Business Plan Competition 2023
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The St. Thomas Business Plan Competition is open to all St. Thomas students and recent alumni with plans for a new company or with a business that’s been incorporated less than 12 months.

Have you participated in the Fowler Business Concept Challenge, the Lemonade Stand or any other business competition? This is the logical next step to get your plans on paper, move your business forward and get paid in the process.

There are two divisions of competition – undergraduate and graduate/recent alumni – with a top prize in each of $10,000 cash. Additional prizes totaling $8,000 more are awarded to teams that advance to the finals division.

New for 2023: The Fowler Global Social Innovation Award (FGSIC)

If your business is a social venture, you have the opportunity to compete for an additional award. You will self-select for this award during the submission process. Finals for the FGSIC will take place in the morning before the Business Plan Competition Finals. You must advance to the finals round in the Business Plan Competition to be eligible for the FGSIC special award. 

Teams competing in the finals of the Fowler Global Social Innovation Award of the Business Plan Competition will win a minimum of $500 and a first place prize of $6,000.

The top two teams will automatically represent St. Thomas as Global Finalists in June for the chance to compete for prizes ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 for first place.

The FGSIC invites teams to engage with one or more of the United Nation's 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Participants can address any social or environmental problem of their choice as long as it is aligned with at least one of the Global Goals.

To submit to the FGSIC you must complete a 3-5 page summary in addition to your Business Plan submission. To learn more about the requirements, visit the FGSIC website.


In Either Division

  • Submissions must be for a new company or for a business that’s been incorporated less than 12 months and cannot have won prize money in a previous St. Thomas Business Plan Competition.
  • The business should not have received more than $200,000 in equity-related capital (such as seed capital or institutional funding) or generated more than $100,000 in gross revenue prior to the current academic year. Revenue generated during a test-marketing project may be excluded from this provision.
  • Teams typically consist of one to four members.
  • Each team must designate one student or alumni member as the team leader and point-of-contact for the competition.
  • Teams may include non-student or non-alumni members, however, these individuals cannot make up the majority of the team, cannot take part in pitch presentations or win prize money.
  • In the case of submissions from an existing organization, at least one student or alumni team member must be a C-level officer or a director of the organization (e.g., Executive Director, CEO, COO, etc.) or the majority owner of the business.

Undergraduate Division

The competition is open to all currently enrolled University of St. Thomas undergraduate students registered in the semester of the competition with a valid St. Thomas student ID.

Graduate and Recent Alumni Division

The competition is open to currently enrolled graduate students and post-doctoral fellows registered in the semester of the competition with a valid St. Thomas student ID. Recent alumni, students who have graduated within the past five academic years are also eligible to compete in this division.

FGSIC Award Eligibility
Any current student of St. Thomas can compete in the FGSIC individually or as part of a team (with a maximum of five members per team). Alumni are welcome to compete. If an alumni team advances to the June Global Finals, they must have at least one team member that is a current undergraduate, postgraduate or doctoral student at the time of participation. The rest of the team may belong to the same institution, another participating university, another non-participating institute, or not be a student at all.