Neeley Entrepreneurship Center | Values and Ventures® Business Plan Competition

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The Neeley School of Business at TCU is proud to host the sixth annual undergraduate-only Richards Barrentine Values and Ventures® Business Plan Competition. This international competition epitomizes the Neeley School’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. Winning examples are showcased on our website.   

Read our Values Statement to learn more.

Competition Timeline

October 2016  Intent to Compete registration opens 
March 3, 2017 Executive Summary of Venture Concept, short answer questions and application (Deadline for application)
March 7, 2017 Schools selected to compete notified
April 7, 2017 Business Plan (Deadline for Submission)
April 21-22,2017 Competition on TCU Campus

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
Elevator Pitch 1st Place $1,000
Elevator Pitch 2nd Place $500
Elevator Pitch 3rd Place $250

Judges include entrepreneurs, investors, marketing and financial experts, venture capitalists, attorneys, accountants and more.


Day One:

  • Concurrent presentations by all teams, grouped by flight, to determine top two teams
  • Consecutive presentations by second-place teams from each flight (lightning round) 
  • Dinner and announcement of finalists (first-place teams from each flight and top two teams from lightning round)

Day Two:

  • Consecutive presentations by all finalists
  • Elevator Pitch Competition for non-finalist teams
  • Bolin Innovation Forum
  • Awards Ceremony and Reception


The Neeley School of Business at TCU 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 the Neeley School of Business at TCU 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 2016
  2. Submit Executive Summary of Venture Concept online by March 3, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. CST.
  3. All venture concepts must meet eligibility criteria and abide by the Values and Ventures Competition Rules.
  4. If necessary, the top invited schools will be selected to compete based on the strength of the Executive Summary of the Venture Concept.  Schools selected to compete will be notified by March 7, 2017.
  5. Submit your complete Business Plan formatted according to the Values and Ventures Competition Rules by April 7, 2017 at 5:00pm CST to

Online Application Links (available here February 2017)

Competition Rules 

Eligibility – Undergraduate Students Only

  • U.S. Students: Only currently enrolled undergraduate college students or students who graduated in summer/fall 2015 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 pm CST, April 7, 2017, 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 Neeley School of Business at TCU reserves the right to reject questionable business concepts. Plans NOT eligible for the competition: 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 5pm CST, April 7, 2017 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 will be invited to 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