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Edward L. Kaplan, '71, New Venture Challenge (NVC)

Edward L. Kaplan, '71, New Venture Challenge (NVC)


Most other business schools and graduate entrepreneurship programs host a single day or weekend business plan competition as their New Venture Challenge. The NVC at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business is different. It is not just a competition. Instead, it is a year-long business launch program that is recognized as the #1 university accelerator program in the nation. It 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 Thursday, January 28, 2021.
  • Phase II: Selected teams will enroll in a Spring quarter class 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 Spring quarter where top finalist teams will be invited to compete for $1 million in cash and in-kind prizes and pitch in front of an esteemed panel of investors and judges at the NVC Finals on June 3, 2021.

Application Deadline // Applications for the 2020/2021 cycle will open in the Fall 2020 quarter and will be due by Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. CT. If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Amber Bradley.

In order to apply for the 2020/2021 New Venture Challenge, please click the link below. You will be prompted to create a profile for the Reviewr application platform, where you will submit all necessary components of your NVC application. A detailed description of these components is outlined below.


Students must speak to the following topics about their business in short-answer responses. This section will serve as the Executive Summary to a team’s application.

  • Business description
  • Problem this business is addressing
  • Customer segment this business addresses
  • Potential market size
  • Competing or substitutable products
  • Why is this the right team to launch this business?
  • Current status of the business and/or estimated time to market


Students must develop a 8-page feasibility summary outlining a business or idea. Common elements of a feasibility summary include: value proposition, customer segments, competition, intellectual property, customer engagement, revenue model, operations, management team, progress to date, business risks, and business analogues.


  • 10-12 pt legible font
  • 1 inch margins
  • 8-page maximum (judges are not expected to read any appendices)


Students must create a 2-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?
  • Who is most interested in having this problem solved?
  • What evidence do you have that they will find value in your solution?
  • Why are you the team to solve this problem?
  • How will the New Venture Challenge enable you to reach your goals?

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