TCU Neeley Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation | Values and Ventures® Business Plan Competition

ban participants guide
Click to see what entrepreneurship faculty says.

The TCU Neeley School of Business is proud to host the seventh annual undergraduate-only Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures® Business Plan Competition. This international competition epitomizes the TCU Neeley’s mission – to develop ethical leaders with a global perspective who help shape the business environment – by encouraging student entrepreneurs to develop for-profit enterprises that impact society in meaningful ways.

Values-Centered Enterprise
Ventures submitted for the Values and Ventures® competition must be for-profit values-centered enterprises. This is not a competition for nonprofit social enterprises. Examples include: for-profit businesses that also support the social or economic goals of customers, communities, employees and their families, suppliers and/or the environment. Consider contributions to sustainability, innovations in health and life sciences, innovations in energy, or opportunities for under-represented groups in business. See winning examples here.

Read our Values Statement to learn more.

Competition Timeline


October 15, 2018 Intent to Compete Opens 
February 27, 2019 Deadline for Application
March 1, 2019 Schools Selected/Notified
March 26, 2019 Deadline for Business Plans
April 5-6, 2019 Competition at TCU


Fees and Expenses
There is no fee for participation. TCU pays for lodging for each team (up to three rooms) for three days in a premier Fort Worth hotel, including all transportation to and from the hotel to TCU. Air/ground transportation to/from Fort Worth, Texas, is not included.


Grand Prize  $25,000
Second Place $15,000
Third Place $10,000
Founders Award $5,000
Honorable Mention (6) $2,500
Sly Entrepreneurship Award $2,500
Elevator Pitch 1st Place $1,250
Elevator Pitch 2nd Place $750
Elevator Pitch 3rd Place $500
Elevator Pitch Honorable Mention (3)      $250


Judges include entrepreneurs, investors, marketing and financial experts, venture capitalists, attorneys, accountants and successful business professionals from across the U.S.


Day One:

  • Concurrent Presentations: All teams grouped by flight. Top team from each flight advances.
  • Lightning Round: Second-place teams from each flight compete consecutively in lightning round. Top two advance.
  • Dinner and Announcement of Finalists.

Day Two:

  • Finalist Presentations: Consecutive presentations by all finalists.
  • Elevator Pitch Competition: Open to all non-finalist teams.
  • Bolin Innovation Forum: Transformational thought leaders share their innovative insights.
  • Awards Ceremony and Reception.


The TCU Neeley School of Business cannot guarantee the confidentiality of any concept presented. While every effort is made to safeguard submissions, neither judges, mentors, reviewers, faculty, staff nor observers are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Presentations are open to the public. By entering the competition, team members and participating universities agree that TCU Neeley may broadcast, videotape, photograph or otherwise duplicate the presentations made during the competition.

Online Application Process

  1. Submit your Intent to Compete Form beginning in October 2018.
  2. Submit Executive Summary of Venture Concept online by 5:00 p.m. CST, February 27, 2019.
  3. All venture concepts must meet eligibility criteria and abide by the Values and Ventures® Competition Rules below.
  4. Not all schools that apply will be invited as finalists to compete at TCU. The top invited schools will be selected based on the strength of the application, Executive Summary of the Venture Concept and short answer questions. 
  5. Multiple entries from a university or college are allowed. However, the maximum number of teams eligible to compete in April from each invited university or college is one.
  6. Schools selected to compete will be notified by March 1, 2019.
  7. Selected schools should submit complete Business Plan formatted according to the Values and Ventures® Competition Rules (see below) by 5:00 p.m. CST, March 26, 2019, to

Online Application Links (available here January 2019)

Competition Rules 

Eligibility – Undergraduate Students Only

  • U.S. Students: Only currently enrolled undergraduate college students or students who graduated in summer/fall 2018 are eligible.
  • International Students: Only currently enrolled undergraduate college students are eligible. Since some international students earn a bachelor’s degree in three years, those students may participate within their fourth year of university only.

Faculty Sponsorship
Teams must have a faculty/staff sponsor who will authenticate that the business plan was prepared under faculty supervision or as part of regular university coursework. 

Team Composition and Member Participation
Teams may include one to five members. Each team member must participate in the presentation. Team members may represent any discipline of study and are not limited to the business school.

Venture Guidelines
Each plan should be an organized and coherent plan of action for a new, for-profit venture (nonprofit ventures will be disqualified) that has a distinct values-driven component. Plans should indicate how prize winnings will be used to further the values component of the business.

  • Submissions must be received by 5 p.m. CST, March 26, 2019, electronically in a pdf format.
  • Plans must be for newly conceived ventures only.
  • Each competing university may submit one venture plan from one team only.
  • Venture plans must be the original work of the students who comprise the team.
  • The venture plan must be for a seed, start-up or early stage venture and must address the entire business concept. Emphasis should be placed upon the venture’s values-based component.
  • The TCU Neeley School of Business reserves the right to reject questionable business concepts or ineligible plans, including: nonprofits, buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for existing businesses proposing to expand in a different geographical region, spin-outs from existing corporations, consulting projects or analyses, and non-legal activity.

Submissions of Business Plans

  • Required Cover Page Information: Name of sponsoring university; name of proposed venture; name, phone and email of faculty/staff sponsor; name, phone and email of team leader; names, phone numbers and e-mails for other team members.
  • Table of Contents
  • Executive Summary: Limited to two pages.
  • Business Plan: Not to exceed five pages total.
  • Pro Forma Financial Statements: Not to exceed three pages total. 
  • Must be submitted via email in PDF format by 5:00 p.m. CST, March 26, 2019, to

Evaluation Criteria

  • Written Business Plan – 20% 
  • Values-Centered Enterprise – 20% 
  • Presentation – 20% 
  • Viability of Company – 40%

Full Pitch Presentations 
Full pitch presentations will be made at 30-minute intervals with the following time limits strictly enforced:

  • 12 minutes for presentation with visual aids
  • 10 minutes to respond to questions and answers from judges
  • 8 minutes for judges’ evaluations, discussions, breaks

Elevator Pitch Presentations
One member from each non-finalist team may participate in a 90-second elevator pitch on the second day of the competition. Click here for more information on the elevator pitch competition.

Matt Smilor, Director

Values and Ventures Program, Neeley Entrepreneurship Center
Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University