Harvard Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship - The New Venture Competition

Deadline
February 02, 2022

Opportunity ends:

Mar 31, 2022


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Location (s):

  • United States of America

Overview

The New Venture Competition is an annual student competition sponsored by Harvard Business School’s Rock Center for Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise Initiative.

Details

STUDENT BUSINESS TRACK: For new ventures whose economic returns drive substantial market impact.

The Business Track of the New Venture Competition provides a unique opportunity for students to put entrepreneurship principles into practice with an integrative learning experience. Whether you are a winner of prizes, go on to implement your proposed new venture idea, or simply take advantage of the learning and apply it later in your career, we guarantee the Competition will be an exciting, challenging, and rewarding experience. We look forward to understanding more about your idea, hearing your pitch, and providing you with some valuable feedback along the way.

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE TRACK: For new ventures that create pattern-breaking social change.

The Social Enterprise Track provides an opportunity for eligible graduate students across Harvard University to explore social entrepreneurship and test ideas for social innovation in a rigorous and supportive environment. Social Enterprise Track entries may include nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid model business plans. 

Opportunity is About:


Eligibility

Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

BUSINESS TRACK Eligibility

First, you must form a team around an idea for a business. Participating teams require at least one Harvard Business School MBA student who plays a primary role in the business and is present at the Super Saturday judging. The HBS student should be a part of the founding team and a significant equity holder, if equity has been distributed. RC teams (i.e. any team with a first-year, RC, student) may not enter the Student New Venture Competition with the same idea used for their FIELD III project. You may participate on a maximum of 2 teams, regardless of track.

ACCEPTABLE BUSINESS VENTURES

The objective of the Student New Venture Competition is to provide a meaningful learning experience for students who are interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial opportunity now or at some point in their careers.

The Competition is designed for contemplated and embryonic businesses. The Business Track of the NVC welcomes all ideas across all sectors. However, plans to create hedge funds, investments, private equities or venture capital funds are generally not eligible.

REQUIREMENTS FOR A TEAM

    • Business ideas may be entered in ONE track - either Business or Social Enterprise.
    • Students may participate on a maximum of two teams, regardless of track.
    • Participating teams in the Business track are required to have at least one Harvard Business School MBA student who is a co-founder and a significant equity holder, if equity has been distributed. This HBS student MUST be present at the Super Saturday judging.

A team may include students from any other school within Harvard, students from other universities and non-students.

  • The registration on the ReviewR platform should be done by the current HBS student as the lead co-founder.
  • Previous winners, runners-up and crowd favorites can not compete with the same business idea in following years, unless it is the alumni track. They may enter the Competition again with a new business idea.
  • Any team that did not win a cash prize in the previous year's Competition may compete again with the same business idea - be prepared to show significant growth.
  • The limit for seed capital raised is $1,500,000.
  • The limit in revenue generated is $2,000,000.

CONFIDENTIALITY

The only individuals who will have access to your submission pitch decks (in addition to the Rock Team) will be the assigned judges. These judges are HBS alumni, entrepreneurs and investors who have agreed to maintain confidentiality of all submissions. We have asked them to treat your work product with the same care and respect for confidentiality. We also ask them to remove themselves from judging your plan if they do have a real conflict of interest. Feel free to mark your pitch deck—or particular piece of it—as “confidential,” or to exclude any information you regard as truly proprietary. If you are concerned about any particular VC firm—because they have backed a direct competitor—feel free to request that we not put a judge from that firm on your panel.

Note that the short description of your venture which you include with your entry form may be used in public documentation relating to the Competition.

ABIDING BY COMMUNITY VALUES AND ACADEMIC POLICIES

As members of the HBS Community, students agree to abide by our shared Community Values of respect for others, honesty and integrity, and accountability for personal behavior.

In particular, students should be aware that it is not permissible for conduct “surveys” of companies who are potential competitors for your proposed venture under the guise of an “HBS student project.” you must be honest and open about your intentions, and if you believe your honesty may inhibit people from speaking with you, that should serve as further evidence of the importance of adhering to the principle.

Similarly, if you are working on your plan with any “outsider” from academia or industry, you also have a responsibility to respect their intellectual property and to treat any information received from them as confidential.

For ECs: Multiple students in multiple courses working on the same project naturally raises issues related to ownership of the work product and attribution of efforts for grading. While the business plan entry itself is not graded as part of the competition, students are nonetheless directed to be sensitive to the issues raised by such projects. 

Note that any student projects or pitch deck submissions that are found to be in violation if these requirements will be disqualified from the Competition and students may be subject to further disciplinary action.

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE TRACK Eligibility

The Social Enterprise Track is open to students in good standing who are enrolled in a full-time graduate degree program at Harvard University. Each team must meet both of the two following qualifications:

  1. INCLUDE AT LEAST ONE PERSON WHO MEETS ONE OF THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA:
    • HBS MBA student
    • Current Center for Public Leadership Graduate Fellow; or Adrian Cheng Fellow (graduate students only).
    • Full-time Harvard graduate student enrolled in one of the following courses during the academic year in which the Competition is held. * For the 2021 Competition, we are making case-by-case exceptions for part-time students due to COVID-19. Before registering, please contact se@hbs.edu with your specific circumstances, for evaluation of your eligibility.
  2. BE COMPOSED OF A MAJORITY OF GRADUATE STUDENTS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY, AND THESE MEMBERS MUST HAVE MEANINGFUL ROLES IN THE VENTURE AND THE COMPETITION PRESENTATION.
  1. It is recommended that students participate on only one team. Any students interested in participating on more than one team should contact the Social Enterprise Initiative before entering the Competition.

