About the Competition

The 2014 Springboard Ideas Challenge is open for registration! Please take a few minutes to read the following information to find out more about this year’s competition. You can also visit the Schedule page for a list of important dates for this year’s competition. Please note that the divisions, awards and eligibility criteria have changed from the 2013 competition. Please contact us at griggscenter@acu.edu with any questions.  


Divisions, Awards and Prizes 

What are the different divisions for the 2014 Springboard Ideas Challenge?
The 2014 Springboard Ideas Challenge includes three divisions: Community-Growth, Community-Small Business, and College. See the Eligibility section below for the criteria participants must meet to compete in any of these divisions. 

What is the difference between the Community-Growth and Community-Small Business divisions?
The Community-Growth Division is focused on business concepts that are scalable and fundable. In other words, the business would be attractive to an equity investor. Other business ideas may still be profitable and very successful for the entrepreneur but may not generate enough profits over the long term to attract investment.

Do I decide which community division to enter?
No. The online application is the same for all contestants. The judging panel for Phase I of the competition will determine the division in which entries belong.

What are the awards and corresponding prizes that will be awarded in each division?
The cash prizes for the 2014 Springboard Ideas Challenge are listed in the table below. Additional in-kind prizes may be announced prior to the competition. 

Award Community-Growth Community-Small Business College
Grand Prize$15,000$5,000$7,500
2nd Place$5,000$3,000$3,000
3rd Place$1,000$1,000$1,000
Values Award$1,000$1,000$1,000

 


Eligibility 

Do I need to live in any particular communities in order to compete in one of the community divisions?

Yes. The Springboard Ideas Challenge is a mini-business plan competition for students and community members in the Big Country. All participants must be a permanent resident in one of the following 19 counties:

  • Knox
  • Stonewall
  • Kent
  • Haskell
  • Throckmorton
  • Comanche
  • Brown
  • Coleman
  • Runnels
  • Eastland
  • Callahan
  • Taylor
  • Nolan
  • Mitchell
  • Stephens
  • Shackelford
  • Jones
  • Fisher
  • Scurry
Which schools are eligible to compete in the college division?
Full-time students at at any of the following institutions are eligible to compete:
  • Abilene Christian University
  • Cisco College
  • Hardin-Simmons University
  • Howard Payne University
  • McMurry University
  • Texas State Technical College
  • Texas Tech University at Abilene
  • West Central Texas College

However, you are still eligible to compete in the community divisions as long as you meet the other eligibility criteria.

Can I still compete in the college division if I attend school on a part-time basis?
No. All participants in the college division must be an undergraduate or masters-level student enrolled on a full-time basis during the 2013-2014 academic year (fall and/or spring semester).

Is there an age requirement for any of the divisions?
Yes. All participants in the community and college divisions must be 18 years or older.

What if I’ve already started my business?
Participants in any of the divisions may include (1) a new business concept that is not yet operational as well as (2) start-up companies that are in the early stages of launching the business. However, any companies that have been in operation for more than 36 months are not eligible to participate in the competition.

Does it matter if I entered a previous Springboard Ideas Challenge?
Business concepts that have been awarded prize money in previous Springboard Ideas Challenge competitions may not be resubmitted in the 2014 competition. However, any other business concepts from previous competitions may be resubmitted in this year’s competition.

Individuals who were awarded prize money in the 2013 Springboard Ideas Challenge competitions are not eligible to participate in this year’s competition.

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Registration 

When is the deadline to register for this year’s competition?
The deadline for registration is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 7, 2014.

How much does it cost to register?
The registration fee is $10 per submission. 

If I plan to submit multiple business plans, do I need to register them separately?
Yes. Multiple submissions are allowed but each submission will require a separate registration form and fee.

How do I register?
All participants must submit a registration form with all required information and pay the required registration fee. Participants can register using any of the following methods:

1. Register and pay online

2. Register online and mail payment: Send payment according to date of registration to the following address:

Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy
ACU Box 29300
Abilene, TX 79699-9300

Your registration form must be received by the registration deadline described above so please complete prior to mailing payment. Checks should be made payable to ACU - COBA with Springboard in the memo line.

3. Register online and pay in person: Deliver the registration fee in cash or check and a completed registration form to the front desk at the Mabee Business Building at Abilene Christian University (see ACU campus map). Checks should be made payable to ACU - COBA with Springboard in the memo line.

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The Competition Process  

Phase I - Online Application
All participants in the community and college divisions will be asked to complete an online application. The questions focus on important points about each business concept that would be important to potential investors and other stakeholders of why the venture would succeed. The application should take 15-30 minutes to complete.

The deadline for completing the online application is the same as the registration deadline, which is 5 p.m. on Friday, March 7, 2014.

All applications will be reviewed by a panel of judges. Participants who advance to the next stage of the competition will be notified on Friday, March 14, 2014.

