Do you want to win cash for your entrepreneurial venture? The “Young, Gifted & Funded” business plan and pitch competition will help support your venture through a cash prize, access to mentors in your industry, and ongoing support through the U.S. Black Chambers Economic Development Corporation’s Millennial Entrepreneurs Redefined Program. The Top (5) winners of our regional business plan competitions, or “semifinalists,” will advance to a final, virtual pitch competition where they will compete for $5,000 cash towards their venture.

Eligible applicants have (1) a seed or early-stage venture with $0 -$10,000 in revenue, (2) have attended, or are registered to attend, a Millennial Entrepreneurs Redefined workshop in a designated city, and (3) have at least 25% ownership in the business. Business Plan competition winners will be notified no more than (2) weeks after the competition closes. The top (2) winners from each regional competition will be invited to compete for a $5,000 cash prize in the final-round pitch competition to be held in August 2017.

Business Plan Competition Schedule

(semi-finalists advance to the virtual pitch competition)

Atlanta & Detroit: Entries due May 19th 

Dallas & Chicago: Entries due June 2nd 

Oakland & DC: Entries due July 14th 

New Orleans & St. Louis: Entries due August 3rd


Virtual Pitch Competition  August 28, 2017

To Apply

  1. Attend and/or register to attend a Millennials Redefined Workshop in a city near you, thereby joining one of our regional cohorts. Attending a workshop is not a condition to apply, but you must be registered for a workshop in order to be eligible for the competition. By becoming a member of our regional cohort, you will have access to resources to help you prepare for the competition, as well as the option to be linked to a mentor within your venture’s industry.
  1. Submit a Business Model Canvas based on this diagram: may complete your entry by filling out the boxes within the Business Model Canvas, or type it in narrative form to not exceed 10 double-spaced pages. A completed Canvas should be emailed to by the competition due date.
  1. Submit an Executive Summary narrative that is no longer than 5 pages double-spaced. The Executive Summary should be emailed to by the competition due date.


  1. Participants may apply as individuals or as teams. A participant can only be on one team.
  2. Each team/individual can submit one new business venture.
  3. The business plan should include a business model canvas and an executive summary.
  4. The business plan and model should be original work.
  5. The business plan and model will be treated as company confidential.
  6. All material must be submitted prior to the due date. Late entries will not be accepted.
  7. A panel of experienced entrepreneurs and investors will judge the entries. Only entries that meet a minimum criteria of completion will be assessed. USBC reserves the right to disqualify any team/individual/venture at any time.
  8. Prize money will be awarded to business entities and not individuals. The business entity must have at least 25% ownership by one of the members of the winning team.


Each regional competition will have three judges who will evaluate plans using a 100 Point Scale. Competition entries will be assessed using the following point-system:

  • Business Model Canvas: 50 points
  • Executive Summary: 40 points
  • Sample Customer Interviews: 5 points
  • Team Member Profiles: 5 points

Judges will determine if the team has put due diligence into addressing a need/market opportunity, understanding the market, defining the approach and the real-life validity of the idea, as well as the due diligence necessary for customer development. It will be expected that teams follow the Lean Startup process and discuss how iterations have strengthened their venture proposals.  Judges will specifically look for instances of testing assumptions, following the evidence and pivoting when needed. Judges will disregard assumptions about market, pricing, and approach if there hasn’t been an attempt to validate them by actually talking to customers or intended customers.

In all instances, judges will use the same scoring criteria and follow the rubric as outlined below:

Scoring Criteria

REGION: ___________________________

BUSINESS: ___________________________


Scoring Criteria







  • How sound are the business tactics?
  • How dynamic or cutting edge was the business idea?
  • How clear was the statement of the problem or opportunity?


  • How well does the plan illustrate an understanding of the customer’s problem/pain point?
  • How well does the plan show an understanding of the market?
  • How well did the team identify the assumptions crucial to their business?


  • How well did the the team design and carry out their tests?
  • How well did the team take action based on the results of the test?
  • How well did the team show that customers would prefer their solution?


  • How detailed where the company’s differentiators?
  • Will the business stand out and attract customers in the marketplace?
  • How unique is their value proposition and have they identified barriers to entry?


  • Did they arrive at a viable business model?
  • Can the proposed business idea attract customers and make money for the business?
  • Are you confident they can address key risks related to the business?
  • How would you rate the proposed plan reasonableness and/or achievability?
  • What level of investment is the team asking for? What are they willing to give?
  • How will they protect the investor’s investment?
  • If given capital today, how quickly could the products and/or proposed improvements get to market?

Qualitative Scoring and Notes

  1. What did the business plan do well?
  1. What are some areas the business plan miss?
  1. General Comments

Advancing to Virtual Pitch Competition  

Winners (teams or individuals) of the regional business plan competition will be invited to the YFG virtual pitch competition. Judges would have received and reviewed the team’s executive summary prior to the pitch. Teams will be judged based on presentation and the judges’ collective determination as to whether that team is ready for capital immediately.

Competition Philosophy  

The Business Plan Competition is informed by the Lean StartUp methodology, a process which shortens the product development cycle by using hypothesis-driven experimentation and constant iteration to validate and vet ideas. It allows the entrepreneur to treat their idea as an assumption; it then demands the entrepreneur to develop a test for validating that assumption.

This process encourages entrepreneurs to “get out of the building” and test the ideas with real people in real places. The Business Model Canvas is the tool that logs the entrepreneur’s experiment through a search and discovery process culminating in a business model based in on evidence and proof.

For questions or concerns: