Do participants need to be a legal entity to apply?
Participants in NVC are not required to have incorporated their business.
How are the tracks and teams determined for the semifinals?
The 16 semifinalist teams are selected from their scores in the qualifying round. Semifinal plans are then seeded into four tracks with a goal of achieving balanced tracks across all teams.
How are teams selected for the finals competition?
One semifinalist team from each track will advance to the final round. During the semifinal round, a combined score of business plan, presentation, and venture viability are used to evaluate which team will advance. Ultimately judges deliberate after the last presentation and come to a consensus on which team will move forward. This decision is made separately from any other judging track and judges do not know other teams that will be moving forward.
What is the role of the moderator in each session?
The NVC uses moderators to enforce the strict time limits approved for presentations and Q&A. Moderators do not participate in the judging process, but are available for points of clarification for both teams and judges.
What if our PowerPoint doesn’t function correctly?
Unfortunately, PowerPoint—like any other computer or computer software—is subject to malfunction. NVC provides technical assistance and ample opportunity to check presentations prior to the competition. There will be backup InFocus projectors for emergencies. We also suggest you have a contingency plan beyond a new projector.
How do you select judges?
Our judges are drawn from a diverse population of entrepreneurs, service providers, angel and NVC investors, and seasoned business executives. Each panel is formed to create a well-balanced team of individuals that has a broad understanding of the process of evaluating new venture opportunities.
Who is responsible for making hotel arrangements?
Each team that is invited to the seminal round is responsible for making their own hotel reservations. NVC negotiates special rates for our participants at a host hotel and we encourage teams to register there. You are welcome to seek out other arrangements on your own but realize you will be separated from the majority of event participants.
Do you accept paper copies of the business plan?
No. NVC is a paperless submission competition, all business plan documents must be uploaded. The plans must be uploaded by the business plan due date and must be submitted as a single document in a printable PDF format.
Can we bring product prototypes for the competition?
Yes, you may bring prototypes for the competition and they may be displayed at the opening night trade show; however, all related costs are the responsibility of the team.
You mandate that the business plan length plus appendix can only be 16 pages. Why?
Plans are limited to 10 pages of text. Detailed spreadsheets and appropriate appendices can follow the text portion of the plan but will be limited to six pages (total 16 pages). Plans must be formatted in 1.5 line spacing with 1 inch, bottom, left, and right margins. This line spacing and font requirement applies to the textual content of the document and not to titles and descriptions accompanying pictures, graphs, tables, worksheets, or graphics. NVC’s requirements are designed to reflect a typical request to provide information to an angel or venture finance based investor.
Is a faculty advisor necessary?
Yes. As stated in the rules of eligibility, all entries must be prepared under faculty supervision and for credit in a regularly scheduled course or as an independent study. We also strongly urge the faculty advisor to attend the competition.
What are the limitations on the tradeshow display?
You are welcome to make your display as "fancy" as you’d like. We have no restrictions on how much money you invest into this project; that is simply your prerogative as well as your expense. However, presentation space is limited to the tabletop of one six-foot long table. The hotel does not allow teams to hang anything up on the walls. Teams will have the opportunity to rent easels (maximum of two), extension cords, and other equipment from the hotel.
Do the team members receive the cash prize or does it go to back to our school?
We provide two options for issuing checks:
- We can issue a check directly to any team that has formed a business entity for tax purposes and provides us with a completed W-9.
- For those teams who have not formed a business, award checks will be issued directly to your university itself. Each individual university is free to determine how the prize money is allocated. We suggest you talk to your advisor or other university personnel to determine their policies regarding this issue.
Who pays for the airfare and the hotel?
Your team (or university) is responsible. Check with your school since many universities may have funds set aside for these off-campus, academic events.
How does my business idea stay protected? Does everyone sign confidentiality agreements?
NVC, as well as most investment competitions, do not have a non-disclosure policy. However, your team may elect to modify to protect specific intellectual property.
Is a computer provided for the competition or do we bring our own?
Based on experience from previous years, NVC requires teams to adhere to the following guidelines to best avoid technical difficulties (i.e. compatibility problems, software launch, projection, etc.):
- Teams must provide their own laptop computers for the competition. NVC will NOT provide laptops for the participant teams.
- Team laptops must be equipped with a standard video connection.