Business Plan Competition Frequently Asked Questions

WHO CAN ENTER THE COMPETITION?

 

 

The YEP Business Plan Competition is open to Napa, Sonoma, and Marin County high school and college age students youth between 14 to 27 years of age — who want to explore the world of business. Business Plans submitted for the competition will be divided into two divisions – High School and College. Age of participants is at time of the business plan submission deadline.

 

WHAT SHOULD A BUSINESS PLAN INCLUDE?

 

A business plan is a written description of the future of your business. It’s a document that tells the story of what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. The plan should cover all the important matters that will contribute to making your business a success. Include a paragraph each to cover the following statements:
1. Your basic business concept. This is where you discuss the industry, your business structure, your particular product or service, and how you plan to make your business a success.
2. Your strategy and the specific actions you plan to take to implement it. What goals do you have for your business? When and how will you reach your goals?
3. Your products and services and their competitive advantages. Here’s your chance to dazzle the judges with good, solid information about your products or services and why customers will want to purchase your products and services and not those of your competitors.
4. What markets you’ll pursue. Your marketing plan states who your customers will be? What is your demographic audience? How will you attract and retain enough customers to make a profit? What methods will you use to capture your audience? What sets your business apart from the competition?
5. The background of your management team and/or key employees. Having information about key personnel is an important but often misrepresented portion of a business plan. It’s not a long and detailed biography of each person involved but an accurate account of what they’ve done and what they bring to the table for this specific business opportunity.
6. Your financial needs. These will be based on your projected financial statements. These statements provide a model of how your ideas about the company, its markets and its strategies will play out.
As you write your plan, stick to the basic facts, realistic expectations of profit. Facts that are checkable, demonstrable facts, etc. How long should your plan be? Just a paragraph or two to cover each of the 6 statements above. A useful business plan can be any length; however your PowerPoint (on the visual side) should cover these points as well. Many business plan presentations are made with PowerPoint, using 10 to 12 slides to tell your story. That’s a great starting point, but you’ll need to submit a written “mini plan” (covering the 6 points) for our judges to review for the initial stages of the competition.
HOW ARE BUSINESS PLANS JUDGED?

Completed business plans are reviewed by a team of professional experts. This team reads through the business plans and rates them according to a number of criteria – i.e. the Rubric. The top 5 business plans in the high school category and top 5 plans in the college category are chosen to go on to the competition.

These top 10 teams (5 high school, 5 college) are already winners and now compete for ‘place’ through presenting their business plans. That is, the top teams present their plans in front of a panel of community judges. Using the same rubric, the judges rate the business plans and award the winners from first to 5th place for the high school and college categories.

 

WHAT ARE THE PRIZES?

Winners receive cash prizes and there are 6 winners in all: 3 College and 3 High School. All finalists chosen to present are already winners and the final competition determines which place they will take.

There’s more than just the money though – the competition is a great opportunity! You can gain great skills and maybe even come up with a plan for your future business!

HOW CAN I KEEP UP-TO-DATE ON THE COMPETITION AND WHAT'S HAPPENING?
  • Sign up for YEP News emails on our website (see top of this webpage)
MUST I SUBMIT A PLAN AS PART OF A TEAM?

No, you do not have to submit your business plan as part of a team – you may submit your plan solo. Most of our entrants are teams. If you submit a plan by yourself, you will also present your plan solo.

MUST PARTICIPANTS/TEAM MEMBERS BE IN HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE?

No, the age range is 14 to 27 years of age, it does not matter if you are in school:

  • High school contestants must be in high school or of high school age.
  • All others must enter the college category (no older than 27 years).
WHAT IS THE DEADLINE TO ENTER?

For 2017-18, the deadline to submit your finished business plan is Thursday, Dec 14 at 4pm.

For more details, see the schedule page.

HOW DO I SUBMIT MY ENTRY?

 

All submissions are due by 4pm at Napa Valley College on the due date. For the 2017-18 competition, online submission opens November 20 and closes on December 14.

To submit your entry, go to Ideator.com and create a profile, then upload your plan! If you have any questions, call 707-256-7250.

 

DO I HAVE TO PRESENT IF I MAKE IT AS A FINALIST?

 

Yes, to win the Business Plan Competition, the entrant needs to present. If you are part of a team, though, not all members need present – only one of the team is required to present. Remember, once you make it as a finalist, you have already won, but now you are competing for the big prize!

WHEN DO THE WINNERS RECEIVE THEIR PRIZES?

The lucky winners will receive their cold, hard cash (or checks that is) within a month. Checks will be sent and received by winners in February.

I TEACH A (HIGH SCHOOL OR COLLEGE) CLASS AND AM INTERESTED IN OFFERING THIS OPPORTUNITY TO MY STUDENTS? CAN YOU HELP ME?

 

YES, as long as your school is in Napa, Sonoma, or Marin Counties:

  • Contact us at 707-256-7250. We can arrange a school visit and tell your students about the competition. We can also provide mentors to help them in-class as they work on their business plans! All in-class time should be arranged in October, at the latest.

 

CAN I ENTER MORE THAN ONE BUSINESS PLAN?

 

YES, you may enter more than one business plan into the competition, so long as any business plan you submit is your personal work and meets the criteria for the competition.

It’s fun to see so many good ideas in a room all at once!

A great experience. I learned a lot and plan to enter again (and win!) next year.