Turn Your Business Idea Into Reality!

A key step to translating a great idea into a profitable business is the creation of a professional business plan. Good business plans address the variables surrounding the many decisions you’ll make as you launch and build your business, as well demonstrate to potential investors the merits of investment in your company.

The La Macchia New Venture Business Plan Competition is structured in successive phases to help you fully develop your business idea into a comprehensive business plan that’s ready to present to a judging panel.

You will have the opportunity to attend workshops on issues including marketing essentials, financial fundamentals, and writing a “stand out” executive summary. As the competition advances, you’ll also be assigned a mentor who can provide additional one-on-one guidance prior to submitting your final plan. If you make it to the “finals,” they’ll also help you prepare for your presentation to the judging panel for the opportunity to win cash prizes.

  1. Enter the Competition

    All entrants or entrant teams must register for the competition by completing an Intent to Compete form.

  2. Submit your Idea Abstract

    In the first phase of the competition, you’ll submit a 500-word Idea Abstract following the Idea Abstract Guidelines (see Submission Guidelines tab). You’ll be provided with constructive written feedback on your abstract from seasoned entrepreneurs and faculty.

  3. Attend New Venture Workshops

    Let our experts help you learn more about marketing, finance, operations and other details you’ll need to understand to be successful in your venture. Workshops will be held early in the competition to give you the tools you need to write a comprehensive plan. 

  4. Write and Submit your Business Plan

    Entrants will submit a comprehensive Business Plan (30 page maximum), following the Business Plan Guidelines (see Submission Guidelines tab). We’ll match you with a mentor to help you as you develop your plan. We also encourage you to find other professionals who can provide you with feedback. Each plan will be reviewed thoroughly and we’ll provide you with useful written feedback on your document.

  5. Final Competition and Presentations

    Those who advance to the Final Competition will present their finalized business plans to a panel of judges who have meaningful experience in or exposure to early-stage businesses.

Dates for 2021-22

Wednesday, September 8th — Registration Opens


Tuesday, September 21st
5:30pm – 6:30pm, Lubar Entrepreneurship Center (LEC 211)
— Workshop: LaMacchia New Venture Business Plan Competition Overview (Presenter: Jim Hunter)
Register Now!


Thursday, September 23rd
6:30pm – 7:30pm, Lubar Entrepreneurship Center (LEC 211)
— Workshop: LaMacchia New Venture Business Plan Competition Overview (Presenter: Jim Hunter)
Register Now!


Thursday, September 30th— Deadline to Submit Intent to Compete Form


Wednesday, October 6th
5:30pm – 6:45pm, Lubar Entrepreneurship Center (LEC 211)
— Workshop: Writing an Effective Summary/The Operational Plan (Presenter: Jim Hunter)
Register Now!

Thursday, October 21st
2:00pm – 3:30pm, Lubar Hall N333
— Workshop: Marketing Essentials (Presenter: Athena Agoudemas, Small Business Development Center)
Register Now!

Thursday, October 28th
2:00pm – 3:30pm, Lubar Hall N333
— Workshop: Financial Fundamentals (Presenter: TBD, Small Business Development Center)
Register Now!

Monday, November 15th— Phase I: Deadline to Submit Idea Abstract

Tuesday, November 23rd—Idea Abstracts with comments returned to entrants

Beginning in December—One-on-one meetings with competition advisors. Meetings will be scheduled through Debbie Roy.

Friday, January 7th—Phase II: Deadline to Submit Business Plan for Review

Wednesday, January 19th—Business Plans with comments are returned to entrants.

Monday, February 7th—Phase III: Deadline for final submission of Business Plans
All materials must be submitted by 11:59pm on the 7th.

Saturday, February 19th—Optional Practice Presentation to Competition Advisors
9:00am – 12:00pm

Saturday, March 5th— Final Competition
8:00am – 1:00pm
Lubar Hall, N333





How do I Enter?

All entrants or entrant teams must register for the competition by completing an Intent to Compete form.

Am I Eligible?

The competition is open to all current full-time or part-time UWM undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral students, as well as all UWM alumni who have graduated since January 2016.

