Spring 2014 Mini Plan Guidelines

UMass Innovation Challenge Mini Plan 

Event:    UMass Mini Plan Competition – Spring 2014

Deadline to enter:    February 12, 2014

Prizes:    Advancing teams will compete for a portion of the $50,000+ final competition prize pool

Got a solid start on a business idea?  If so, then please read though the following key dates and steps to become familiar with the Mini Plan round of the UMass Innovation Challenge Competition.  We have some exciting changes to the spring schedule this year. 

If your business seems more early-stage and/or you have yet to create and receive mentor feedback on a written plan, please explore our MinutePitch virtual competition at http://tinyurl.com/MinutePitchSpring2013 as an option.


Key Dates:

Deadline to enter:    Wednesday, February 12, 2014 @ 11:59pm EST

Announcement of Mini Plan Teams :   Friday, February 14, 2014

Closed-door Mini Plan Presentations :   Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Announcement of Final Five Teams:    Friday, March 14, 2014

Final Business Plans Due (select teams):    Monday, March 31, 2014 @ 12noon EST

Final Presentations & Awards Dinner:   Monday, April 7, 2014 @ 5:00pm EST


Entering the Mini Plan:

STEP 1Declare your interest!   If you already submitted your online entry (aka Intent to Compete) form in fall 2013, then an email to Heather Demers demers@ecs.umass.edu expressing your interest in submitting a mini plan is all that is necessary.  If you HAVE NOT already submitted an online entry, then please do so at www.umass.edu/innovation no later than February 12th

STEP 2Become familiar with the Mini Plan Guidelines!   We will announce the teams selected to move forward into the Mini Plan round on February 14.  In the meantime, given the accelerated timeline it would behoove all teams to become familiar with and begin drafting their plan.  In advance of announcing the selected teams we may reach out to individuals with specific questions, therefor familiarity with the expectations of this round will be helpful.   We will also be requiring teams to present PowerPoints and have provided those guidelines in advance as well.  You can find both guidelines at the bottom of this page.

STEP 3So you’ve been offered the opportunity to submit a Mini Plan? Now it’s time to get to work!   Teams must submit their Mini Plans by February 26, and will receive instructions on how to do so directly from Heather Demers. Teams should begin preparing their PowerPoint presentations for the closed-door meeting with judges while working on their plans, however please keep in mind that written feedback on submissions may come from the judges prior to the March 12 which will allow teams to address some concerns in their pitch.

STEP 4Prepare for the Mini Plan Presentation.    Using the guidelines for your slides, and any feedback you may receive from judges reviewing your written plan, create your 5 minute pitch deck.   You will be given a timeslot, based on your ranked preferences, for when you will meet behind closed-doors with the judging panel, but for now please keep your schedules flexible during the hours of 12:00 – 3:30pm that day.

STEP 5The Big Day!    Mini Plan Presentations occur on March 12.  Teams will be presenting one at a time and are expected to pitch for 5 minutes, followed by a feedback/Q&A discussion with the judges.  Judges will be determining winners (those who move forward into the Final Competition) based on this presentation and the accompanying Mini Plan. All team members should be present. Faculty advisors are welcome, and encouraged, to join in.  


Coming out of the Mini Plan:

STEP 1So you’ve been selected as a finalist for the $50K+ final competition? Congratulations, now it’s time to focus!  Teams will be notified if they have been selected to move forward into the Final Competition via an email from Heather Demers.   Those who are selected will receive specific feedback on areas for revision in the submitted plan, which may also impact the pitch deck.  They will also receive a Final Plan Reference Glossary/Guide.

STEP 2The Final Plan & Pitch:   Refer to the feedback from judges and the Final Plan Reference Glossary/Guide, which is intended to help you organize your thoughts.  The final plan is a refinement of the mini plan and not a newly drafted document. It is due on March 31.  Also due at the same time will be a 5 minute video pitch from the team.   The judges will use the refined plan and the video of your pitch to determine winners and prize distribution.  This judging round will take place between March 31 and April 3.  The results will not be announced until the final dinner. 

STEP 3: The UMass IC Finalist Presentations & Awards Dinner – The Really Big Day!  It’s the night you have been waiting for!    Teams need to come prepared with a poster that summarizes their business.  Over dinner, they will have a chance to network with the judges and audience.   Over dessert, the final teams will present their now well versed 5 minute pitch to the audience.   The evening culminates with the announcement of the winning ideas!



 Visit the Digital Media Lab, 3rd Floor of UMass Amherst Du Bois Library (or a similar lab at your campus) to access and borrow software and equipment http://www.library.umass.edu/dml/about-us

Visit the UMass IC resources page at http://www.umass.edu/innovation/compete/resources for tips on how to fine tune your pitch.


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