The 9th Annual Rafael Munguia UTRGV Business Plan Competition

9th UTRGV Annual Business Plan Competition

Why A Business Plan Contest?

The UTRGV Business Plan Competition (UTRGV BPC) is designed to promote the creation and development of new ventures in the Rio Grande Valley and elsewhere. These ventures can be based on student ideas or the ideas of others (such as UTRGV faculty members). In addition, the competition is designed to provide students a forum where they can develop skills in pitching their ventures to providers of capital and to receive constructive feedback designed to increase the probability of successfully launching their ventures.

Prize Money

A minimum of $5,000 will be awarded in various categories. Students that have received their maximum financial aid allowable may not be eligible for cash awards. There may be a substantial delay between the end of the semester and when the winning team actually receives the cash prize.

Important Dates

  • Tuesday, April 3rd, 2018 - Non-Binding Intent to Compete. Please send notification to Teams can compete without submitting an intent to compete notification.
  • Sunday, April 22nd, 2018 - Final Business Plan Due. Visit the E-Cluster at UTRGV Facebook page for additional details.
  • Thursday, April 26th, 2018 - UTRGV Business Plan Competition Finals on the Edinburg Campus starting at 6:00.

Rules and Regulations

In an effort to insure a level playing field for student teams, the following set of rules have been developed. At the same time, the organizers of this competition recognize that no set of rules can cover all circumstances. Therefore, all teams are expected to abide by the rules enumerated below as well as the overall spirit of the competition. The competition organizers reserve the right to disqualify any team that violates the rules, regulations, or the spirit of the competition.

Team Composition

The competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at UTRGV during the 2017 – 2018 academic year. Student teams from outside the business school are encouraged to compete. Individuals that are not students at UTRGV may be members of the management team and participate in planning the business. However, only students may present the plan in the competition and answer questions from the judges. In general a member of the student team should hold the top position in the venture. Members of the student team should occupy 50 percent or more of the functional area management positions that report to the CEO. The presenting team should include at least two students and not exceed five students. At least two students must be present at the oral presentation.

Nature of Ventures

The competition is for new, independent ventures in the seed, start-up, or early growth stages. 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. Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is encouraged, assuming they have not been commercialized previously. The business plan must represent the original work of members of the team.

Prior Activity

Ventures may compete in the UTRGV BPC only once

Confidentiality Guidelines

The authors of the business plan retain all rights to the plan regarding its use prior to and following the competition except as stated below. Due to the nature of the competition, judges, reviewers, staff, and the audience are not asked to sign non-disclosure statements.

All public sessions of the competition are open to the public. Any information discussed in the public sessions should be considered information that will enter the pubic realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality to any information presented in these sessions.

As the organizer of the competition, UTRGV may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes, and/or audiotapes of the presentations including the business plan. Students retain all proprietary rights.

Business Plan Guidelines

Plans should be submitted as a single, printable PDF file. Plans are limited to no more than 16 pages (not including a single cover page or single table of contents page). The 16 pages are limited to a maximum of ten pages of text and 6 pages of appendices.

Page format is single spacing with one inch top, bottom, left, and right margins, 12 point font. This line spacing and font requirements applies to the textual content of the document and not to titles and descriptions accompanying pictures, graphs, tables or worksheets.

Financial data should include a cash flow statement, income statement, and balance sheet. Include an explanation of the offering to investors/financial providers indicating how much money is required, how it will be used, and the proposed structure of the deal. The team is not required to reveal its designed deal, although the judges may ask questions about it.

Appendices should be included only when they support the findings, statements and observations in the plan. Therefore, the text portion of the plan (10 pages) must contain all pertinent information in a clear and concise manner.

Evaluation Process and Judging Criteria

The competition is intended to simulate the real world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early stage inventors and/or financial institutions. The judges function as early stage investors deciding on which venture they would most likely fund. The quality of the idea, the strength of the management team, and the clarity and persuasiveness of the written plan and oral presentation all influence the judges’ decisions. Ultimately, the winning team should be the team in which the judges would most likely invest their money.

Judging will take place through a two stage process. After submission, the business plans will be screened by a committee composed of UTRGV faculty and staff members. This committee will select the plans they believe are of sufficient quality for review by the panel of judges. The judges will determine which teams will be invited to participate in the final round.

In the final round each team will be given 10 minutes to present its business plan followed by a 10 minute question and answer session between the presenting team and the judges. These time limits will be strictly enforced.

Most of the judges of the UTRGV BPC are practicing entrepreneurs, involved in advising early stage entrepreneurs, or are bankers involved with funding decisions for early stage firms on an ongoing basis.

Judges will utilize a three part evaluation form. Part One (valued at 40%) is designed to help assess the written business plan focusing on key elements and the effectiveness of the summary financial data. Part Two (20%) assessed the poise and professionalism of the presentation. Part Three (40%) evaluates the perceived viability of the venture. This quantitative assessment is meant to complement, not replace, the qualitative evaluation of the judges in their determination of winners.

* Many of the UTRGV Rafael Munguia Business Plan Competition rules and regulations are similar or identical to those of the University of Texas Venture Labs Investment Competition. A major goal of the UTRGV BPC is to prepare students to compete successfully at regional, national, and international competitions, many of which follow a similar model.

** For additional information or to submit your intent to compete, please contact Dr. John Sargent (email -, phone: 956-665-8760, office: ECOBE 213-A). Dr. Pablo Rhi-Perez (, phone: 956-882-6597) and Ms. Sylvia Robles (, phone: 956-882-8992) serve as the primary contacts for students on the Brownsville campus.