Most other universities host a single day or weekend business plan competition for their students interested in entrepreneurship. The CNVC is different. It is not just a competition. Instead, it is a multifaceted and interactive business launch program that features three distinct phases:
- Phase I: In the Fall quarter, attend events hosted by the Polsky Center to learn about entrepreneurship, meet teammates, and generate ideas. Eligible teams must develop their business feasibility summary and apply by November 18, 2019.
- Phase II: Selected teams will enroll in a Chicago Booth class (for undergraduates only) in the Winter quarter, where they will develop a full business plan, practice pitching, and receive mentorship from faculty, coaches, and experienced investors.
- Phase III: The program will culminate at the end of the Winter quarter where the top finalist teams will compete for investment and pitch in front of an esteemed panel of investors and judges at the CNVC Finals on March 11, 2020.
Application Deadline // Applications for the 2020 cycle have now closed. If you have any questions, please contact Lucas Peralta.
FEASIBILITY SUMMARY: Students must develop a 5 page feasibility summary outlining a business or idea.
Common elements of a feasibility summary include:
- Value proposition
- Customer segments
- Intellectual property
- Customer engagement
- Revenue model
- Management team
- Progress to date
- Business risks
- Business analogues
- 10-12 pt font
- 1 inch margins
- Arial, Helvetica, or Times New Roman
- 5 page maximum
PITCH VIDEO: Students must create a 1-minute elevator pitch video articulating the following (Upload the video to YouTube — you can leave it unlisted – and submit the URL.):
- What problem are you solving?
- What is your solution?
- What evidence do you have that the problem is real or substantial?
- Why are you the team to solve this problem?
- How will the College New Venture Challenge enable you to reach your goals?
APPLICATION QUESTIONS: Students must speak to the following topics about their business in short-answer responses:Business description (50 words or less, please note that this info may be made available on marketing materials)
- Problem this business is addressing (125 word limit)
- Social impact of business (if applicable) (125 word limit)
- Customer segment this business addresses (125 word limit)
- Potential market size (125 word limit)
- Competing or substitutable products (125 word limit)
- Why is this the right team to launch this business? (125 word limit)
- Key milestones or estimated time to market (125 word limit)
All returning students at the University of Chicago are eligible to apply to the CNVC and enroll in the Chicago Booth CNVC course for credit. First year students may participate as non-enrolled team members, and may audit the CNVC class (not for credit). At least one member of the team must enroll in the CNVC course. Students who are not a part of a participating team may not audit the course. Teams with cross-functional expertise are strongly encouraged. This course counts towards Trott Business Program and Dougan Scholars requirements.
Students in the entrepreneurship track of the City Scholars program at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign (UIUC) are eligible to apply for the College New Venture Challenge as well.
Alumni of the university and individuals not affiliated with the university are eligible to apply to the CNVC as long as they have at least one current UChicago College student as an integral member of the team (i.e., someone with a minimum of 10% equity stake in the venture). However, only current UChicago students or UIUC City Scholars students are allowed to present in class and at the finals event; other team members may participate in the Q&A only.
Additional eligibility requirements include:
- Entries must be the original work of the entrants and may be made by a single-student or by multiple-student teams. Each team or student may submit as many entries as they wish. However, it is unlikely that multiple entries from the same team will be successful given that the plans are judged partly on the ability of the team to execute the plan.
- The new venture idea should be original and have commercial promise. The entry may be developed in conjunction with a course or research project, and students may enlist faculty aid.
- Teams that have secured arrangements for capital from any source must disclose the amounts and sources in their Phase I executive summaries. Entries that have received more than $500,000 of institutional investment are ineligible to compete.
- There is no minimum or maximum team size. However, each team is required to have at least one currently registered student from The College at the University of Chicago or a student in the UIUC City Scholars program as an active member of the team. To qualify, the UChicago student must be registered as of the Phase I deadline.
- Teams whose founding members are unaffiliated with the University of Chicago are only eligible to apply to the CNVC if they have a current UChicago College or UIUC City Scholars student as an integral part of their team, with a 10% equity stake in the venture.
- Teams may have members who are not affiliated with the University of Chicago. The Polsky Center encourages teams to identify individuals, within and external to the University, who may contribute the additional expertise and experience to help the team succeed.
- Upon acceptance into the CNVC, at least one team member must enroll in the CNVC course (BUSN 20340: Developing a New Venture) at Chicago Booth in the winter quarter. UIUC City Scholars students must enroll in the relevant course at UIUC.
- First-year students are not eligible to enroll in the course for credit, but can audit the course as a member of a CNVC team.
- Ventures can be either for-profit or non-profit. Teams do not have to have incorporated to apply or participate, but prize money is always granted to the entity and not individuals, so incorporation will be necessary to claim investments or grants.