The goal of the Purdue University Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition is to provide an opportunity for Purdue students to learn about entrepreneurship through the development and presentation of a business idea to a panel of judges.

Participants in the competition will have an opportunity to define their ideas in commercial terms and to compete for substantial cash prizes that could be used to further the commercialization of their inventions.

Competition Structure

Registered teams must choose one division to compete in: Gold or Black.

"Gold" or open division teams comprise undergraduate students, graduate students or a combination of both. Staff and faculty of Purdue University may be included in the team. Off-campus personnel may also be included, but cannot make up more than 50% of the team. Student members of the team must be enrolled at Purdue University at the time of registration.

"Black" or undergraduate division teams must be wholly made up of currently enrolled undergraduate students. All members of the team must be enrolled undergraduate Purdue students at the time of registration. The team will have a faculty advisor, who at minimum can verify the team's undergraduate student status.

Prize Package

The prize package for the two divisions is as follows:

PlaceGold DivisionBlack Division
1st $30,000 $20,000
2nd $15,000 $10,000
3rd $7,500 $5,000
4th $3,750 $2,500
5th $3,750 $2,500
Subtotals $60,000 $40,000

In addition to the cash prizes, Ice Miller LLP will provide free legal and consulting services to the top three finishers in the Gold Division. The total value of the services will be $5,000 for first place, $3,000 for second place and $2,000 for third place.

Stages of Competition

Phase I: 
Teams must register online before the closing of the registration process.

Phase II: 
Teams will complete and submit an executive summary following competition guidelines. Judges select semi-finalists from each division to proceed to Phase III.

Phase III: 
Teams will expand their executive summary into a complete business plan per requirements defined by the competition. Finalists from each division will be selected to proceed to Phase IV.

Phase IV: 
Teams will make a presentation to a panel of judges.

Awards will be given based upon the business plan and the presentation per the judging process and criteria. Prizes will be awarded at an evening awards banquet after all presentations and feedback sessions.

For more information on competition deadlines, see the competition calendar.

Team Eligibility

All West Lafayette Purdue students are eligible to participate in the competition. Non-students such as Purdue alumni, faculty, staff and local residents can also be team members (if they can demonstrate a connection to Purdue University), but currently enrolled Purdue students must make the final presentations to the judges. If any team violates the language, spirit or intent of this rule, the team may be disqualified and any prize money forfeited based on the sole discretion of the organizers, who shall be held harmless due to such actions.

"Teams" that placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd in a previous Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition are not eligible to enter the competition. Individuals that placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd that enter as part of another team, pitching a different idea or service are eligible. Teams in the Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition are allowed to submit only one business plan per year and students may not be a member of more than one team.

Eligible Business Ideas and Technologies

Teams will create a business plan describing a business idea that is wholly original and based on the independent thinking of the team. If the idea includes or is based on scientific knowledge and developments that might be considered "intellectual property," the members of the team must certify and attest to the fact that the science or innovation is the result of their independent work. Any collaborators participating in the work must give their permission for the science or technology to be presented in an open forum, and any monies resulting from the competition will be awarded to the team, unless a company has been formed and has been listed in the registration process as the award recipient. Please note, when individuals are awarded prize money, Student Financial Aid will reduce the amount of your prize award by any outstanding balance that you owe to Purdue University.

The certification of the ownership of the technology must be verifiable. Failure to do so will result in disqualification of the team and/or forfeiture of any prize money won. Teams will not be permitted to present ideas based on science and technology owned by third parties who are not a member of the team or Purdue University. The organizers of the competition may disqualify any team failing to comply with the spirit and intent of this rule and shall be held harmless due to such action.

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

© 2015 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact The Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship at dpweb@purdue.edu.