Who will win the 16th annual Business Plan Challenge? Twenty-nine business ideas are still in the mix.
Having the right ingredients in the plan to win over our judges isn’t easy: They were looking at the viability of the business model, the team, marketing strategy, financial projections and more. And a good idea alone won’t get you very far: Our judges were looking for a strong plan for execution.
To be sure, our three panels of judges — all serial entrepreneurs, investors or executives — had their work cut out for them. The Business Plan Challenge contest, sponsored by FIU’s Pino Global Entrerpreneurship Center, drew nearly 200 entries. The Community Track included 101 entries, ranging from fashion, food and education ventures to logistics, finance and real estate concepts. Competition in the high school track was especially fierce, with 68 entries. A couple of entire Ransom Everglades classes broke up into teams and entered, and we love to see that!
For all 196 of you who entered, congratulations! You now have a strong start on your business plan, your road map to growing your business.
Yet the judges persevered and today we are announcing our first cut, the semifinalists. In two weeks, we will announce our finalists, who will also be part of the video competition, and the winners will be announced on May 19. Here, in alphabetical order are the semifinalists:
HIGH SCHOOL TRACK