Update: The 25 Finalists have been announced. Click here
Undergraduates from around the country will have the chance to compete for over $250,000 in grants and scholarships at a three-day celebration of undergraduate entrepreneurship April 6-8, 2017, in Minneapolis.
What is e-Fest®?
E-Fest®, sponsored by the Richard M. Schulze School of Entrepreneurship and by EIX.org, a non-profit online platform for entrepreneurship education, will celebrate 25 student teams who submit the best business ideas in a preliminary competition. It will feature workshops, an Innovation Challenge and keynote speeches from Schulze himself, who is founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy, Inc., and "Shark Tank" regular Daymond John, founder of FUBU. The 25 student teams will receive $2,000 travel stipends and hotel will be provided.
The online form for team submissions will open in mid January 2017.
Student teams can enter seven-minute videos and 15 slides detailing their business ideas by end of day February 17, 2017. Judges will select 25 finalist teams to participate in e-Fest. The teams with the three best business ideas will receive $100,000, $50,000 and $25,000 in prizes, with an additional $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 in grants going to their universities to support entrepreneurship education. A Friday night Innovation Challenge will award $20,000, $10,000 and $5,000 in scholarships to student teams who develop the best solution to a business problem unveiled that night.
As the preliminary competition gets underway, EIX and the Schulze Family Foundation will award up to 100 development grants of $2,500 each to institutions to support developing teams for the Business Idea Competition. Professors, see below for more details.
This competition is for you! Once your college or university signs up for e-Fest, your team can start developing your video and slides promoting your business idea, and compete for more than $250,000 in awards. Rules and information are below. Get in touch with your entrepreneurship professor for more information and to make sure your school is participating.
February 1, 2017: The online submission form for the video and presentations is enabled.
February 17, 2017: Last day for students to submit a seven-minute video and 15 slides detailing their business ideas. Submissions must be uploaded and completed by 11:59pm on Friday Feb 17th, US Pacific Time.
March 10, 2017: 25 finalist teams are announced
April 6-8, 2017: e-Fest Events at the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St Thomas in Minneapolis Minnesota
Rules for Student Teams
- Must be undergraduate students registered during 2017 spring semester
- Must attend a qualifying college or university that applies to participate in e-Fest before the application deadline
- Teams are limited to four members
- Teams must be accompanied by a faculty advisor
- Winning teams agree to allow their video submission and slides to be published by EIX
This web page will contain all current rules and information about e-Fest 2017. Details are subject to change, so please revisit often.
By registering for e-Fest, your college or university will agree to help form or select at least one (1) and up to three (3) undergraduate student teams, who will provide an e-Fest submission this year. Rules for the formation of student teams, submission of entries, prize distribution, and other disclosures are explained in the Rules.
Higher education institutions in North America that offer undergraduate degrees or concentrations in entrepreneurship are eligible.
Through January 5, 2017, we accepted applications for the e-Fest Development Grants. The grant time window is closed, but the e-Fest college and university registration window for e-Fest is open until January 31, 2017.
The Grants are not required in order to participate in e-Fest. By registering your college or university, you are agreeing to be the "academic contact" for your school, and you will receive e-Fest email notifications and help ensure the timely 1 to 3 student team submissions e-Fest.
Rules for Development Grants (grant eligibility ends on Jan 5th, 2017 but e-Fest general registration is open until January 31, 2017)
- One grant per school/college, up to 100 total development grants (first come, first served)
- Open only to four-year degree-granting colleges/universities in North America
- The college/university must have an active entrepreneurship program consisting of at least three courses taught at the undergraduate level
- School agrees to submit at least 1 team to the competition
- The lead faculty member must demonstrate that material from Entrepreneurship & Innovation Exchange (www.eix.org) will be used in entrepreneurship courses taught at their institution during the 2016-17 school year.
- Schools with faculty members on the EIX Editorial Board are not eligible for the grants.
- Submissions: Each team and its team members may submit only one venture concept to the competition. Initial submissions are due by February 17, 2017 at 11:59pm US Pacific Time. All submissions must be through the e-Fest submission portal: e-fest.eix.org
- Team: Team size should not exceed four (4) persons. The travel stipend is capped at $2,000 per team.
- Student Enrollment: The competition is for undergraduate students currently enrolled on a full- or part-time basis (i.e., January through June 2017). Appropriate adjustments will be made for teams from non-US universities that have a different academic calendar. However, only undergraduate students may compete (including submitting, presenting their plan, and answering questions from the competition judges).
