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Rules & Guidelines - 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals

The objectives of the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals are to encourage students to develop their entrepreneurial ideas, enhance understanding of requirements for a successful business venture, and showcase the creativity of students at Virginia Tech.


  • $5,000 - Plastics One Advanced Manufacturing Award for the most outstanding tangible product
  • $5,000 - VT KnowledgeWorks Information Technology Award for the most outstanding intangible product or service
  • $10,000 - An additional grand prize for one of the two teams that receive the Advanced Manufacturing Award or the Information Technology Award
  • $5,000 - People’s Choice Award sponsored by Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business

Thanks to the support of our generous sponsors, the grand prize winner of the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals will also receive:

  • start-up assistance from VT KnowledgeWorks
  • a week-long, expense-paid celebration of student entrepreneurship with a chance to win the $25,000 grand prize at the 2017 VT KnowledgeWorks Global Student Entrepreneurship Challenge

College Dough

Danielle Jeffers of College Dough
Grand Prize winner of the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals
Winner of the VT KnowledgeWorks Information Technology Award

View last year's winners here.

John Hearney and Chad Nexon of Bar None Insulated Apparel
Winners of the Plastics One Advanced Manufacturing Award

People’s Choice

The People’s Choice award will be selected by vote of the event attendees.  VT KnowledgeWorks would like all contestants and audience members to participate in honoring the most outstanding teams, based on the judging criteria.  The formal judging panel uses these same criteria to determine the winning team.  The team/concept with the highest overall ranking by the attendees, and which is not selected by the judging panel as a prize winner, will earn the $5,000 People’s Choice award.  The $5,000 will be awarded to the selected team in the form of scholarships.

Tech Wound Solutions

Kimberly Wyluda, Tucker King, and Elisabeth Rebholz of Tech Wound Solutions (not pictured Juliana Downey)
Winners of the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business People's Choice Award

2017 Student Challenge Rules

Eligibility: The competition is open to all full-time graduate and undergraduate students at Virginia Tech.  Also eligible are very recent graduates who received their degrees within the 12 months immediately prior to the application date of February 10, 2017.  The average age of the team must be 27 years or less for them to participate and receive prizes if selected as a finalist team.  Teams that have competed in this event in the past may not enter again unless they are presenting a new business concept.

A business concept is an attractive and well-researched market opportunity for which the team has devised a powerful and innovative response, including a viable financial business model.  The prize is focused on supporting educational entrepreneurship at an early stage of development.  Therefore, applicants are encouraged and expected to have a working prototype, but they must not have received beyond $100,000 in investments from private investors and/or government agency funding beyond research grants, nor offered product(s) for sale except in market survey mode, at the time the application form is submitted on February 10, 2017.

The judges consider the viability of the market opportunity, the strength of the team’s response, the strength and balance of the team, the overall predictability of a success, and the professionalism of the presentation. 

Proposed products/services that support a sustainable environment or specifically address needs of underdeveloped countries are encouraged, but no special credit will be assigned to such business concepts.

By participating in or attending this VTKW Business Concept Competition Event which is held in a public area, any participant or attendee may be photographed, filmed, and/or otherwise recorded. Your presence constitutes your consent to such photography, filming and/or recording and use of your image, voice, and/or likeness in any media for educational, informational, publicity, and promotional purposes in connection with this event.  All photography, filming, and/or recording will be done in reliance on this consent given by you by your presence at this event. If you do not agree to the foregoing, please do not enter the area in which the event is being conducted.

Guidelines and Deadlines

1. February 10, 2017: Students must apply for Round 1 and submit a one-page summary of the business concept by following the one-page submission guidelines by midnight of February 10, 2017. These will be reviewed by a panel of faculty and local business leaders, and those chosen to participate in the competition will be announced relatively soon after.  One-Page Summary Guidelines ~ Review before submission.

2. March 3, 2017: The students and teams that were chosen to compete must enter Round 2 by submitting a more detailed business concept document by following the submission guidelines by midnight of March 3, 2017. This is to be a three- to five-page document and about five to six finalists will be announced relatively soon after. The business concept document will be critiqued using the criteria listed in the guidelines.  Business Concept Guidelines ~ Review before submission.

3. April 12, 2017: About five to six finalists will present their business concepts at the Global Entrepreneurship Challenge Semifinals on April 12, 2017, before a panel of judges as well as angel investors, business leaders, and others attending the Challenge.  

Final presentation slides must be submitted no later than midnight on Sunday, April 9, 2017.

Presentation Guidelines ~ Review in preparation for presentation.

Example presentation ~ An example of a "real" business plan presentation.

Example business model ~ An example of a "real" business model graphic.

How to Prepare
1. Meet the above-mentioned deadlines.
2. Carefully review and follow instructions and formats for the:

3. Review the Frequently Asked Questions section.

Company: VT KnowledgeWorks
Street: 1715 Pratt Drive, Suite 1000
Postal/City: Blacksburg, Virginia 24060
Phone: 540-443-9100
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