Phase II - Mini-Business Plan
Participants who advance to this phase of the competition will be asked to prepare a mini-business plan addressing the fundamental issues of interest to potential investors. This document should highlight the most important and interesting points of the business, which should give potential investors a general understanding of why this venture would succeed. See below for details on the mini-business plan.

Business plans must be submitted no later than 11:59pm on Friday, March 28, 2014. All plans must be submitted electronically to griggscenter@acu.edu. PDF files are preferred but files in Microsoft Word will also be accepted.

Finalists will be notified of their advancement to the next phase of the competition on Wednesday, April 2, 2014.

Phase III - Live Panel Judging
Contestants who qualify as finalists will be asked to prepare a presentation to be given before a live panel of judges. The exact date, time, and location will vary by division but will take place during the week of April 6-12, 2014. Participants will be given 10 minutes to present their idea to the judges and will then be subject to 10-15 minutes of Q&A from the judges. Additional information regarding this phase of the competition will be provided to finalists when they are notified of their advancement to the Live Panel Judging.

Phase IV - Awards Dinner
Each finalist in the community and college divisions is expected to be present at the Springboard Awards Dinner on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. All winners will be announced at the event. Finalists will present their business concept as part of an exhibit hall immediately before the dinner. Additional information regarding the event and exhibits will be provided to finalists when they are notified of their advancement to the Live Panel Judging.

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Requirements for Mini-Business Plan  

The mini-business plan is a brief document that should address the fundamental issues that would be of interest to potential investors. It should highlight the most important and interesting points of the business, which should give potential investors a general understanding of why this venture would succeed. Additional suggestions about what information to include will be provided to participants who advance in the competition.

The mini-business plan may have a cover sheet but also needs a header on each page with the participant number assigned after registration and the year of competition. For instance, if after registration a participant was emailed and informed that his/her participant number was 17S, the header ON EACH PAGE would look like this:

17S - 2014

To avoid any bias in judging, a participant’s name or school affiliation should not appear anywhere within the submission as it will be cross referenced with the registration form.

The Mini-Business Plan should be formatted as follows:

  • 1-inch margins on all sides
  • Times New Roman of similar font
  • Size 11 font
  • Compressed or expanded type is not permitted
  • Page numbers should be included

While the entire document should be no more than ten (10) narrative, numbered pages, contestants should note that financial statements, charts and graphs are permitted and should be included as exhibits or appendices at the end of the document (charts and graphs do not count toward the 10 page text limit).

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Terms and Conditions  

Teams may choose to include the following optional disclaimer on the cover sheet of their submissions, recognizing that it is not a legally binding agreement:

“This business plan is confidential and is presented solely for the purpose of evaluation in the Springboard Ideas Challenge. This plan may not be reproduced or redistributed in whole or in part. By accepting a copy of this plan, the recipient agrees not to reproduce or disclose the contents of this plan to third parties without the prior written consent of its authors. “

Many actual and prospective participants in the Springboard Ideas Challenge often ask that confidentiality agreements be secured from mentors, organizers and/or judges. While the organizers of the Springboard Ideas Challenge appreciate the concerns behind these requests, as a matter of convention and practicality, confidentiality agreements are not signed as part of the competition.

Competitors are also responsible to protect any information concerning the submitted plan that is shared with mentors or fellow participants in the competition. The Springboard Ideas Challenge takes no responsibility for unwanted disclosure in these instances.

IN REGISTERING FOR THE SPRINGBOARD IDEAS CHALLENGE, PARTICIPANTS AGREE TO INDEMNIFY, DEFEND, AND HOLD HARMLESS ABILENE CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY, ITS BOARD OF TRUSTEES, OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, REPRESENTATIVES, AND VOLUNTEERS, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE COLLEGE OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, THE GRIGGS CENTER FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND PHILANTHROPY, THE SPRINGBOARD ACCELERATOR, AND THE SPRINGBOARD IDEAS CHALLENGE, FROM AND AGAINST ANY AND ALL LIABILITY, CLAIMS, DEMANDS, OR ON ACCOUNT OF INJURY, LOSS, DAMAGE, OR EXPENSE, INCLUDING DEFENSE COSTS, COURT COSTS, AND ATTORNEYS FEES, WHICH ARISE OUT OF OR ARE IN ANY MANNER CONNECTED WITH THEIR PARTICIPATION IN THE SPRINGBOARD IDEAS CHALLENGE INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, DISCLOSURE OF PROPRIETARY CONCEPTS.

Contestants should be careful about disclosing information concerning proprietary concepts. While general questions or concerns regarding confidentiality should be addressed to griggscenter@acu.edu, please consult a licensed attorney with any questions regarding intellectual property concerns and your particular business concept. 

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Featured Slideshow
Springboard Ideas Challenge
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