Rules and Judging Guidelines

Round 1 – Official Rules and Requirements:

Who can participate? - The competition is open to all students and aspiring entrepreneurs, grades 5-8, enrolled at any Arkansas school.

Intents-to-Compete – Teams must submit an “Intent-to-Compete” by 3:00 pm on September 27, 2013. Click here for instructions on how to submit your intent to compete information.

Team Size - Student teams should consist of no more than 6 members.

Teacher Advisor - The student must be sponsored by a K-12 teacher, who is not a parent of any team member. Teacher advisors may represent more than one business plan. In extenuating circumstances a sponsor may be an individual outside of a student’s school, subject to AEAF’s approval.

Original Work - The business plan must represent the original work of each contestant, though teacher advisors are encouraged to provide guidance. Each team is expected to conduct themselves in an ethical manner.

Business Plan - Each team must submit a business plan for a new product or service. The product or service may not be fictional in nature. The business plan must address all aspects of the business. The business must be for-profit; non-profit organizations are not eligible. Each student team may only submit one plan. The business plan will include the following sections: cover page, table of contents, company overview, product or service description, marketing plan, and financials. The business plan is limited to 5-pages of typed text, with 12-point font. The cover page and table of contents are not counted in the total number of pages. More information can be found in the Teacher Training Manual.

Submitting the Plan - All plans must be submitted online by 3:00 pm on November 1, 2013. (Reminder: Students should save copies of all of their work). Click here for instructions on how to submit your business plans.

Judging of the Plans - A panel of judges will evaluate the plans. The top 25 business plans will be selected as finalists. The judging is based both subjectively and objectively on the evaluation guidelines and the impressions formed by the business experiences of the judges. All judges ultimately consider the entire business concept looking at overall feasibility, combined with the potential to generate revenue, and the ability to implement the business. Announcement of the finalists will be posted online on December 3, 2013. Teacher advisors of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place teams will each receive a cash award.

Round 1 – Evaluation Guidelines (60 Points Total)

Business Plan Format (10 points) - The business plan will include the cover page and the business plan. The business plan is limited to 5-pages of typed text, with a 12 point font. The cover page is not counted in the total number of pages. The cover page must include the: (1) teacher advisor’s name, (2) student names, (3) contact information (including e-mail, telephone, address, school name, and the name of the company). Pictures of your students’ products are encouraged but not required. Correct grammar and an orderly presentation are also part of the business plan format.

Section 1: Company Overview (10 points) - Includes a mission (what you want to do), company history, goals, objectives (where do you want your business to be three months from today), and the backgrounds and roles of the management team.

Section 2: Product or Service Description (10 points) - Describes the product, its features and benefits, and explains why the product is better than that of the competitors (competitive advantage).

Section 3: Marketing Strategy (10 points) - Defines the target market and sales approach.

Section 4: Financials (10 points) - Includes: (1) a statement of what funds you will need and (2) an income statement.

Innovation/Creativity (10 points) - Presents an opportunity to turn ideas into new products or services for a business.

Round 2 – Official Rules and Requirements:

The Top 25 teams selected from Round 1 will move to Round 2, the Y.E.S. for Arkansas Expo Day Friday, January 17, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Park Plaza Mall. The expo showcases the teams, who will have a booth to market and sell their products. Teams must arrive at Park Plaza Mall at 9:00 a.m. to draw for their retail booth space and be set up by 10:00 a.m.

Students who continue to this round must:

  1. Produce a marketing piece (due during the Y.E.S. Expo in January, 2014). The teams may select one of the following mediums for their marketing piece:
    • a one-page flyer
    • a printed brochure
    • a 30- or 60-second radio or TV commercial
    • a website
  2. Produce products for sale during the Expo event. If the business plan was created for a service, then a presentation board describing the service must be on display.
  3. Display the product or service during the Expo event.

Judging - Each team’s marketing piece and their retail booth display will be judged during the event. Scores will be tallied and the winners will be announced at Park Plaza at approximately 1:00 p.m. Trophies and cash prizes will be awarded to the winning teams and teachers. Teams may win in more than one category.

Round 2 – Evaluation Guidelines (75 Points Total)

Marketing Piece (30 points) -

Describes the product, its features and benefits, and explains the product’s competitive advantage over other competitors. Also defines the price of the product, where the product will be sold, and how the product can be purchased. The product promotion needs to be appealing to the target market. Other elements of the marketing piece include visual appeal and innovation/creativity.

Retail Booth Display (45 points) – Booth display will be judged on student presentation including friendliness, customer service skills, and knowledge of the product. The booth itself will be judged by its order and appeal, use of color, and use of light and props. The design and creativity of Signage, and the creativity and focus of the product display will also be taken into account.