Rules & Guidelines
The Stu Clark New Venture Championships: Graduate Edition represents a prestigious, international academic competition designed to mimic the real world process of starting a new venture while rewarding innovative thinking and entrepreneurial spirit.

The competition is for graduate students to gain real experience while developing and growing new ventures based on the student created, managed or owned ventures.

Just by participating we guarantee you'll get at least $1,000, but more than that, the expertise and feedback you will receive from our leading industry expert judges is more than money can buy.

Throughout this 2-day competition teams will compete in an elevator pitch, logo pitch and business plan presentation for more than $60, 000 and will evaluate the feasibility, market opportunity and business model of a new venture.



1. Teams must be 1 - 5 students
2. This competition is for full time or part time graduate level students enrolled in the current academic year
3. Majority graduate students although teams with a minority of undergraduates may participate
4. Students from all graduate programs (not just MBA's) and PhD's are eligible to participate
5. It is recommended for teams to have a faculty advisor however it is not required


1. Students are not allowed to compete at the Stu Clark New Venture Championships: Graduate Edition in multiple academic years using the same venture / business plan
2. All teams along with individual participants and faculty advisors (if applicable) must attest to all rules and guidelines
3. This document sets out guidelines to capture these goals and not every circumstance can be anticipated. The Competition Director reserves the right to disqualify or penalize any team that violates the rules, regulations or the spirit of the competition
4. Ventures cannot be 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 exisitng corporations
5. Licensing technologies from Universities or research labs is encouraged assuming there has been no previous commercialization 


Process for all applications:

1. Fill out application via Startup Tree coming soon
2. Create a 1-2 page executive summary
3. Submit application form via Startup Tree by Wednesday January 20, 2021 (11:59 PM CST)

Executive summaries should include:

  • 1 - 2 pages in length
  • PDF format
  • 1.5 spacing with 12 point font
  • Magnitude of the problem
  • Outline of the solution
  • Market validation
  • Financial projections
  • Scalability


  • Application and executive summaries due via Startup Tree by Wednesday January 20, 2021 (11:59 PM CST)
  • 15 minute presentation hard stop
  • 15 minute Q & A hard stop
  • Teams may not observe other teams present in their division until after they have presented
  • PowerPoint presentations will already be loaded on the computer provided by the venue
  • Team will be required to send  their complete PowerPoint presentation by Thursday, March 11, 2021 (4:00 PM CST)
  • Props (prototypes, iPhone apps etc.) are allowed in the presentation
  • Teams may only videotape or record their own presentation
  • Only members who actively present are able to participate in the Q & A discussion


  • 1 minute pitch hard stop
  • 1.5 minute Q & A hard stop
  • No visual aids, cue cards or props allowed

What is an elevator pitch? One presenter pitches their business venture in a concise but thorough and engaging way


  • 30 second pitch hard stop
  • 1 minute Q & A hard stop
  • Logos will be displayed on a poster board on stage. Please ensure when sending in your logo the preferred files are vector files (.ai,.pdf, .eps) in CMYK or Pantone, or raster file (.tif, .pdf, .jpg, .png, .psd) at 20” wide at minimum 75 ppi in CMYK

What is a logo pitch? A logo pitch is where one presenter explains how their logo relates to their venture with their logo displayed on a poster board on the stage. Prior to the competition it is required for all teams to send in a high resolution logo


16 teams will be chosen and notified by Monday February 1, 2021 regarding their acceptance

Written business plans from accepted teams are due to by Wednesday March 3, 2021 (11:59 PM CST)


  • Received by Wednesday March 3, 2021 (11:59 PM CST) 
  • Submitted in PDF format
  • Number all pages
  • Cover page to include venture name, student names and University
  • Cannot be longer than 21 pages following these limitations below 
  • 1 page - Cover Page
  • 1 page - Table of Contents
  • 1 - 2 pages - Executive Summary
  • Up to 10 pages - Main Report
  • Up to 6 pages - Appendices
  • 1 page - Citations

Written 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  and 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


As this competition is open to the public, data or information discussed or divulged throughout the competition is considered information that can enter the public domain therefore teams requiring non-disclosure agreements (NDA’s) should not participate

Any footage of the event will be used for marketing, PR, promotional materials


  • All prizes are in Canadian dollars
  • The represented University is the only entity that can receive payment from the University of Manitoba, there are NO exceptions to this policy
  • Teams are encourages to consult with their University regarding their disbursement police
  • In addition to any prize money won, each team is guaranteed $1,000 to help defray travel costs and accommodations