First, because they came out ahead of Green Valley Solar. Winning a Business-Plan Competition: Look for Turmoil Cassidy suggests looking for a business opportunity in an area where there's some sort of turmoil, confusion, or rapid growth.
Talk to enough people and they know it's your idea. One of the smartest things Burke has seen is making an index slide in PowerPoint that links to backup slides containing answers to possible questions. Make a beta site and have family members try it. A prototype makes data collection easier. We were contacted by groups outside of the state because of the press associated with the contest.
There are no guarantees in life, or in venture capital. Cost: No fee to apply.
Industry focus: Tech. But those who are not sure of their innate talent, or who need to join a partner to take off, might be able to do so in the right environment where there is a lot of handholding, where the cost of failure is low, and the rewards for success are high.
Second, because I attended the final awards reception, talked to the judges, faculty advisors and contestants, and everybody seemed to be very comfortable with the final decision. Good show.
If you want to invest, do so after Aha: If you truly want to invest in ventures as part of a business-development competition, invest in the venture s that takes off with limited or no cash.