1.   A 2-page Executive Summary is required for all teams.  Please submit a 2-page Executive Summary of your proposed new venture.  Save the document as a .PDF file (no other format will be accepted). Save the file as follows: Team Name_Round 1.pdf
We recommend that you address the following key points.  A simple paragraph addressing each point is perfectly fine – no need to go into great detail:

  • COMPANY OVERVIEW: Provide a brief description of your venture.  Use very simple terms and avoid “jargon” – keep it simple and direct, simply describe your venture.
  • PROBLEM/OPPORTUNITY:  This is the SINGLE most important aspect of your plan.  The PROBLEM is the source of the OPPORTUNITY.  Investors often call this the “market pain.”  What “pain” or PROBLEM does your idea solve?  What current UNMET NEED does your idea/venture address?  What is your unique opportunity?
  • SOLUTION: Now that you have identified the OPPORTUNITY, tell us what your IDEA is.  Your idea is the proposed SOLUTION to the problem, and your challenge is to persuade us that (a) the problem exists, (b) you have a solution for it, (c) people will accept/buy your solution, and (d) you can successfully BUILD A VENTURE around that solution. If you have a “secret sauce” – technology, uniqueness behind your product or service, tell us.   Explain what’s different about YOUR solution from the others – assure us that YOUR venture is the answer.
  • MARKETING/SALES:  Who are your CUSTOMERS – who will PAY for your product or service?  How will you reach them?  How large is your customer base?  HOW DO YOU KNOW?  Have you tested the market in any way, or done any research?  Have you talked to potential customers to validate the need this, and to get their response to the potential for your solution? The more you can demonstrate you actually KNOW about your intended customer or client, the more credibility you will have with the judges.
  • COMPETITION:  Who are your top COMPETITORS and how will you beat them? Make it clear that you know your competitors, and make it clear why you are 10 times better than an entrenched incumbent. It’s rarely a simple matter of launching a business or providing a service:  what makes your venture DIFFERENT or BETTER than the rest?  If others have tried and failed, what makes you think you will succeed?
  • BUSINESS/OPERATIONAL MODEL:  How will you make money?  How will you grow? How will you find the money to start and run this venture? Where will money come from, how will revenues be generated, and how can the venture survive over time? 
  • MANAGEMENT TEAM:  Who is on your TEAM and what EXPERIENCE do you/they have in this area? How is YOUR team uniquely qualified to identify and solve this unmet need and take the solution to market effectively at scale?  Why YOU and why NOW with this team?  If there are key skill gaps not yet on the team, what are they and what is your plan to fill those holes?  Convince us that YOUR TEAM is the team to do it. Assure us that this team was custom-made for this unique opportunity.  Bios for team members are great if possible.  Building a strong management team will be vital to the success of your venture!!!
  • TRACTION/MILESTONES:  What have you done so far that proves the problem exists, to validate that you have the right solution for the problem, that you can sell it to customers profitably, and that the market is scalable? For example, technical achievements, milestones with customers and partners, etc.: we’ve done more in 6 weeks than our competitors have in 6 years and we’re not letting up.  If you haven’t gained any traction yet, no worries, it’s perfectly fine.  But if you have made progress, please bring us up to date.
  • ND FORCE FOR GOOD/SOCIAL IMPACT:  As Father Sorin would ask, will you be a “force for good” in the world if the startup is successful?  How will the world be a better place because of your new business venture? What is your social, humanitarian and/or environmental impact? If successful, will your influence/impact be significant?
  • CHALLENGES:  What do you anticipate being your most significant challenges and/or obstacles?  How will you address these challenges?

2.   A simple 1-2 minute video pitch is optional.  However, we encourage you to include the video and have fun with it, as this is a fun and easy way to capture the attention of the judges to communicate your vision! We suggest that you follow these pointers:

  • CONTENT:  This is your opportunity to show the judges your best “elevator pitch.”
    • Introduce yourself and describe the problem – share your IDEA.  Convince those watching that this is a clear and compelling problem.
    • Clearly articulate your proposed business SOLUTION.  Convince those watching that you have a unique solution to the problem you’ve identified above.
    • Convince viewers that this idea could attract INVESTORS and become a thriving, sustainable business.
    • Convince us of the potential IMPACT you will make if your proposed venture addresses a social and/or environmental problem.
  • FORMAT:  This is a simple video that can be done using your phone or mobile device. No fancy gimmicks or props, no animation, no special effects are required:  simply convince the judges that this is a valid business solution, a business idea worthy of consideration.  Have fun with the video – don’t stress out!  Be spontaneous and relaxed, not scripted.
    • Upload your video to YouTube and then copy and paste the link into the appropriate submission area.
    • Videos should be 1-2 minutes in length, a maximum of 2 minutes. 



The business plan required for the McCloskey New Venture Competition is limited to 10 pages, using standard margins and 11- or 12-point font.  Either 1.5 or double-spacing is fine. Up to (not exceeding) 5 pages of appendices may be attached, for a maximum of 15 pages.  

The format below can be used as a template to build the 10-page business plan.  We urge participants to address each of the following points within the body of the plan; suggested limits are provided in parentheses.  The appendices will be used for supporting documentation.  

The 10-page business plan + appendices will be combined into ONE .pdf file to upload on competition site.  Please note that if you would like to include a table of contents, it’s FINE and will not count as part of your 10 page limit. The file should be named according to the following format: Team Name_Round2.pdf.

