An education experience like no other

Enter the RISE Collegiate Business Plan Competition

STUDENTS

Commit to this 6-month journey to enhance your college experience! Get the education, skills, mentorship, and motivation necessary to create a viable start-up company in Southern Virginia! You do not need to be a business major to compete. Teams of students with diverse majors, skills, and backgrounds will have an advantage.

FACULTY AND STAFF

Every participating higher education institution is GUARANTEED at least one team in the semifinals. Give your students the opportunity of a lifetime by encouraging them to enter and by being a coach!

Open to ALL Southern Virginia college students in ALL majors

You do not need to be a business major to compete. Teams of students with diverse majors, skills, and backgrounds will have an advantage! Students from ALL higher education institutions in our region are encouraged to compete. Contact your school to let them know you’d like to start or join a team.

The Collegiate Business Plan Competition is also open to students that have a permanent address in Southern Virginia but may be attending school elsewhere in the state.

Longwood University

Jacob Dolence
Faculty, Cormier Honors College
Brandon Hennessey
Director of Research, Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Hampden-Sydney College

Dr. Andrew King
Director, Flemming Center for Entrepreneurship

Averett University

John Vigouroux
Chief Entrepreneurship & Innovation Officer
Dr. Peggy Wright
Chair, Business Administration

Southern Virginia Higher Education Center

Hope Harris-Gayles
Associate Director, Communications & Outreach

Patrick & Henry Community College

Dr. Nancy Phillips
Professor and Department Lead for Business Technology

Don't see your school listed? You can still compete!

Contact us at hello@sovarise.com

6 Month Entrepreneurship Experience

The competition begins in November when applications are due and extends through the entire academic year, culminating in April with the final pitch before a panel of judges. The competition consists of three rounds. Feedback and instruction are given for each round. Everyone who registers in Round 1 will be invited to attend the Workshop. Each team must have at least one team member attend the Workshop to be eligible for moving on the the next round. Teams who make it to the second round will be required to find a coach/mentor, which we can assist with if needed.

Recommended Reading for Participants

Talking to Humans: Success starts with understanding your customers

by Giff Constable

For a free digital copy download, fill out the Non-Profits/Schools form found here.

About the Competition

Welcome to the inaugural RISE Collegiate Business Plan Competition! The BPC provides college students throughout GO Virginia Region 3 with the unique opportunity to make a business idea come to life with the support of state institutions of higher education and investors from around the country.

The process extends through the entire academic year, culminating in April. The competition consists of three rounds. Feedback and instruction are given for each round, so it is not necessary to have any business background to enter. It is helpful to have team members with different areas of expertise.

Round 1: 

Teams of 1-3 members will choose a business idea that focuses on social entrepreneurship and solving a problem found in Southern Virginia. Teams will submit a conceptual outline of their proposed business using the CO.STARTERS Canvas or the Business Model Canvas template. 

The top fifteen teams will advance to the Semifinals. Additional teams may advance to ensure every participating school has at least one team in the Semifinals. 

Teams can consist of students from multiple schools. 

If you are interested in participating in this competition, contact the planning committee member from your school to find out how your school can support you with coaching and resources.

Round 2 — Semifinals:

Consists of three levels. First each team will submit a written customer discovery study. Next, each team will submit a two-minute elevator pitch of their business idea to the judges who will score the ideas. Finally, each team will participate in a series of virtual interviews with business professionals to discuss their business plan. 

The top ten teams will advance to the final round.

Workshop

Teams will come together at the Competition Workshop to work with marketing, financial, legal and business professionals. They will learn valuable information related to starting a business in Southern Virginia. This event is mandatory for all finalists and their coaches.

Round 3 — Final Competition:

Finalist teams are given comprehensive instruction and support in developing a complete business plan for their idea. Each finalist team will submit a business plan to a panel of judges and then make a 5-minute oral presentation to the panel followed by a 10-minute Q&A with the judges. 

Competition Timeline

October 14, 2021

Virtual Information Session for Students and Faculty/Staff

Update – January 20, 2022

Round 1: Rolling registration deadline for submissions

January 20, 2022

Virtual Workshop for participants

February 11, 2022

Feasibility studies due by noon

Update – February 21-22, 2022

Round 2: Virtual Semifinals (1-hour interview with panel)

Update – February 23, 2022

Finalists notified

February 24, 2022

Virtual Workshop for finalists

April 7, 2022

Final business plans due by noon

Update – April 27, 2022

Round 3: Finals – Pitch Competition

Eligibility

All members must be degree or credential seeking students taking a minimum of 3-credit-hours enrolled at a Southern Virginia institution of higher education but do not need to attend the same institution. These institutions include: Longwood University, Hampden-Sydney College, Averett University, Danville Community College, Patrick Henry Community College, Southside Virginia Community College, and Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. High school dual enrolled students are eligible to apply, whether or not they are seeking an Associate’s degree.

The Collegiate Business Plan Competition is also open to students that have a permanent address in Southern Virginia but may be attending school elsewhere in the state. 

Process

1. Create a Team

Teams may consist of 1-3 members. Assign a team leader. Team leaders will submit the team business idea using the business model canvas template.

All members must be degree or credential seeking students taking a minimum of 3-credit-hours enrolled at a Southern Virginia institution of higher education but do not need to attend the same institution. These institutions include: Longwood University, Hampden-Sydney College, Averett University, Danville Community College, Patrick Henry Community College, Southside Virginia Community College, and Southern Virginia Higher Education Center. High school dual enrolled students are eligible to apply, whether or not they are seeking an Associate’s degree. 

Building a team with diverse skill sets is recommended. Teams may enter multiple business ideas in the first round, but only one (1) such business idea may compete in the semifinals. If two submissions from the same team leader are selected for the semifinals, teams can break up or add additional team members as needed. Teams can add or remove team members up until the Workshop.  Teams can include students from multiple schools. 

If you want to join a team, or you’re looking for additional team members and need help, email us at hello@sovainnovationhub.com.

2. Select a Business Idea

For-profit and non-profit ideas are eligible. Social entrepreneurship is encouraged. All business ideas must have the potential to be viable, legal entities eligible to operate under the laws of Virginia.

3. Register and submit your idea online by the application deadline 

Register your team by filling out the form at this link.

Log on to our online portal and submit your Business Model Canvas template.

It’s Free! 

  • There is no cost for this program, thanks to our program sponsors

Ready to Get Started?

Let us know you’re ready by filling out the application! The application deadline has been extended to Thursday, January 20th at noon.

Have you been accepted into the Collegiate Business Plan Competition?

All students accepted into the competition will need to self-enroll in the CBPC Canvas course.

CBPC Round 1 Scoring Rubric – Feasibility Study

To access the scoring rubric for the Round 1 feasibility study, click here.

Did you miss the information session on October 14th?

Watch it here.

Event Sponsors

Interested in becoming a sponsor of this program?

Let’s talk! Send us an email and we will set up a conversation.