Entering the Business Plan Challenge? What you need to know


The deadline for the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, our annual celebration of South Florida entrepreneurship, is right around the corner. If you have a business idea or an operating startup that is under 2 years old, you can enter. Our contest welcomes business plan entries from any industry. There is a Community Track, open to all South Floridians; an FIU Track, open to students and alumni of that university; and a High School Track, open to grades 8-12.

Your entry may be up to three pages, and you may attach one more page for a photo, chart or diagram if you wish. Think of it as a meaty executive summary. Experts in all aspects of entrepreneurship — serial entrepreneurs, executives, investors, advisors and academics — will judge your short business plan.

Judges will look at your product or service’s value to the customer, the market opportunity, business model, management team and your marketing and financial strategies. Define the problem your business or business idea is solving, clearly explain your solution, and provide details as to why and how you can make it a success. Finalists compete in an online contest too.

The deadline for the Community or FIU Tracks is 11:59 p.m. March 28; for the High School Track, it’s April 4. Send entries to, or You should get an email confirmation your entry was received; if you do not, please email

What will you win? Valuable exposure in the Miami Herald (you will be profiled in a special section May 9) as well as access to connections, mentorship and business growth opportunities. Find rules and more at

Nancy Dahlberg