In Search of Colorado Entrepreneurs

I am the Executive Director of the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado Denver. Each year we host an annual business plan competition that is open to all early stage Colorado companies. Over the years, the Business Plan Competition has grown from a narrowly focused University of Colorado Denver event to a statewide competition. Last year more than 76 entries were received. We will award more than $100,000 in cash and in-kind services to promote the development of successful new Colorado based companies.

Recent winners span a variety of Colorado industries, including: biotech (2006; Tensegrity Prosthetics); transportation engineering (2007; Apex Design); software services for the collection and analysis of special education data (2008; Developing Minds Software); and natural foods (2009; Olomomo Nut Company). All of these companies are progressing well, as are almost 100 others that have been formed by Bard Center alumni; they are enhancing economic development and furthering the entrepreneurial spirit throughout the region.

The deadline to enter our 9th Annual Bard Center for Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition is 11:59PM MST on Monday April 5, 2010.

In addition to our business plan competition, there are many other local opportunities for entrepreneurs such as the 22nd Annual Colorado Capital Conference (April 6th deadline to apply).

Biotechnology focused companies (medical device, pharma, biofuel, etc.) should apply to attend BioBootCamp (April 29 & 30; free to qualified entrants). The application deadline for BioBootCamp has been extended to April 15th but apply early to reserve your seat.

CleanTech (sustainability) focused companies should consider entering the Rocky Mountain Clean Tech Open.

If you are not ready to enter our business plan competition this year, I hope you will consider applying next year. RSVP to watch the competitors present in the morning or buy a ticket for our June 10 awards luncheon.

9th Annual Bard Center Business Plan Competition Rules:

  • Each team must complete an Executive Summary, Participant Waiver Agreement & Competition Application  on or before 11:59PM MST April 5, 2010 to enter the competition. Please submit documents as PDF files to
  • Executive Summaries must be based on original work: creating a new business or substantially improving an existing business. Applications for both for- and non-profit Colorado based companies are welcome.
  • Companies must be early stage: with < $150,000 in Angel or other equity funding received on the date of application. SBIR, STTR and/or other grant funding is OK.
  • Previous Bard Center business plan competition finalists may only enter with a new business idea.
  • Executive summaries should be concise, to the point, and clear (max 3 pages) with Proforma Financials. Executive Summaries without Financials or in excess of 3 pages will not be reviewed.
  • Key metrics used for scoring include potential viability of the company, innovation, scalability and overall quality of the written plan.
  • The Top 20 Finalists must be able to attend Elevator Pitch Night (May 25, 2010 from 5:30PM to 8 PM at the Bard Center which will be used in combination with the written business plan to select the Top 6 Finalists.
  • The Top 6 finalists must be able attend the June 10, 2010 Business Plan Competition.