Tibetan refugees; however, they and their home institution(s) will receive credit and recognition in any publicity and media coverage. The winning team’s business plan may be the foundation of a new business venture in a Tibetan refugee camp, to be partially financed by the Tibet House in London and The Art of Peace Foundation. The winning team may have the opportunity to travel to India at their own expense at a later date to visit the refugee camp and meet the people who will be implementing the winning plan. Tibetan refugees will be able to implement any of the plans submitted.

Participants grant the University of Rochester and its respective employees, agents, and assigns a perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive, and unconditional license to edit, modify, reproduce, copy, transmit, publish, post, broadcast, display, adapt and/or use or reuse their submitted plans, any materials submitted or prepared for use in the Tibetan Innovation Challenge, their names, images, voices, likenesses, statements, background and biographical information in any and all media (including but not limited to print, electronic, video, digital, radio, television, internet, etc.) for publicity, promotion, advertising, fundraising, administrative, academic or educational purposes.


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