The START UP CHALLENGE is for new, independent proposed ventures in the conceptual, seed or start-up stages. The competition is open to anyone in Eastern Kentucky, whether an individual or a team of people. This competition seeks to encourage entrepreneurship in all of Eastern Kentucky and therefore generously defines Eastern Kentucky as all counties east of Interstate 75.

Generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area and spin-outs from existing corporations. Plans which were presented in a previous Startup Challenge are not allowed to present again. Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is permitted and encouraged assuming the technologies have not been previously commercialized.

General Guidelines: The written business concept is a five page document. Appendices should be included only when they support the findings, statements, and observations in the concept. This document should address the following components:
Concept Overview
Explain the concept for the business venture you are proposing (be clear, concise and compelling).
Briefly address the value proposition including the target market, unique benefits, sustainable competitive analysis and how benefits will be delivered to the customer.
Market Opportunity
Describe the compelling need for the product or service. What problem is it solving?
What is the scale and severity of the problem?
What trends are favorable for the business?
Clearly explain the product/service. What are the key benefits and features of the product or service?
How does the product/service solve the problem for the customer?
How are these products or services differentiated from others in the market?
What is the size and growth rate of the industry?
How will you segment the industry to focus on a target market?
What are the demographics of the target market?
Who are your potential competitors and what do you know about them?
How can you position the company to succeed against the competition (better, faster, cheaper, etc.)?
Operating Strategies
Address the sales and marketing, production, R&D, intellectual property, personnel, administrative, and financial strategies for the proposed venture.
Critical Risks
Realistically identify major internal and external critical risks that will threaten the business and present viable contingency plans to address these issues.
Management Team
Who will is your management team? What role will each of you play? What experience does your team have? What are the gaps and what will you do to fill them in? What other individuals are needed to play key roles in the success of the business (i.e. advisors)?
Profit Potential and (if applicable) Social Impact
Present a realistic assessment of start-up costs, breakeven point, and other general financial data that help demonstrate the profit potential of the Model. If a non-profit, note social impact (lives saved, youth educated, healthcare benefits, etc.).
How will you grow the business?  Demonstrate that when market entry has been achieved, how the product/service will spread to other consumers/end-users.
Until the deadline of November 21, 2016, the competition will accept an unlimited number of business plans. Of all the submissions, the eight best business plans will be selected for oral presentation. Presentations can be performed by an individual or a team of up to five people. It is acceptable for more than five people to be involved in the team/company, but only a maximum of five are allowed to present their plan at the competition. Presentations must include visuals, such as PowerPoint slides. Each individual or team will be given 10 minutes to present the business plan, followed by a 5-minute question/answer session between the presenting team and the judges. TIME LIMITS WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED.


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