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Arkansas Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan Competition

Prizes to Arkansas Postsecondary Students for
Participating in a Business Plan Competition

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Arkansas Capital - Arkansas Economic Acceleration Foundation (AEAF)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

02/25/18 11:59 PM


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Prizes to Arkansas undergraduate and graduate student teams for participating in a statewide entrepreneurial competition. Applicants must submit an intent to compete by February 16. Teams may be composed of students representing any degree track. The purpose of this program is to challenge student teams to bring business ideas and talents to life.

Cash prizes will be made to first, second, and third place overall winners in both the graduate and undergraduate divisions.

In addition to the Undergraduate and Graduate competition tracks, teams also have the opportunity to compete in the Agriculture and Innovation tracks. Teams planning to enter one or both of these divisions should indicate these intents accordingly while completing the Intent to Compete in Startup Compete. If only one teams enters a track, there will be no competition in that track.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 176949

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Competition Rules:

1. The Governor’s Cup is open to all faculty- or mentor-sponsored, full- or part-time, degree- or certificate-seeking undergraduate or graduate students enrolled at any of Arkansas’s two- or four-year public, private, or independent colleges and universities. Eligible students from any program of study on campus — agriculture, business, education, engineering, health, science, tourism, etc. — are encouraged to compete. Teams can be composed of students from a mix of disciplines. Teams can also include students from more than one college and/or university.

2. Enrollment is defined as classes taken during the 2017 summer session(s), 2017 fall semester, or the 2018 spring semester. Students who have graduated prior to the competition, but were enrolled in a degree- or certificate-seeking program during any of these semesters, are eligible to compete.

3. Teams with any one member enrolled in graduate school during the academic year must compete in the graduate competition.

4. Students may compete individually or as a team. The maximum team size is six members.

5. Each team is required to have at least one faculty member as its advisor. Teams are allowed to have non-faculty members as advisors/mentors with prior approval from Arkansas Capital before Friday, February 23, 2018. Please notify Marie Bruno at the contact information listed above.

6. AEAF relies on students and advisors/mentors to verify enrollment criteria. AEAF reserves the exclusive right to determine the validity of enrollment.

7. The business plan may be prepared under faculty supervision for credit in a regularly scheduled course or as an independent study. The plan may also be prepared under faculty supervision with no official credit.

8. Teams cannot submit more than one business plan into the competition.

9. The management team outlined in the plan must include the names of individuals (if any) who are not associated with the college or university. Presenting group members must be eligible students and have a key role on the management team (i.e., CEO, COO, VP, etc.). Non-student members of the venture’s management team may not participate in any competition presentations.

10. Previous efforts to establish the business or participating in business-like activities which include, but are not limited to the following: attempts to raise capital, developing and presenting the business plan to potential investors, and conducting substantial market research outside of the 2017-2018 academic year will be disqualified. This includes business plans that were submitted to Arkansas Capital in previous Governor’s Cup competitions.

11. The business plan must be for a new and independent venture in the seed, start-up, or early-growth stages. Plans that include proposals for buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, roll-ups, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, spin-outs from existing corporations, and other consulting projects or analyses are not eligible. Non-profit proposals are also not eligible. Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is encouraged, assuming they have not been commercialized previously.

12. Teams may submit plans based on a technology, product, or service that has been licensed from another company, private inventor, or university with their written approval. In these cases, teams will be required to verify they have written approval upon upload/submission of their business plans on StartupCompete.

13. Revenue streams from the business should not be based solely on deriving revenues from the licensing of its own technologies.

14. The business should not have received more than $200,000 in equity-related capital (such as seed capital or institutional funding), or generated more than $100,000 in gross revenue prior to the current academic year. Revenue generated during a test-marketing project may be excluded from this provision.

15. The business plan must represent the original work of team members. For example: If a team builds a business plan upon an idea from an outside person or entity, the team cannot take material or information (such as market and competitive analysis, financials, operating strategies, etc.) from that person or entity for use in their Governor’s Cup business plan. By submitting a plan into the competition, the team automatically affirms this requirement. Any team submitting a plagiarized business plan will be disqualified.

16. Plans may not contain fabricated information about (but not limited to) the following: backgrounds, experience and educational levels of members of the management team, stage of product development, product performance claims, or market survey results.

Pre-Application Information:

Each team must submit an “Intent to Compete” via Startup Compete by 11:59 PM Friday, February 16, 2018, whether it intends to enter a business plan or is still undecided.

Business plans are due at 11:59 PM Sunday, February 25, 2018.

Semi-Finalist and Finalist Teams advancing to Oral Presentations will be announced online Monday, March 12, at noon.

The Oral Presentation Rounds of the competition will be March 29 and 30. Twelve Undergraduate Division semi-finalists, Agriculture Division finalists, and Innovation Division finalists will present Thursday, March 29. Six Undergraduate Division finalists will be announced Thursday evening. The Undergraduate Division and Graduate Division finalists will present Friday, March 30. Winners will be announced at the Awards Luncheon, Tuesday, April 18.

Key Competition Dates:
-February 16: Intents to Compete Due
-February 25: Business Plans Due
-March 12: Announcement of Semi-Finalists and Finalists
-March 28: C. Sam Walls Entrepreneur Educator Nominations Due
-March 29-30: Oral Presentations - Statehouse Convention Center/Little Rock Marriott
-April 18: Awards Luncheon - Wally Allen Ballroom, Statehouse Convention Center, Little Rock, 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Additional information may be found here:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Register Online:

Marie Bruno

Arkansas Capital
200 River Market Avenue, Suite 400
Little Rock, AR 72201

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Arkansas