Formerly known as the G. Steven Burrill Business Plan Competition, the New York Times lists the event among top campus competitions. The competition began in 1998 as the UW TEC Prize.

The Business Plan Competition welcomes students — at the undergraduate and graduate levels and from all degree programs — to compete for cash prizes and services from incubators, accelerator programs, and other campus partners. The organizers and facilitators give students detailed feedback in the competition to help them identify and manage market risks, technological risks, and risks to ventures stemming from team composition and organizational design.

Outside reviewers with relevant experience and insights will evaluate the plans and pitches both online and in person to determine whether students’ proposed
a credible plan of action. Evidence of market need, demand, and consumer acceptance will be factors in the judging.


Registration due

Friday, February 23, 2018 online here.

To enter, students should: (1) register on the event website and (2) complete an entry form.

The registration form includes contact information for a team leader along with a basic description of the proposed venture. A team leader may invite other students to joint their team.

  • An overview of the product or service;
  • The target market and a description of the customers who might value the products/services offered; and
  • Advantages this business will have over the competition.

Business plans due (registrants)

Friday, March 23, 2018 online

The technology transfer agent for UW-Madsion, WARF, will provide a courtesy review of potential intellectual property issues to teams ahead of the final presentations coming due to help safeguard students' potential intellectual property rights.

Pitch decks due (registrants)

Friday, April 20, 2018 online

To ensure compatibility with technology provided in presentation rooms throughout Grainger Hall, please submit Microsoft PowerPoint or pdf files only. Students should also bring a copy of the presentation on a USB memory stick on competition day as a safeguard against technical issues.

Competition days (public invited)

Thursday and Friday, April 26 and April 27, 2018 at the Wisconsin School of Business.

Eligibility & Rules

The Wisconsin School of Business Business Plan Competition (“contest,” “competition”) provides students an opportunity to develop and pitch a startup idea to a panel of outside judges  for cash prizes.

The competition is open to students enrolled in the current academic year. Students who graduate in the middle of the academic year (December) are eligible to participate if they are willing to pitch their venture on the competition day at the Wisconsin School of Business.

Only undergraduate, graduate, professional and students with special status enrolled at UW–Madison may participate in the competition. At least one student must be a member of the management team, although non-students may serve as members of the management team and participate in planning the venture. Only students from UW-Madison, however, may participate in the final presentation and receive cash awards from the University.

Students’ venture idea plans and presentations must represent the work of the students on the team. The student(s) retain the rights to the plans regarding its use prior to and following the contest. The plans may not contain any knowingly false information about the background, experience, or education of the team or the performance of the venture’s proposed or existing products/services.

While a student may compete individually, he or she may submit only one plan to the competition. We strongly discourage students from forming teams larger than 5 people in total.

The WSB Business Plan Competition is for ventures and proposed ventures initiated by, led by, or owned by students.

Student presentations are open to the public, and students are encouraged to use discretion when sharing technical information about their products and services in public venues to help protect any intellectual property rights they might have.

The competition administrators reserve the right to remove a student(s) who enter business plans for ventures or proposed ventures that are offensive, illegal, and/or that are inconsistent with the values of the UW-Madison.

The determination of eligibility by the competition administrators and the allocation of prize money by judges are final.

Competition Support

The Wisconsin School of Business | Business Plan Competition is supported by campus partners and community organizations:

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the competition, please contact:

Michael Williams
Weinert Center, Wisconsin School of Business
975 University Avenue, Grainger 5110 
Madison, WI 53706-1691

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