Required Business Plan Contents and Scoring

Formatting (5 points)

Business plans are limited to a maximum of 15 pages. Pages must be typed in 12-point Times New Roman or Arial font. Paragraphs can be single- or double-spaced.

All plans must include a cover page and a table of contents, which are not counted toward the business plan page limit.

The business plan must include the following:

1)  Cover Page

  • Name of the company
  • Names of all team members
  • Advisor/s name, title, email address, and phone number
  • Name of the team’s school and the full mailing address

2)  Table of Contents

3)  Executive Summary (10 Points – one page maximum)

Describe your business (not the product or service) as if you had only a minute or two to describe it to a potential lender or funder. Consider addressing the following in your summary – Who are you? What will your business do? Why? Who are your customers? How will you make money?

4)  Company Overview (10 Points)

How did your team come up with the business idea? What problem is it addressing? What product or service will you be selling? How will it solve the problem? What are the team’s vision and goals for the company?

5)  Product or Service Description (10 Points)

What are the features and benefits of the product or service? Explain why it is better than that of the competitors. Identify current stage of development.  Photos, drawings, or graphics of the product or service are encouraged. Please ensure images are compressed before placing them into the document.

6)  Management Team (5 Points)

State the backgrounds and roles of key individuals in the company. Elaborate on their history and their ability to work effectively as a team. Explain the company’s organizational structure and personnel needs.

7)  Innovation / Creativity (5 points)

What gives your business the edge in the marketplace?  How did you arrive at the concept that sets it apart as innovative?

8)  Market and Competitive Analysis (10 Points)

Define your target market and your sales approach. State the growth trends and key driving forces of the industry; assesses the competitive environment; shows market acceptance for the product or service.

9)  Critical Risks (5 Points)

What are major internal and external critical risks that could threaten your business? How would you address them?

10)  Financials (5 Points)

Include both a statement of what funds are needed and an income statement.

Business plans will be judged by a team of community and business leaders throughout Arkansas. As they ready the plans, they will ultimately consider the entire business concept, looking at feasibility, the potential to generate revenue, and the ability to implement the business.

Preparing to Upload the Plans

Please ensure plans are proofed for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and proper sentence construction. Don’t take chances on your hard work going to waste – proofread your plan carefully!

Plans will need to be converted to PDF in order to be uploaded to iStart. Please give this PDF document the same name as that of your business. When the conversion is complete, please ensure all pages were properly converted. Plans that cannot be opened or that are missing pages cannot be judged and will be disqualified.

Ready to submit your plan to iStart? Get information and instructions here:


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