    RC teams (i.e. any team with a first-year, RC, student) may not enter the New Venture Competition with the same idea used for their Field III project.

PLAN REQUIREMENTS

The Social Enterprise Track seeks business plans that meet the following criteria:

  • A project which has as a key component of its activities the creation of social value in a significant and sustained manner.
  • The Competition is designed for projects that are in either the concept or pilot phase, meaning those that have not yet started regular operations and/or those that are testing initial concepts through basic pilot operations. Eligibility will be reviewed by the Review Committee based on the parameters outlined below and its decisions are final.
    • Revenues or donations since inception (either earned or contributed) are generally $100,000 or less
    • Operation began no earlier than February 1 of the year prior to the Competition
    • Full-time equivalent employee head count is no greater than 1.0
    • Project is a standalone effort and operates independently of existing organizations (including, but not limited to, resources, governance, management, staff, and infrastructure)
  • The project can be a nonprofit, for-profit or hybrid model.
  • The project can only be entered in one track of the New Venture Competition (e.g. Social Enterprise or Business).

LIVING WITHIN THE COMMUNITY STANDARDS & STUDENT HONOR CODE

Multiple students in multiple courses working on the same project naturally raises issues related to ownership of the work product and attribution of efforts for grading. While the business plan entry itself is not graded as part of the Competition, students are nonetheless directed to be sensitive to the issues raised by such projects. Specifically, if the business plan (or research products that underpin it) will be submitted to more than one faculty member as part of an HBS paper or project for credit, students must complete the form for “Required Disclosure Of Multiple Papers/Presentations” to the various faculty members involved. (This form is available in Spangler Center.) Note that any student projects and business plan submissions that are found to be in violation of these requirements will be disqualified from the Competition, and students may be subject to further disciplinary action, under the Community Standards.


Dates:

Deadline: February 02, 2022

Program Ends: March 31, 2022


Cost/funding for participants:

BUSINESS TRACK Prizes & Benefits

  • WINNER $75,000
  • RUNNER-UP$25,000

IN KIND PRIZES

  • AIRTABLE - Airtable works like a spreadsheet but gives you the power of a database to organize anything with a free account as credit.
  • AMAZON WEB SERVICES ACTIVATE CREDIT - The AWS Activate program provides startups with the resources they need to quickly get started on AWS, including credits that can be used towards AWS products, services, training, and support.
  • HUBSPOT FOR STARTUPS - HubSpot for Startups offer their program designed specifically to help startups grow and scale better, and faster - at a startup-friendly cost!
  • GOOGLE CLOUD FOR STARTUPS - All semi-finalist teams will be eligible for the Spark Package and will receive $20,000 in Google Cloud Platform and Firebase Credits*, good for 12 months.
  • SKETCH - Sketch is a design toolkit built to help you create your best work — from your earliest ideas, through to final artwork.
  • LEGAL SERVICES - Foley and Hoag will provide in-kind legal services for the two winning teams that will equate to $37,000 in services and will be available for the winning teams to use for up to one year from the time of the 2014 Competition.
  • LONG-TERM SPACE IN THE HARVARD INNOVATION LAB - Awardees in the New Venture Competition are extended an offer to have one of the limited number of dedicated space allocations in the Harvard Innovation Lab. Awarded space will be to Harvard affiliated startup ventures for a 12 week period during the summer.

SOCIAL ENTERPRISE TRACK Prizes & Benefits

  • GRAND PRIZE $75,000 in cash, plus in-kind services
  • RUNNER-UP$25,000 in cash, plus in-kind services

PETER M. SACERDOTE GRAND-PRIZE AND RUNNER-UP PRIZE: The Sacerdote Prizes were initially established in 2003 by Peter M. Sacerdote (MBA 1964) to encourage more HBS graduates to become involved in social enterprises and to support their efforts.

The social enterprise track of the student New Venture Competition offers a number of resources and benefits:

  • A SERIES OF WORKSHOPS & OFFICE HOURS covering topics such as how to develop a social enterprise business plan, identifying the market for social ventures, financial modeling, pitching and presenting, and perspectives from practitioners and entrepreneurs; and mixers to facilitate multi-disciplinary collaboration and team-building.
  • THE CATALYST TO DEVELOP A BUSINESS PLAN & EXECUTIVE SUMMARY SYNOPSIS, and for semi-finalists and finalist teams the opportunity to present.
  • FEEDBACK FROM EXPERT JUDGES at multiple stages in the process to help strengthen and develop ideas within the competition and beyond. Past judges have come from leading social sector organizations such as ACCION International, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, Echoing Green, Invested Development, and The Bridgespan Group.
  • FAST-TRACKING & IN-KIND AWARDS for winners and runners-up, in addition to financial awards totaling $75,000.
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