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Official Rules

About the Competition

Official Rules

Guidelines for Business Plan

Guidelines for Technology Commercialization Plan



Abstract and Resumes

Participants Page

Official Competition Rules

The Competition awards prizes based on the following:


Open to University of Southern California current graduate or undergraduate students, faculty, and researchers. Faculty and researchers should have at least one graduate or undergraduate student on their team. Team members from outside the university are permitted if the lead entrepreneur is a USC person. Participants may submit product, service, or technology businesses. You may submit under only one category: 1) Business Plan Competition or 2) Technology Commercialization Plan Competition

To qualify, an applicant must:

  • Be a USC graduate or undergraduate student, or faculty member/researcher with students on your team
  • For the All-comers Business Plan Competition, applicant must start the business within six months of receiving a prize from this competition.
  • For the Technology Commercialization Plan Competition, applicant must have a USC technology in an advanced stage of development, more specifically, a prototype.
  • Have an industry mentor that your team has chosen. If we have people we know in your area who might mentor your team, we will let you know. However, it is your team's responsibility to find a mentor.
  • Certify that the proposed venture is not a currently operating business or a subsidiary of an existing business.
  • FILL OUT THE ONLINE APPLICATION. YOU WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED A PARTICIPANT UNLESS THIS APPLICATION IS COMPLETED AND SUBMITTED ON TIME. The application must be submitted BEFORE we will accept an Abstract from you. Both the application and abstract/resumes must be received at techcenter@marshall.usc.edu by January 31, 2008 at midnight to be considered for the competition. No exceptions!

The business plan or commercialization plan must:

  • Contain an executive summary of no more than two pages single spaced and a business plan or commercialization plan that does not exceed 20 pages in length single spaced, excluding executive summary, cover page, table of contents, financial statements and appendices.
  • Be written in English
  • Follow all specifications posted on the Guidelines page.
  • Be submitted by midnight Sunday, April 6 to be considered for the competition

Email Instructions:
All email submissions of files must be labeled as follows to be considered. If you have a team, always use the lead entrepreneur's last name in all submissions.

Business Plan Abstract and Final Business Plan
[applicant last name]_BP_abstract
[applicant last name]_BP

Commercialization Plan Abstract and Final Commercialization Plan
[applicant last name]_CP_abstract
[applicant last name]_CP

How to Submit: Submit ONE pdf file of your entire business plan including all financials and appendices.
This file must not exceed 2 MB in size.

Basis for Judging:

Quality and persuasiveness of plan, quality of team and intent to launch, market validation,
quality of business model.


All-comers Business Plan Competition: $25,000 in seed capital.
Technology Commercialization Plan Competition: $25,000 in seed capital and six months free rent in the LA County Technology Business Center with access to all services. Berth in the DFJ statewide business plan competition for a $250,000 prize (generally open only to technology-based plans)

Additional prizes may be announced. The prizes will be awarded at the Marcia Israel Awards Banquet on April 24, 2008.


Award winners will be expected to report on their progress and the dispensation of their seed capital during the first two years after receiving their awards. This will be accomplished through a brief written report and a presentation to a class in the Greif Entrepreneurship Center.