2020 Competition Specifics

Though future details may change, you may find these helpful.

  • Competing students are encouraged to attend a series of Resource Nights to be held on Wednesday evenings, January 15, 2020 through March 4, 2020. The sessions will feature community leaders and faculty members addressing specific topics relevant to the writing and presentation of a social venture plan. These sessions may be taken for credit as BUS 3682: Social Venture Planning.

  • Students planning to participate are asked to complete and submit the Intent to Participate form by February 11, 2020 to the Center for Applied Learning (

  • The deadline to enter the competition is March 13, 2020. Each student team will submit an electronic version of their written plan, including financial statements, to CAL ( by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 13, 2020. Each team should also send a one-page executive summary as a separate file. Here is a template for the written plan, indicating what things each plan should cover. Teams will also submit a signed copy of the Social Venture Plan Competition entry form (hard copy, or scanned and emailed to ).

  • The written plans will be read and rated by external reviewers (not SPU faculty members). These readers will exercise their judgment as to how well a plan meets the competition criteria. In early to mid-April, students will receive feedback on their plans, including suggestions for what works and what areas should be given additional attention in preparation for the Showcase Round. The written plan ratings will be weighted and comprise 50 percent of the final score potential.

  • Student teams will attend a coaching session with a business or non-profit community volunteer. All teams will send one or more team members to this coaching event, unless other arrangements have been made. During the coaching session, teams will present their project to their coach, be asked questions pertaining to the judging criteria, and receive advice on how to present or “pitch” their project during the Showcase Round. Coaching will take place on April 15, 2020 from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the SPU Ames Library.

  • All teams will proceed to the Showcase Round. Each team will be assigned a tabletop area to be used for their display. Team members must staff the exhibit during the entire Showcase. This is the opportunity to pitch the project to judges and the SPU community. The Showcase Round will be held on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. in upper Gwinn Commons. Scores from the judges at the Showcase will be weighted and comprise the other 50 percent of the final score potential for each team. Winners will be determined when the combined scores from the written projects and the Showcase are tallied. Winners and prizes will be announced immediately following the Showcase.

  • The team with the highest combined score will win the Herbert B. Jones Grand Prize ($5,000). A runner-up prize ($3,000) and three honorable mention prizes ($2,000) will be awarded to the teams with the next four highest cumulative point totals. The Donald B. Summers People’s Choice Award ($1,000) will go to the team that receives the most votes from students, faculty and staff who attend the Showcase event.

this year's sponsors:

Social Venture sponsors