Prizes reach $5,000 for Business Plan Competition

GVL/Andrew Mills
Dean James Williams of the GVSU Seidman College of Business presents the first place check at last years Business Plan Competition

Andrew Mills

GVL/Andrew Mills Dean James Williams of the GVSU Seidman College of Business presents the first place check at last years Business Plan Competition

Kendal Pektas

Students with great and interesting business ideas can win up to $5,000 in the fifth annual Business Plan Competition this spring.

The competition, put on by the Grand Valley State University Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the Seidman College of Business, asks students to submit an official business plan outline for potential companies. Throughout the competition process, students will be put in real-world situations as they learn what it takes to successfully launch a new business.

Registration is free, and the deadline to sign up is Nov. 21. The competition date is March 29.

“The Business Plan Competition serves to stimulate and nourish the entrepreneurial spirit at Grand Valley State University,” said Shorouq Almallah, CEI operations manager. “In particular, the competition seeks to encourage entrepreneurially-oriented students to develop and grow new ventures based on their own ideas.”

Partaking students will develop critical skills like evaluating opportunities, creating marketing plans, preparing financials and pitching to investors. They will also have networking opportunities with faculty, business leaders and investors as they share ideas and strategies. The competition is open to students of all majors as long as they have a sturdy business idea at hand.

“A lot of the people who compete are in liberal studies, psychology, science majors, etc.,” said Adam Ingraham, a CEI graduate assistant. “You do not have to be a business major. Really, anyone can have an idea, which is the beauty of it.”

Winners will be selected by a panel of judges, who have yet to be determined. These judges will then narrow down the top four business plans, and those winners will receive cash prizes. The third place winner will receive $1,500, second place will receive $3,000 and first place will receive $5,000.

Additionally, the winner of the Social Media “Buzz” award wins $500.

Students are encouraged to use this money as seed capital for their businesses.

“Drafting a plan forces students to strategically analyze their business; therefore, after completion of a plan, we feel confident that students have gone through the preliminary steps in validating their proposition,” said Austin Dean, a graduate assistant. “Whether you are pitching an idea or watching new ideas be expressed, you can’t help but be excited about where innovative minds are leading us, and the quality of students that are coming out of Grand Valley.”

The competition is funded by the CEI along with local sponsors.

“Grand Valley has made it a priority to be a premiere institution, and management here at the university understands that innovation powers growth, and that success is contagious,” Dean said. “The BPC is a way of empowering our students.”

For complete registration rules and guidelines, visit

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