Welcome! We hope you decide to apply to the 2019 Startup Showcase competition. First, please read all the rules on our web site: http://business.illinoisstate.edu/means/startup/ Below are some additional tips and information to help you understand the application and judging process.
The judges will be looking for good, solid answers to the following five questions. This rubric is consistent with the questions you will answer in your online application.
The highest scores will be awarded to clear, understandable ideas. The less jargon, the better. If the idea is highly technical, the team should explain what it does in non-technical language.
The highest scores will be awarded to those participants who can demonstrate that a market exists for what they have to offer. If the product/service is similar to others, they should be able to explain why their offering is better and why people will want it. If this is a “new-to-the-world” idea, they should be able to make a convincing case that people will buy it.
The highest scores will go to those business models that can be expanded "cookie cutter" style. It is not necessary that the idea be a new invention or high-tech product/service, but it must be one that can grow past the founder. For example, an idea that involves the founder providing a service of some kind is fine, but the business model must include an explanation of how the founder will expand the business to include other people providing the service as the founder focuses on growing the business.
The highest scores will go to those who specify how they will use financial support, services, etc. Participants do not need to be highly detailed here, but they should have at least a few tangible ideas about how they will benefit from winning.
The highest scoring teams will be those that explain what they will accomplish in the first year in clear, tangible terms. Ideally, we would like to see how that first year in business will set participants up for success in future years. Milestones should be challenging but realistic. It is not necessary to achieve revenue in the first year, but some evidence of "traction"--a beta version of software/apps, a prototype, etc.