Competition Rules

Official Rules and Submission Requirements

  1. Not every circumstance can be anticipated. AEAF reserves the right to disqualify any team that violates the rules, regulations or the spirit of the competition.
  2. The competition is open to all faculty or mentor sponsored full and part-time degree or certificate-seeking undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at any of Arkansas’s two or four year universities or colleges. Enrollment includes classes taken during the 2013 summer session(s), 2013 fall semester, and/or the 2014 spring semester. Students who have graduated prior to the competition, but were enrolled in any of the above mentioned semesters, will still be eligible to compete. We rely on the student and his or her advisor to verify enrollment criteria. AEAF reserves the exclusive right to determine the validity of enrollment.
  3. Each team is required to have either a faculty member or an approved mentor as an advisor. If a team wishes to utilize a non-faculty mentor, that team must receive approval from AEAF by January 17, 2014.
  4. The business plan may be prepared under faculty or mentor supervision for credit in a regularly scheduled course or as an independent study. The plan may also be prepared under faculty or mentor supervision with no official credit.
  5. All teams wishing to compete in the 2014 Governor’s Cup competition must submit an “Intent-to-Compete” by 5:00 pm on January 31, 2014.
  6. To enter the Agriculture track of the competition, the team registrant must click ‘Yes’ under the Agriculture track question on the business plan form and submit a brief explanation (300 words maximum) of why your business can be categorized as Agriculture.
  7. To enter the Innovation track of the competition, the team registrant must click ‘Yes’ under the Innovation track question on the business plan form and submit a brief explanation (300 words maximum) of why your business can be categorized as Innovative.
  8. Teams are allowed to enter into both the Innovation and Agriculture tracks. Please note: if only one team enters into a track (i.e. only one graduate team for the agriculture track), then there will be no competition held for that track.
  9. Each team may submit only one business plan to the competition.
  10. Either an individual or a group may develop the business plan. Group size cannot exceed 6 qualified students. The management team outlined in the plan will contain the names of individuals (if any) who are not associated with the university. Presenting group members must be students and have a key role on the company’s management team (i.e., CEO, COO, VP, etc.). Non-student members of the venture’s management team may not participate in any presentations, including the finals.
  11. Teams are encouraged to have graduate and undergraduate students work together on teams for the purpose of cross-pollination of experience and mentoring opportunities. Teams with any one member enrolled in graduate school during the academic year must enter in the graduate competition.
  12. Previous efforts to establish the business or participating in business-like activities which include but are not limited to the following: attempts to raise capital, developing and presenting the business plan to potential investors, and conducting substantial market research outside of the 2013-2014 academic year will be disqualified. This includes business plans that were submitted to AEAF in previous DWRGC competitions.
  13. The business plan must represent the original work of each contestant. Each submission indicates that the business plan is the original work of the author(s). Any team submitting a plagiarized business plan will be disqualified. The author(s) will retain all rights to the plan regarding its use at all times prior to and following the competition (except as stated below).
  14. Due to the nature of the competition, we will not ask judges, reviewers, sponsors, staff or the audience to agree to or sign non-disclosure statements for any participant. By participating in the competition, entrants agree that neither the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (AEAF), the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group (ACCG), nor members of the judging panel, sponsors nor their designate organizations, assume any liability whatsoever for any disclosures of business plan information which may be made (whether inadvertently or otherwise) by any judge, reviewer, staff member, audience member or other individual connected with, participating in, viewing, hearing, or receiving information from the competition.
  15. The business plan must be for a seed or start-up venture and must address the entire business concept (including implementation). Proposals for the buy-out or expansion of an existing company, tax-shelter opportunities, real estate syndications, and other consulting projects or analyses are not eligible. Non-profits are also not eligible.
  16. The business should not have generated sales revenues prior to the competition. Revenue generated during a test-marketing project may be excluded from this provision.
  17. The business may assume a technology or product/service that has been licensed from another company, private inventor, or university with their written approval. Revenue streams from the business should not be based solely on deriving revenues from the licensing of its own technologies.
  18. The plans may not contain fabricated information about (but not limited to) the following: backgrounds, experience and educational level of members of the management team, stage of product development, product performance claims, or market survey results.
  19. Plans are limited to 30 pages of typed text, which includes the Executive Summary and excludes appendices. Cover sheets are not counted in total number of pages. Please Note: All pages past 30 (excluding appendices) will be omitted from judging.
