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2021 Crummer Rollins Venture Plan Competition 

Crummer Rollins Venture Plan Competition Opens, Announces Rules and Guidelines

The annual Crummer Rollins Venture Plan Competition, hosted by the Crummer Graduate School of Business at Rollins College every year since 2005, is Central Florida’s largest, most prestigious, and comprehensive business plan and pitch competition for startups. Open to all regionally headquartered startups, the annual competition is where teams battle for funding, exposure, and mentorship in front of the region’s top entrepreneurs, leaders, and venture capitalists. Participants compete for prize money and in-kind services before a panel of distinguished judges, all of whom are successful investors and/or entrepreneurs.

Important note: Our 2021 competition will be virtual.

*To download a copy of the application form, see below.

Key Dates:

Friday, December 18, 2020 – Application Goes Live

The submission form and instructions can be accessed by creating an account through this page.

Monday, January 11, 2021 midnight – Submission Deadline
All submission materials must be received by the deadline in order for teams to participate in the competition. No extensions will be given. A panel of qualified judges will evaluate the submissions and select the Semi-Finalists. Up to 16 teams will be selected to move on to the Semi-Final Round.

Friday, January 29, 2021 – Semi-Finalists Announced
The Semi-Finalists will be announced to all participants by email no later than 6:00 pm on Friday, January 29.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021 – Pitch Workshop
The Semi-Finalists are highly encouraged to participate in a virtual private pitch workshop conducted by Rollins Crummer entrepreneurship faculty.

W-Th, February 10-11, 2021 – Semi-Finalists Dry Run
The Semi-Finalists will have an opportunity to present to Rollins Crummer entrepreneurship faculty and 1st round judges to receive feedback on their presentations in a consequence free environment in advance of the Semi-Finals.

Friday, February 19, 2021, midnight – Slide Decks Due
Semi-Finalists are required to submit their slide decks that will be used in the Semi-Final round of the competition.  Subsequent changes may be made by Finalists after the Semi-Final round.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021, 12:30 pm – 5:00 pm – Semi-Final Round
Presentations of no more than 8 minutes will be made by the Semi-Finalist teams to a qualified panel of judges. Up to 5 minutes of questions by the judges will be asked to each team. The judges will determine the 3 teams that will move on to the Final Round of competition. Finalists will be notified following the deliberation of the judges, immediately following the Semi-Final presentations.

Thursday, March 18, 2021, 5:30 pm — 7:30 pm – Final Round
The 3 teams chosen for the Finals will present again to a new panel of qualified judges. Presentations of no more than 8 minutes will be made by the Finalist teams. Up to 15 minutes of questions by the judges will be asked to each team. The judges will determine the winners of the competition. Winners will be notified following the deliberation of the judges, immediately after the final presentations.


The judges for the Preliminary, Semi-Final and Final rounds of the competition will be comprised of experienced entrepreneurs and investors in the business community. While each judge has his/her own idea about what constitutes a great opportunity for a new venture, there are some criteria that all judges will take into account:

  • Product or Service: description of product or service, features and benefits, pricing, current stage of development and intellectual property, if any
  • Market Opportunity: size of market opportunity, competitive analysis, needs identification and gaps identified in current product and service offerings in the market
  • Go to Market Strategy: clearly outlined sales and marketing strategy
  • Management Team: backgrounds of key individuals, ability to execute strategy, personnel gaps and organizational structure
  • Financials: presented in summary form, easy to understand, consistent with plan, well researched and thought through
  • Use of Capital: if $25,000 were given to the company today, how would the funds be utilized


Finalists will all receive cash prizes. Prize distribution will be as follows:

  • 1st prize:  $25,000
  • 2nd prize: $10,000
  • 3rd prize:  $5,000

In addition to the prize money, the 2020 competition winner also received a Finalist position for entry into the StarterStudio Seed Fund — an opportunity to qualify for up to $25k in a convertible note on successful completion and due diligence, and in-kind service offerings, such as strategic consultation, accounting, and legal support. The total value of last year’s Finalist prize package, including cash distributed to the winners and in-kind services from our partners, was over $100,000.

Prize Money Distribution:

Prior to the competition, participants must elect how they prefer all prize money won to be distributed, whether to a business entity associated with the competing venture concept or to the individual participants on the team. If to individuals, it must also be specified if the prize money is to be distributed evenly among the participants on the team or divided up in some other way by percentage of total prize money won. If the total prize money awarded to a team is in excess of $10,000, the prize money must be distributed to a business entity associated with the competing concept. If no such business entity exists, the team must form an entity associated with the competing concept in order to receive the prize money.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • The competition is open to ventures headquartered in Central Florida, including the following counties: Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Polk, Lake, Volusia, and Brevard.
    • If the venture is headquartered outside of the region, a Rollins affiliate (i.e., alumni, faculty, staff or student) must be a member of the management team and an equity holder.
  • Revenues generated by the proposed venture must not have exceeded $250,000 over the life of the venture as of December 31, 2020.
  • The proposed venture must not have raised more than $250,000 in debt or equity financing from any source other than management team members as of December 31, 2020. Teams must clearly disclose the amounts and sources of all capital raised in their entries.
  • Submissions and presentations must be the original work of the competition teams.
  • All ventures must adhere to legal and ethical standards.


Learn more:



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About the author

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Diane Sears

A career journalist, author and advocate for business growth, Diane Sears is the CEO, editor and publisher of i4 Business. She is also the founder and president of DiVerse Media LLC, which has handled content marketing projects including nonfiction books, white papers, executive speeches and scripts since 2000. She is co-founder of the nonprofit Go for the Greens Foundation, which helps connect women-owned and minority-owned business owners with growth opportunities internationally.

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