Rules & Guidelines
Stu Clark Investment Competition 


Ventures must intend to be operating companies with corporate structures and financial statements that reflect real operating revenues and expenses. This is intended to exclude investment vehicles, partnerships, franchises, licensing and other pass-through entities where returns are measured for investment value versus operating earnings.

The competition focuses on new, independent ventures in the seed, start-up or early growth stages. In addition to what is outlined in the above paragraph, generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, roll-ups, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchise based outlets, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area and spin-outs from existing corporations. Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is encouraged assuming there has been no previous commercialization. Key in these types of ventures is demonstrating significant added value to the technology through the efforts of the management team.

All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital thus it is expected that their business plan and presentation will be investor ready.


Ventures, and their base concepts, may compete for only one season (academic year) in the Stu Clark Investment Competition. Ventures that have generated revenue or raised capital from sources other than the members of the student team or their immediate friends and family before the current academic year are excluded. However, awards and grants received prior to the current academic year are not considered to be revenue under the guidelines of this competition. SCIC reserves the right to request copies of any funding agreements.


The business venture may be developed under direct faculty supervision. The faculty advisor must, on behalf of the sponsoring university, attest to the eligibility of the team, their adherence to the rules and guidelines and acknowledge potential penalties for violations and infractions. Ideally, the venture will be prepared for credit in a regularly scheduled course or as an independent study. The executive summary and business plan must represent the original work of members of the Student Team (see below), however the core invention itself may have been developed by an external party as long as they are working with the Student Team in some capacity (such as advisory board).


This competition is primarily designed for graduate students, meaning those students in Masters and PhD programs, however their may be involvement from others as outlined below:

  • Student Team - There is no limit to the size of the Student Team that works on the project including the executive summary and business plan. The Student Team can be comprised of students in PhD, Masters or Undergrad programs however Masters and PhD students must comprise the majority of the team (> 50%).
  • Presenting Team - There can be no more than 5 students presenting at the SCIC competition, and must be a subset of the Student Team. This Presenting Team can be comprised of students in PhD, Masters or Undergrad programs however Masters and PhD students must comprise the majority of the Presenting Team (>50%). Each member of the Presenting team must take an active role, i.e. they must deliver part of the presentation and / or participate fully in the question and answer portion of the competition.
  • Faculty Advisors -  While a Student Team may receive guidance from many faculty members, the business strategy must have been developed by the Student Team. Further, the SCIC allows no more than two Faculty Advisors to be present in the feedback sessions at the SCIC.
  • Other Students - While students in Certificate Programs or Post-docs are specifically excluded from being a part of the Student Team and Presenting Team, these individuals may be part of the venture's management team and / or advisory board and may participate in planning the venture. However, these Other Students cannot participate in the SCIC competition and its related competition events.

Non-presenting team members, assistants or helpers may attend the competition as observers but cannot participate in any competition related events, e.g. Idea Pitch, Logo Competition, or attend judges feedback sessions. Any exceptions to the above Team Composition rules must be in the best interests of fair competition and agreed to unanimously by the SCIC Competition Committee.


The competition is for student-created, managed and owned ventures. The guidelines are:

  • Students played a major role in conceiving the venture and /or primary business strategy, have key management roles and own (or expect to own) significant equity in the venture within 6 months. 
  • Significant equity is defined as having 50 % or more of the equity allocated to the student management team and key advisers of the venture. 
  • The objective of this rule is to exclude ventures formed and managed by those that are not part of the Student Team and have only token student representation.

All members of the Student Team and Presenting Team must have been students at some point during the current academic year, which in most universities is defined as September 1, 2017 - August 31, 2018. Students are not allowed to compete at the SCIC competition in multiple academic years using the same venture and / or business plan.


Deadline for executive summaries is Friday January 26, 2018.

Executive Summary Rules:

  • Two page MAXIMUM in length. Any excess over the 2 page limit will not be reviewed.
  • PDF format.
  • Format is 1 1/2 line spacing with 1 inch top, bottom, left and right margins and 12-point font.
  • Line spacing and font requirement applies to the textual content of the document and not to titles and descriptions accompanying pictures, graphs, tables or worksheets.

Executive Summary Guidelines:

  • Executive summaries should include but are not limited to:
    • Magnitude of the problem
    • Brief outline of the solution
    • Market validation
    • Financial projections
    • Scalability


After review of the executive summaries, 16 teams will be chosen by February 5, 2018 for the competition. These 16 competing teams must submit their business plans by February 23, 2018.