You will be evaluated based upon your ability to make a convincing case that your business or idea has potential to become a viable, profitable, sustainable business venture. To do this, you should provide the following:
•    Clear confirmation that there are customers clamoring for your solution (i.e., DEMAND)
•    A well thought-out business model that will uniquely deliver value to customers
•    A reasonable path to financial viability
•    A team with the skills, experience and/or connections to make it happen.

The following outline is recommended: Downloadable PDF

Executive Summary (1  page)

  • What is the problem and what is your solution?  i.e., we solve (this problem) by providing (advantage/solution), to help (target customer) accomplish (target customer’s goal).
  • Who needs it and why? Why YOU? Why NOW?
  • How will you provide a return to your investors? Why is this an attractive opportunity for investors?

Company and Team Overview (1  page)

  • Core Expertise, Capabilities and Resources
    • Patents & IP? Unique skills or training? Valuable relationships or network?

    • What resources does your team possess that make it uniquely qualified to pursue this venture?

  • Company Leadership:  

    • Management Team: just 3 short sentences about key management personnel/backgrounds

    • Advisory Board

    • Major investors?

    • Professional advisors?

  • How will your venture serve as a “force for good” in the world?

    • Is there a double- or triple-bottom line?

Product or Service  (2 pages)

  • Value Proposition (value to be delivered, the reason someone would buy from you – instead of your competitors; why buy/use YOURS rather than your competitors’?)
    • Discuss product market fit: confirm that the offering scratches an important itch

    • Clarify how your solution provides either pain relievers or gain creators

    • Identify the primary pains and gains to be addressed

  • MVP Visualization

    • Visually present your offering (if possible) with an emphasis on the user experience

  • Strategic Advantage

    • Define how the market currently meets the need you intend to serve.

    • Summarize the relevant competitors aiming to serve the need.

    • Explain the “white space” of unserved and emerging opportunity

  • Customer Validation Evidence

    • Provide evidence that the team “got out of the building” to explore market needs and preferences directly with the marketplace:  How many interviews were conducted? What was learned? How did you pivot based on your findings?

Market Opportunity (2 pages)

  • Market Size & Growth Rate
    • What growth rates do you project, and more importantly, what are the underlying assumptions supporting these projections? (Market drivers that show how market will grow and change.)

    • What is the Total Available Market (TAM) and Served Available Market (SAM) for your value proposition and launch strategy?  BE REALISTIC - bottom up approach to calculating market size (TAM) is very important

  • Market Segmentation

    • By what criteria will you segment the market?

    • What are the highest priority needs (pains & gains) for each segment?

    • For what reasons was the target/beachhead segment selected

  • Competitive Analysis

    • Articulate the competitive positioning your venture intends to claim

      • Why are you better or different?

      • List all competitors

      • Show how you are better or different from each -- what is your “niche” to win?

  • Barriers to Entry

    • What barriers exist?

    • How will you leverage these barriers to your advantage?

Business Model Rationale (2 pages)  

  • Customer Relationship-Building Strategies
    • What strategies will you use to GET/KEEP/GROW customers?

  • Channels & Channel Economics

    • Describe your planned distribution channel strategy.

    • How will the various distribution partners share in the value provided (i.e. what is the split of the ultimate customer revenue?)

  • Key Partners

    • What key partners are needed to enable launch?

    • What is in it for them? (Why will they not become competitors?)

    • Which partners are onboard and which are still to be confirmed?

  • Revenue Streams , Margins, & Cash Flows

    • What generates revenue for the venture & what is the revenue projection?

    • What is the cost structure?  (Direct & Indirect Costs)

    • What are the profits and cash flows?

Go-To-Market Strategy & Goals (1 page)

  • Beachhead (the 1st market your business sells in)
    • What is the total size (value) of the beachhead segment?

    • What are the highest priority needs of this segment and how does your offering directly align with these needs? Describe your beachhead sales and marketing strategy.

  • Follow-On Markets & Offerings

    • The follow-on market is a market you will enter after gaining significant market share in your initial market (the beachhead)

      • Based on successful results with the goals and objectives of the beachhead phase, what adjacent opportunities exist for scaling the venture?

  • Key Milestones & Critical Success Factors
    • What are the critical accomplishments that must be achieved during the launch rollout and how (by what metrics) will success be measured?

    • What are the objectives and goals for the beach head phase of the launch plan?

  • Key Assumptions, Risk Factors & Contingency Plans

  • Amount of Investment you’re seeking and use of funds

Feasibility - Metrics That Matter (1 page)

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): How much will it cost you to attain each customer? (This is the total sales and marketing expenditure divided by number of paying customers you acquire)
  • Funding requirements & planned sources
    • How much cash will you need to reach important milestones, e.g. prototype, beta test, regulatory approval, first ship-to customers, etc.?

    • How much cash will you need to launch?

    • What are your anticipated startup expenses?

  • Cash Burn Rate (the rate at which the company will use up its cash resources or capital before producing a positive cash flow, usually expressed as the amount of capital used per month).

Appendices (3 Year projections, 5 pages max), should include P&L Pro Forma

  • Appendices should be used to provide detailed financial information or to include materials that support the findings, statements and observations in the plan.  
  • P&L (Profit & Loss) Pro Forma