- Student Involvement: The competition is for student-created and student-managed ventures, including new ventures launched by licensing university technology. Students are expected to:
a. Be advised by a current undergraduate student faculty member or entrepreneurship center director from an institution that has used or is aware of using EIX entrepreneurship learning resources in its courses.
b. Play the primary role in developing and leading the business.
c. Have key management roles in the venture.
d. Have fundamental, equity-holding (or potential equity-holding) positions within the company and have a combined ownership/potential ownership of at least 25% of the founder's equity in the company.
e. Be part of only one e-Fest team.
f. Be present during the entire competition and at the time of the prize presentations to be eligible for prizes.
- Forms of Business:
a. Submissions are for new for-profit, independent ventures in the seed, start-up, or early growth stages.
b. Submissions should not include buyouts, entity expansions, not for profits, subsidiaries or recapitalizations.
c. The e-Fest team has the final decision on which teams are invited to compete in the competition and reserves the right to include or exclude any teams for any reasons.
- Point of Contact: Students must designate a single point-of-contact person responsible for communication with competition organizers and submitting the entry into the e-Fest student team application portal. This is to streamline operations.
- Academic Advisor: Each student team must provide the name and email address of their team faculty advisor when submitting their team entry for consideration for e-Fest.
- Institutional Eligibility: Colleges and universities in North America that have an undergraduate entrepreneurship offering of 3 or more courses, or which offer entrepreneurship major or minor concentrations, may participate.
- Email Correspondences: e-Fest news and updates will be emailed to the academic contact who first registered the college or university for e-Fest. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to have additional faculty or entrepreneurship center directors or staff added to our e-Fest email news list.
- e-Fest News & Updates: We will post all updates to rules or information on this web page, which is subject to change at any time.
- Format: A video and PowerPoint deck (or equivalent) are required for each submission. Both items must be submitted through the e-Fest portal (e-fest.eix.org) to be eligible. Teams must adhere to the time limits on the video and convert their pitch deck to .pdf format for the written submission.
a. Video Submission: The video submission should be up to a 7-minute pitch. This is the storied “rocket pitch” and should convey the key attributes of the opportunity, as depicted in the Pitch deck. Substance trumps style. The video file should be saved in one of these video file formats: .MOV, .WMV, .MP4 (email us with any technical questions: email@example.com)
b. PowerPoint Submission: The PowerPoint deck must be no longer than 15 slides and must be converted to .pdf format prior to submission.
- Original Work: The business submission must represent the original work of each entrant.
- Resources: EIX.org has published some expert advice in two videos about persuasive pitch presentations: http://eix.org/content/127-turning-good-business-presentations-into-great-ones
- Integrity: The submission must contain only accurate information about team members’ backgrounds, experience and educational levels; stage of product development; product performance claims or market survey results.
- Data Retention: After e-Fest concludes, only contact and basic information about each team and entry will be retained. All provided files will be permanently purged from the e-Fest online system, with the exception of e-Fest winners and entries selected for mentioning by EIX editors on the EIX.ORG website.
- Withdrawal. If a confirmed team drops out after March 23, 2017 for any reason, their university will be ineligible to compete in the competition for two years.
- First Round: The first round of the competition will judge the videos and slides submitted through the EIX e-Fest portal. Two judges will review each entry. Scoring will be against a pre-prescribed rubric, which is published. Every team will receive feedback. We anticipate 25 semifinalists to be selected.
- Semifinalists: From the first round, up to 25 teams will be invited to travel to The University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis for e-Fest. Teams will be notified of their acceptance by March 10, 2017. At e-Fest, groups of five teams will each be presided by five judges, for the final pitches. Judging panels will listen to each team’s pitch and score each team against a scoring rubric. Each judging panel will select one of the five teams as a finalist.
- Finalists: At e-Fest, the five finalists, the top scorer from each group, will pitch to a final judging panel, who will score the final pitches against a scoring rubric and deliberate to arrive at first place, second place and third place. Judges will also award a prize for best pitch and best PowerPoint deck.
- Innovation Challenge: The innovation challenge will be held Friday evening. Judges will create new teams by mixing different team members together. The teams will be issued a challenge for which they must devise a business-based solution. A panel of judges will review the devised solutions and award monetary prizes to the teams who have developed the most compelling value propositions.