Business Plan Rules:

  • Must be received on February 23, 2018
  • Must be submitted as a single document in “printable” PDF format.
  • Must be no more than 21 pages in length with the following individual section limitations:
    • 1 page - cover page
    • 1 page - table of contents
    • 2 page - executive summary
    • 10 pages  - main report
    • 6 pages - appendices
    • 1 page - citations
  • Must be formatted in 1½ line spacing with 1 inch top, bottom, left and right margins, and 12-point font. This line spacing and font requirement applies to the textual content of the document and not to titles and descriptions accompanying pictures, graphs, tables or worksheets.
  • All pages should be numbered.
  • Cover page must include venture name, Student Team names and university affiliation
  • If the business plan has more than 21 pages, the extra pages will not be reviewed.

Business Plan Guidelines:

  • Executive Summary
    • Standalone overview of the business plan
  • Magnitude of the Problem
    • Is this a major problem?
    • Is it local, national or global?
  • Outline of the Solution
    • Does the product solve the problem?
    • Is the product protected (IP)?
    • Status (proof of concept / prototype)?
  • Market Validation / Competition
    • Is there a clear market need?
    • Will customers pay a premium?
    • Competitive landscape
  • Operational Plan
    • Actual intent to set-up operations?
    • Viable plan to set up operations?
    • Ongoing operational capability
  • Marketing & Distribution
    • Effective marketing strategy
    • Effective advertising strategy
    • Clear distribution channels / strategy
  • Management Team
    • Is team experienced and capable?
    • Able to overcome risks / changes?
    • Proper Board or Advisory Board?
  • Financial Viability / Scalability
    • Attractive revenue / expense margins
    • Realistic start-up costs
    • Scalable product or service
  • Financial Projections / Returns
    • No cash flow or balance sheet issues
    • Realistic funding / capital structure
    • Attractive investor returns
  • Others
    • Intellectual property
    • Timeline for implementation
    • Realistic
    • Professional
    • Convincing strategy 


The presentation format is 15 minutes presentation followed by 15 minutes Q & A. Each member of the team present at the competition must participate fully during the formal presentation of the plan.

Teams may not observe other teams present in their division until after they have presented their own plan.

Each team needs to supply its own PC-compatible laptop computer and is responsible for assuring it works with the provided audio-visual equipment in advance of their presentation.

Props such as a prototype model, or an app on an iPhone are allowed for the semi-finals and final championship round presentation.

SCIC does NOT supply presentation powerpoint clickers for presenting teams so please ensure to bring your own.

Teams may videotape or record their own presentations but cannot record presentations of competition teams without the express written release of all team members and the attending faculty adviser.


1 minute pitch followed by 1.5 min Q & A. No visual aids or props are allowed.


30 second logo explanation by team member followed by 1 min Q & A.


Teams requiring non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) should not participate.

All sessions of the competition are open to the public and may be broadcast to interested persons through media which may include radio, television and the Internet.

Any data or information discussed or divulged throughout the competition should be considered information that will enter the public domain.

The organizer of the Stu Clark Investment Competition may make photocopies, photographs, video recordings and/or audio recordings of the presentations including the business plan and other documents, charts, media or other material prepared for use in presentation at SCIC.


If at any time a team withdraws or does not compete in a competition after accepting a participation bid, the team and university will be subject to disqualification from competing in the SCIC for that year and the following year - a two-year ban.


Adherence to the rules and guidelines set forth in this document is critical to the success and credibility of the SCIC. To that end, SCIC has set up a due diligence process:

  1. All teams along with individual participants and faculty advisers must attest to conforming to all rules and guidelines.
  2. Individual faculty advisers may bring to the attention of the Competition Directors questions regarding potential rules and guideline violations.  It is the responsibility of the Competition Director to complete a timely review of the issue and report any suspected violations.

All reported issues will be reviewed and if deemed necessary penalties will be imposed upon the identified team and its sponsoring university.


Teams are encouraged to review award criteria, categories and amounts for the SCIC. In most cases, distinction is made between cash and non-cash awards along with accompanying restrictions or agreements. It is the responsibility of the participating team to fully review the award structure including possible payout or investment requirements.


  • Based on an allotment of points over the weekend as follows:

  1st Place  2nd Place  3rd Place  4th Place 
 Championship Round





 Idea Pitch





 Logo Competition





 Semi Final Presentation





Teams must be present at the competition’s scheduled closing award event. Failure to attend will result in forfeiture of all awards and prizes secured during the competition