Business Plan Contents and Scoring

Business Plan Format (5 points)

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

All plans must begin with a cover page, which is not counted as part of the business plan page limit. The cover page must include:

  • the name of the company the business plan represents
  • the name/s of all team members
  • the sponsor’s name and title
  • the name of the school name
  • contact information – e-Mail address, telephone number, full mailing address

AEAF strongly recommends that a photo, drawing, or graphic of the product or service is also included on the cover page, if possible. This is helpful for the judges. If a photo is used, please ensure it is compressed to a smaller file before placing it on the cover page.

Please make sure your plan is proofed for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and proper sentence construction.

Your plan will need to be converted to PDF in order to be submitted electronically on 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 are missing pages cannot be judged and will be disqualified.

Don’t take chances on your hard work going to waste – proofread your plan carefully!

Executive Summary (10 Points)

This is the judges’ first impression of your idea. Make your executive summary clear, exciting, and effective as a stand-alone overview of the plan. Include a brief description of the following sections in your plan. Ensure your summary can be read in five minutes or less.

Company Overview (10 Points)

Include the vision, history, current status, strategy, goals, mission and objectives for the business.

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.

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.

Innovation/Creativity (5 points)

How is your product or service new or different than what is currently in the marketplace?

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.

Critical Risks (5 Points)

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

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.

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


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