  20. Summary of financial data should include a five year pro-forma cash flow statement, income statement and balance sheet. Include an explanation to investors of how much capital will be required in the first and future rounds of investment, how funds from the first round will be used, and what milestones will be met using first round of funding. Delineate possible exit strategies and identify companies or categories of companies for which this company might be an attractive acquisition candidate in future years. Business plans may include the expected ROI for investors and the proposed structure of the deal, i.e., loan, preferred A stock, convertible note, etc.
  21. Appendices should be included only when they support the findings, statements and observations in the plan. Because of the number of teams/plans entering the competition, reviewers and judges may not be able to read all of the material in the appendices. Therefore, the text portion of the plan (30 pages) must contain all pertinent information in a clear and concise manner.
  22. Business plans are to be received by 5:00 p.m. on February 21, 2014.
  23. For semi-finalist and finalist presentations, each team will be given twenty (20) minutes to present their business plan followed by a fifteen (15) minute question-and-answer session between the presenting team and the panel of judges. After competing, each team will receive a ten (10) minute feedback round from the semifinal and final judges. Each presenting team will have five (5) minutes prior to its presentation for set-up/preparation and five (5) minutes after the presentation for equipment dismantling.
  24. A team may not observe other presentations or question and answer sessions until after they have presented their own plan. No one is allowed to enter or leave the room until the presentation session is complete. Students, advisors, or guests engaging in communication with a team during their presentation and/or question and answer session, such as but not limited to, head movements, hand gestures or signaling, will be asked to leave the room and the team will be disqualified from the competition.
  25. All oral presentations and question and answer sessions are open to the public at large. Further, it is likely that any or all of these public sessions will be broadcast to interested persons through media, which may include radio, television and the Internet. Any data or information discussed or divulged in public sessions by entrants should be considered information that will likely enter the public realm, and entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality in any data or information discussed, divulged or presented in these sessions. Neither the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation, The Arkansas Capital Corporation Group, judges, sponsors, nor their designate organizations, assume any duty to screen or otherwise control the identity of those attending, viewing or hearing all or part of these public sessions, and entrants agree that by entering the competition they have been made aware that such attendees, viewers and recipients may include members of the media and potential competitors in addition to members of the financial community, students and faculty.
  26. Student entrants agree to allow the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation and the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group to videotape the oral presentations and the question-and-answer sessions. By participating in the competition, student entrants agree to grant the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation and the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group and/or organizations designated by them the unlimited right to videotape, photograph, audiotape, transcribe or otherwise record all public sessions of the competition, including but not limited to oral presentations and question-and-answer sessions.
  27. Each team is required to provide a PowerPoint file for Oral Presentations. Teams may utilize a presentation program separate from PowerPoint (example: Prezi, Keynote, etc.) but they will do so at their own risk. We require a PowerPoint file should you need a backup. Teams may use their own laptops (Windows or Mac based) but know that your personal laptop and or converters may not be compatible with projectors provided in the presentation rooms. You are required to connect your own laptop and bring your own converter for any operating systems that are not Windows based. If you do not have a laptop for your presentation, Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation can provide your team a Windows-based laptop. This request must be made 5 p.m. Friday, March 14. Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation does not furnish converters, pointers, or wireless presentation mice. Equipment provided in the presentation room(s) on presentation day: Podium, projector with VGA (audio cable included with speakers) and HDMI cable(s) for your choice of output, and large projection screen. Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation does not guarantee video, sound clips, fonts, etc., to work or display at full capacity. Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation will provide assistance for PowerPoint uploaded materials (the file you provided on March 14). Wi-Fi will be available in all presentation rooms.
  28. All entrants agree that the Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation and the Arkansas Capital Corporation Group and/or their designate organizations may use any such transcriptions and/or recording(s) (in whole or part) for such publicity and marketing purposes as their organizations may see fit, including those which may result in remuneration.
  29. Oral Presentations will be held on Tuesday, March 18 and Wednesday, March 19, 2014, at The Embassy Suites in Little Rock, Ark.
  30. Team members will not be allowed to bring food or beverages into the rooms for presentation. Students may bring product samples for their presentations, but may not bring any promotional items or give-aways to the judges. Paper materials for the judges are allowed, but not required.
  31. The winning teams will be announced at the Awards Luncheon, held at the State House Convention Center in Little Rock on April 9, 2014.
  32. The top two undergraduate and graduate teams will advance to the Tri-State competition in Las Vegas, Nev., to be held May 22 and 23 at the Mirage Hotel. In the event an advancing team cannot participate to the satisfaction of AEAF, the third place team will act as an alternate.