Shameless Self-Promotion

I serve as the Executive Director of the Bard Center for Entrepreneurship at the Business School of the University of Colorado Denver. Each year we host an annual Business Plan Competition. This year we are making a number of important changes to the competition, most importantly, new prize categories and opening it up to everyone in Colorado.

The Bard Center Business Plan Competition—the premier academic business plan competition in Colorado—seeks to promote the development of high-caliber business plans, recognize the most outstanding plans with cash and in-kind awards from area businesses, and encourage the creation of new businesses. Over the years the Business Plan Competition has grown from a smaller University of Colorado Denver focused event to a statewide competition that includes plans from throughout Colorado. Historically cash and in-kind awards totaling nearly $100,000 have been awarded annually. This year the competition is moving to new a level, increasing prize awards and categories of prizes. Promotion of the competition will also greatly increase. Our vision is to significantly grow the competition year by year until it is the leading business plan competition in the Rocky Mountain Region.

The six best aspiring entrepreneurs and their teams are chosen among all of the applicants to compete in a public competition. The Bard Center Business Plan Competition seeks to promote the creation and development of high caliber businesses by recognizing the most outstanding plans for early stage Colorado Companies with cash and in-kind awards from area businesses.

When: Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Where:Grand Hyatt-Downtown Denver (1750 Welton Street)

  • 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Six Finalists Present (free & open to public!)
  • 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Luncheon Keynote
  • 1:00 – 1:30 p.m. Awards Ceremony

Historical Prizes*: • 1st Place $10,000 • 2nd Place $5,000 • 3rd Place $2,500  • 4-6th Place $1,000  •Best Bioscience $5,000 • Best Nonprofit $5,000 • Best International $1,000 • In-kind over $80,000 in services and support

* New Industry Specific Awards are actively being solicited.

Eligibility: The Bard Center was founded in part to promote economic development in Denver and the Rocky Mountain region. This competition is for early stage Colorado based companies. You must not have been a Bard Center business plan winner in prior years. You must not have received Angel or Venture Capital funding to date. The Bard Center solicits the best business plans from community members as well as faculty, staff, students, alumni, at all Colleges & Universities in Colorado. You do not need to be a college graduate to compete.

Application Process: Executive summaries are due on April 16, 2009. The top 20 businesses will be asked to submit full business plans by May 7, 2009. The top 6 businesses will publicly promote their businesses at our June 10, 2009 Business Plan Competition.

Important Dates:

March 12: Meet a judge, Business Plan Competition process discussed – Chris Onan, Appian Ventures

March 19: How to write an Exec Summary – TBD

April 9: Preparing Financials for your Exec Summary – TBD

April 16: Executive Summary Due, Competition Application Due

April 23: Business Plan Structure & Scoring – TBD

May 1: Top 20 Competitors invited to submit full Business Plans

May 7: Business Plans due – (only Top 20 business plans invited to submit)

May 14: Elevator Pitch Practice – TBD

May 28: Notify Top 6 finalists

June 3: Finalist Pitch Practice, Bard Center, all day, hosted by Business Catapult

June 10: Business Plan Competition

Testimonial: As an aspiring entrepreneur going through the MBA program at UC Denver, the Bard Center gave birth to my second career and life. Not only did the Bard Center provide the tools and knowledge to become a successful entrepreneur, it also provided a great launch pad for my business concept, MetroBoom. Participating in the 2004 Bard Center Annual Business Plan Competition changed everything for me. Winning the first place honor served as “the wind behind the sail” my business concept needed for an ideal launch. The cash prize of $10,000 combined with over $15,000 worth of donated services from in-kind sponsors were extremely valuable resources. All the press and exposure I received from winning the competition gave MetroBoom the right type of attention and credibility it needed as a start-up. The Bard Center was also a great source for networking. I have met intelligent, motivated, and caring entrepreneurs and supporters of entrepreneurship. Without the help from the people I met through the Bard Center, it would not have been possible for me to launch MetroBoom. And, the support hasn’t slowed down since my business opened. The networking opportunities still provide me with great sources for business leads and knowledge. The administrators, faculty members, students, board members, and alumnae provide immense amount of support for MetroBoom. They all serve as our ambassadors. The financial, emotional, and functional support from Bard Center motivates young entrepreneurs like myself to take the leap of faith into entrepreneurship with confidence and pride.”

– Jung Park, MetroBoom, 2004 Business Plan Competition Winner – still going strong in 2009:

Please contact me if you are interested in attending, participating in or sponsoring our competition.