2018 Venture Pitch Guidelines

2018-19 Venture Pitch Competition


Student teams will compete for funding to launch a new business or significantly advance an existing business. Any student enrolled at Williams during the 2018-2019 academic year is eligible to participate. Competing teams must comprise at least two current Williams students. If teams include non-Williams or non-student team members, the suitability of those members’ roles and team eligibility will be determined by the Business Plan Challenge Advisory Council.

To win, the student teams (at least 2 Williams students) must author and present (“pitch”) their plans at the Challenge.   Teams are strongly encouraged to seek advice and mentorship from faculty, alumni or other external experts.  Teams who have formed for-profit entities (e.g. LLC’s or S-corps) may participate so long as no equity is held by a current member of the Williams College faculty or staff, or by organizers or judges of the Venture Pitch  Challenge.

All competing teams must register for the Challenge on or before Friday February 16th, 2019 by send Tonio Palmer ([email protected]) an e-mail with a short description of the venture proposal and list of team members.  Teams that submit proposals that do not conform to the Challenge guidelines will be given timely suggestions for revising their proposals.

To prepare for the Challenge, teams will be required to meet with mentors and submit interim updates of their plans.  Teams will submit a draft Venture proposal (2-3 pages) by February 16th.

The Challenge will be in March 2019, exact day to be determined and will be open to interested observers.   It will be juried by a panel of business professionals, primarily investors and entrepreneurs.  Each team will be given ten to fifteen minutes to pitch its business plan, followed by a question-and-answer session.   A final 2-3 page summary needs to be submitted prior to the event.

The winning team will receive $15,000 in funding to support its business during the summer of 2018.    Funds will be awarded directly to winning team members, who will be responsible for all income and/or corporate taxes.  


Although measures will be taken to limit the distribution of business plans and related materials, entrants should not assume any right of confidentiality.   Due to the nature of the Challenge, we are not able to ask judges, reviewers, staff, or the audience to sign non-disclosure agreements.  This policy is typical of business plan competitions across the country.

About [email protected]

[email protected] was started in 2011 to encourage Williams students to think creatively about their futures and how to contribute to the world.   It is in this spirit that the Challenge aims to reward those students most serious about exploring new pathways. In partnership with the Williams College Career Center [email protected] programming includes the Business Plan Challenge, Winter Study courses, summer internships, workshops, and seminars.