Deadline to enter Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge is April 5; your questions answered


A chance to perfect your pitch for the Challenge

FIU’s Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center, our sponsor, and Ricardo Weisz, who has judged the FIU Track for several years, are generously offering a free webinar for Business Plan Challenge participants on Tuesday. The webinar is open to participants in all three tracks, and it will include tips on pitching to investors, such as the do's and don'ts of a successful pitch; learning how to engage your audience with a captivating presentation; and gathering the skills to convey your message to investors.

The “Perfect Your Pitch for the Challenge” webinar will take place on Tuesday, April 1, from 11 a.m. to noon.

RSVP here:

No more procrastinating! Your Business Plan Challenge entry is due Saturday at 11:59 p.m., but you don’t have to wait until the last minute.

Your entry is a three-page business plan. For tips on what to include see the Business Plan Challenge Rules and Guidelines here. You are allowed one additional page for graphic material; many contestants use that for their financial chart.

Need help? FIU’s Pino Global Entrepreneurship Center, our sponsor, is hosting a free webinar on Tuesday, presented by Challenge judge Ricardo Weisz; see more information here. And if you missed our Business Plan Bootcamp, see a recap with tips here.

Email your entries to for the Community Track; for the FIU track; and highschoolchallenge@Mia for grades 8-12 (yes, eighth graders are welcome to compete). You should get an automatic reply from me. If you do not, please email so that I can double check that you are entered.

In past years, 90 percent of the submissions come in on the last day, but there is one advantage to entering early: I will be able to check and confirm your entry before the deadline, making sure it was transmitted correctly and is complete. This gives you a chance to rectify it before the deadline if something is missing.

Once we receive the entries, they go to the judges — mentors, investors, executives and serial entrepreneurs — for preliminary and final judging. The Miami Herald video team will film the elevator pitches of the top six finalists in the Community and FIU Tracks for the People’s Pick, our popular online contest.

The three winners and People’s Pick in each track — as well as an overall Challenge Champion — will be profiled in the Miami Herald in a special report on May 19.

Your contest headquarters is Some questions we received last week:

Q. I entered last year but did not win. May I enter again?

A. Yes, we encourage that! And we’ve had past participants who have won the second time around. As long as your business is not more than 2 years old and you weren’t one of the top three winners, you can enter again.

Q. Does my cover page count in my page limit?

A. As long as your cover page is solely that and does not include content of the plan, we won’t count it. The business plan can be up to three pages and you can have one additional page for a photo, diagram or chart.

Q. Can I include links in my document?

A. Sure! However, we don’t require our judges to look at them — that is up to the judges — so make certain your most important information is in the plan itself.

Q. My team lives all over the country. Can we still enter?

A. As long as one core team member is based in South Florida, that is fine.

Q. I have two ideas. May I enter them both?

A. Yes, as separate entries.

Last minute questions? Email me at ndahlberg

Good luck!

Read more Business Plan Challenge stories from the Miami Herald

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