- Confidentiality: All sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations and question/answer sessions, are open to the public at large. Any and all of these sessions may be shared with interested persons, through media that may include radio, television, printed materials and the Internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that could possibly enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged, or presented in these sessions. Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, sponsors, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant. By participating in the competition, entrants agree that no member of the e-Fest team -- EIX, The Richard Schulze Family Foundation, The University of St. Thomas, members of the judging panel, sponsors and their designate organizations -- will assume any liability whatsoever for any disclosures of business plan information that may be made (whether inadvertently or otherwise) by any judge, reviewer, staff member, audience member or other individual connected with, participating in, viewing, hearing, or receiving information from the competition.
- Notification: Teams will be notified of whether they are invited to compete in e-Fest on March 10, 2017.
- Attendance: To be considered for any award, all competing (presenting) team members must arrive at The University of St. Thomas by April 6, 2017 and be present on campus that day for the opening of the competition and through the close of the event. Teams must attend the activities on the agenda. Teams should plan their return travel NO EARLIER than Sunday morning.
- Required Forms: Each team will be required to provide appropriate documentation to receive award payments, which include W-9 and/or EIN forms. No prizes will be awarded without the required forms submitted. International Teams and students will also be required to submit proper documentation to be awarded prize money, and will be instructed on an individual basis on the required forms.
Travel and Accommodations
- Travel: The travel stipend is capped at $2,000 per team. This will be issued as a check for $2,000. This must be used for travel and incidentals related to attending the e-Fest event. Travel and related costs above $2,000 will be the responsibility of the competing team or their designated college/university.
- Lodging: We have reserved a block of rooms at the DoubleTree Hotel adjacent to University of St. Thomas’s Minneapolis Campus, where e-Fest will take place. We have reserved for three rooms per team to accommodate team members and a faculty advisor (or chaperone, if appropriate). Please plan your accommodation logistics accordingly.
- Finalist Team Responsibilities: Hotel accommodations must be made directly by each team and advisor, by contacting the DoubleTree hotel at the contact information to be provided. Travel arrangements directly to and from the DoubleTree hotel (across the street from the University of St Thomas campus) must be made by each team. e-Fest will pay for the hotel and accommodations costs and will provide some refreshments and meals throughout the event. e-Fest will provide a $2,000 check payment to each team to cover travel arrangements.
Check the posted e-Fest agendas to see schedules of events and locations of amenities.
- Equipment: Teams should plan to bring a laptop and a copy of their presentation on a flash drive. Each presentation room is equipped with a large-screen projector and equipment to run your presentation (each room type has a presentation guide that will be available to all competitors). IMPORTANT NOTE: if a team is using Mac laptop, you should bring your own video adapter to be able to connect into the A/V system in the room. Please note that if your presentation contains video, graphics and/or sound, there is every expectation that your presentation will work properly at the e-Fest competition.
- Materials: The e-Fest team reserves the right to use any material prepared for the competition to publicize and promote the event. The e-Fest team may video record any portion of the competition and utilize these videos in any way that its sees fit.
- Changes: While not anticipated, these rules and prizes are subject to change at the discretion of the e-Fest team at any time. e-Fest staff has the right to interpret these rules according to its own judgment.
- Awards: All decisions regarding the competition rules, procedures, and processes are at the sole discretion of the e-Fest team. Changes and/or interpretations of these rules may be made by the e-Fest team at any time, even though they may be (or may appear to be) in conflict some previously published information. Selecting the teams to compete and deciding on the winners are at the sole discretion of the judges and the e-Fest team. Best efforts will be made to make decisions in accordance with this Official Rules document.
- Copyrights & Permissions: If a team uses copyrighted materials and/or images from a third party in their submissions or presentations, they must obtain permission and authorization in advance from the owners to use this material.
- Brokerage: Information presented by the students at the competition is the sole responsibility of the students. The e-Fest team has not taken, and does not intend to take, any steps to verify the adequacy, accuracy or completeness of any information, materials or statements presented by the students. The students, and not the e-Fest team, are responsible for ensuring the students’ compliance with all applicable federal, state and other securities laws, and it is solely the students’ responsibility to comply with any of such laws that are applicable. The e-Fest team does not give investment advice, endorsement, analysis or recommendations with respect to any securities and is not a broker, venture fund or an investment advisor.
We offer a very basic PowerPoint presentation template here. If your student team uses this template, be sure to customize every part of it to your idea and brand.