What's a BMC?

A BMC, or Business Model Competition, allows students to present their business to judges who are experienced entrepreneurs outside the University of Iowa for the opportunity to win seed funding for their business. This competition is based on the methodology of the Business Model Canvas, and requires that companies tell their story beginning from the idea stage, including pivots along the way. Participants will provide a brief overview of their startup’s story from the initial idea to the current stage of the startup. All students enrolled in at least 6 s.h. and in pursuit of a four year degree at an Iowa college with a Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center are eligible to participate. These colleges include: the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, Drake University, and North Iowa Area Community College. This competition is held every spring, and awards a total of $20,000 in cash prizes annually.

Questions participants will answer may include: What were the assumptions in your original business idea? How did you validate them? What has been the result?  A BMC is a presentation on your startups' entire journey, not just its current state - remember this when preparing for questions you may be asked.

Top finalists will be eligible to compete in the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition and the International Business Model Competition (IBMC).

How it works

Participants will present an eight minute long  PowerPoint presentation with a completed Business Model Canvas and financial projections to a panel of judges. The presentation will be followed by four minutes of questions from the judges. The judges and the competition coordinator will be the only people in the room with the presenters. There are two days of competition. Both days include an eight minute pitch and a four minute Q&A time.
 

  • Day 1: Early Stage Companies- Open to all students at the University of Iowa who are serious about starting a company, but are pre-revenue and have not won $1,000 or more in previous competitions. The winner of Day 1 will move forward to compete in Day 2. A total of $6,000 in prizes will be awarded on Day 1.
     
  • Day 2: Advanced Companies- Open to companies with revenue, companies with $1,000 or more in competition winnings, IMIG companies, and student companies from Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Centers outside the University of Iowa, are eligible to compete on Day 2. This day serves as the qualifier for the International Business Model Competition and Pappajohn Business Competition. A total of $14,000 in prizes will be awarded on Day 2.

Eligibility

  • The company must have a student co-founder who has a controlling interest or equal controlling interest with other co-founders
  • Students competing must be serious about starting and growing their business
  • The presenter(s) must be student(s) and either be a co-founder or employee of the company

All students enrolled in at least 6 s.h. and in pursuit of a four-year degree at an Iowa college with a Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center are eligible to participate. These colleges include: the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, Drake University, and North Iowa Area Community College.

$20,000 in prizes 

Funds awarded must be used for the growth of the student business and not for personal purposes. The prize will be awarded to the company, not individuals. In addition, the best student team will be selected to move on to the International Business Model Competition held by Brigham Young University, or the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition for the chance to win up to an additional $35,000!

Qualifiers

This BMC is a qualifier competition for two additional business competitions.
 

  • International Business Model Competition:  The winner of the BMC will represent the state of Iowa at the International Business Model Competition.
     
  • Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition: Each Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center in the state of Iowa is eligible to send three student businesses to the Pappajohn Student Entrepreneurial Venture Competition in Des Moines.

Resources

Check out these resources to help you prepare for the BMC:
Book Summaries
Validating a Business Model

Next Steps

Find out more about the next UI Business Model Competition.

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