“Current Student” is defined as an individual who is enrolled in the current academic year and is in good academic standing. Each student entrant must agree to release a copy of their official academic transcript to the La Macchia New Venture Business Plan Competition staff.

Entrants may enter the competition as individuals or as teams. If entering as a team, at least half of the team members must meet the eligibility criteria, as must the team leader. Entrants may only submit one business plan for consideration.

All entrants must confirm that the business plan they submit is their original work and has not won a prize in any previous business plan competition.

Submitting an Intent to Compete form and/or a Business Plan indicates an acceptance of the competition terms and conditions.

Idea Abstract Guidelines

The abstract should be a maximum of 500 words providing a brief, focused overview of the business you would like to develop. It should include:

  • Entrant’s name and contact information
  • An overall description of the company
  • An explanation of the products or services the company provides, why the products/services are needed, and how they differ from what already exists
  • A definition of what your market is, who your customers are, and who your competition is
  • A description of the market potential of the business
  • Identification of who your customers are
  • A concise description of the professional and educational backgrounds of the entrant(s)

Idea abstracts must be submitted by email to Debbie Roy.

Business Plan Guidelines

Business Plans must be submitted by semi-finalists in the following format:

  • Cover page including business name and entrant name(s).
  • Word Document, maximum length of 30 pages (not including cover page)
  • Up to 20 additional pages of appendices may also be included
  • Page Margins: 1” on all sides
  • Font: Times Roman 12 pt or equivalent
  • Line Spacing: Double Spaced
  • Footer at bottom of each page must include business name and page number

Suggested Format for the Business Plan

  1. Executive Summary
    1. Business Overview
    2. Description of the company and its business model
    3. Mission statement
    4. Products and/or services
    5. Value proposition
    6. Legal structure
  2. Market Analysis
    1. Target market, including size, analysis, and forecast
    2. Overall industry analysis and forecast
    3. Target customers
    4. Barriers to entry
  3. Competitive Analysis
    1. The competition
    2. Your competitive advantage (What distinguishes your company from the competition?)
  4. Marketing Strategy
    1. Methods of Distribution
    2. Advertising
    3. Pricing
    4. Product Design
    5. Timing of Market Entry
  5. Operational Plan
    1. Production
    2. Location
    3. Legal environment
    4. Personnel
    5. Inventory
    6. Suppliers
    7. Policies
  6. Management Team
    1. Biographical information on key members of the management team
    2. Board of Advisors (including name, title, and company affiliation)
  7. Financial Analysis
    1. Detailed statement of assumptions for all major items in the financial statements
    2. Overall financial model
    3. Start-up requirements
    4. Other analysis, as appropriate (e.g. break even analysis)
    5. Summary and highlights of financial statements
  8. Conclusion
  9. Appendices (up to 20 pages maximum, not counted in the 30-page plan maximum), for example:
    1. Detailed financial projections through at least year 3, including:
      • income statement (a.k.a. profit & loss statement) by month and by year through year 3
      • balance sheet (including Day One balance sheet) by month and by year through year 3
      • pro forma cash flow by month and by year through year 3
        budget analysis
    2. Resumes of all key management, technical, and advisory people
    3. Brochures and advertising materials
    4. Industry or market research studies
    5. Blueprints, plans, maps, photos of location
    6. Magazine or other reference articles
    7. Letters of support
    8. Any other documents which support the assumptions of the plan

How Are Plans Judged?

The competition is intended to simulate the real-world process of entrepreneurs soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors and venture capital firms. The judges function as venture capital investors deciding on which business venture they would most likely fund.

The commercial merits of each entry will be based on the professional opinions of the judges related to factors including:

Market Opportunity
There is a clear market need presented, as well as a way to take advantage of that need.

Unique Benefits
The company provides something novel, unique, or special that differentiates it in the marketplace.

Competitive Advantage
The competitive position is fully described and the competitive advantage can be sustained.

Management Capability
The management or management team can effectively develop the company and deal with the risks associated with the venture.

Financial Understanding
The financial projections are realistic. The key assumptions are explained and are reasonable.

Investment Opportunity
The business represents a real investment opportunity in which companies would hypothetically consider investing.

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