Scoring and Ranking Criteria

The business model competition is focused on using a structured, methodical approach to validate assumptions and refine/improve the business model for a new idea or business concept.  This approach differs from a traditional business plan competition in that the creation of a business plan (while excluding input and feedback from possible customers) in and of itself isn’t the best approach for launching a business.  There’s recently been a movement and embrace of Agile and Lean Startup methodologies, which are a result of understanding that early stage companies are in a “search for a sustainable business model” mode rather than “plan and execute on a validated business model” mode.  Because of this, the new format for business competition will focus on the development of a business model and validation of that through completing customer discovery interviews and first hand data collection about the key business hypothesis. 

The criteria outlined below will be used to evaluate how well each team structured their hypothesis, the depth and thoroughness of their customer discovery process and the resulting outcomes and findings. 

Business Hypothesis (20%)

  1. Were the initial hypothesis succinctly stated and included in the relevant parts of the Business Model Canvas?
  2. Did the team utilize the Business Model Canvas to update and adjust hypothesis throughout the course of the competition?
  3. Did the team prioritize the most relevant and critical hypothesis (Value Proposition & Customer Segment) early?

Testing Approach & Customer Discovery Outcomes (40%)

  1. Did the team organize their data collection and customer discovery approach in a well-planned manner?
  2. Were the results of the customer discovery process thorough and complete?
    • Quality: Results of interviews resulted in clear validation (or invalidation) of key hypothesis
    • Quantity: Sufficient data points within specific customer segment(s)
  3. Did the team prioritize the most relevant and critical hypothesis (Value Proposition & Customer Segment) for early validation?

Results & Findings (30%)

  1. Did the team clearly state their insights and learning, how those validated or invalidated a hypothesis, and if that informed any pivots (changes)?
  2. If changes were made, was the pivot the team made supported by evidence or did they fail to pivot when the evidence clearly stated it?
  3. Does the team have significant evidence that the solution is validated (i.e., letters of intent, purchase contracts, sales, partners, etc.)?

Overall Market & Opportunity (10%)

  1. Has the team detailed the possible market size and magnitude of the market?
  2. Are the dynamics of the market and industry appealing for entry?