Michigan State University’s student-entrepreneurs can expect a deeper, more meaningful experience in creating and launching their own startups through the merger of mid-Michigan’s two pre-eminent business model competitions.

The Burgess New Venture Challenge combines the Broad Business Model Competition (sponsored by the Eli Broad College of Business and its Burgess Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation) and the GreenLight Michigan Business Model Competition (managed by Spartan Innovations).

The Burgess New Venture Challenge logo

The Burgess New Venture Challenge logo

The newly formed competition focuses on providing MSU students the resources, support, and programming necessary to maximize their ideas and potential.

“By merging these two competitions, we’re ensuring greater experiential learning outcomes,” said Ken Szymusiak, managing director of the Burgess Institute. “Going forward, every student who commits to the program will see curriculum and structural support intended to benefit the growth of their startups.”

Traditionally, both competitions occurred during the same spring timeframe. “We’ve been discussing the combining of these two events for some time,” said Paul Jaques, director of student and community engagement at Spartan Innovations. “GreenLight Michigan has been a part of mid-Michigan’s entrepreneurial community for six years, now. It’s time for it to evolve.”

Hosting both events in the spring was creating “a bit of overlap. Teams that were doing well were entering both competitions,” said Szymusiak. “Our goal is to encourage greater student involvement.”

Ken Szymusiak

Ken Szymusiak

The new competition will be staged over several months of the school year. “That’s how we’ll ensure quality,” Szymusiak said. “We’re making it more of a program. Instead of knocking out a [business] plan in a weekend, students will get the chance to test and refine their ideas.”

Students will be able to apply to enter the competition during the fall semester. During that time, they will be asked to attend five workshops—each of which will be offered several times during the fall semester—on topics related to creating a successful business model.

Then, at the start of the spring term, applicants will meet and be paired with mentors who will help them further develop their plans. There will be a plan completion deadline sometime in February, with judging taking place in March. Competition finals will take place in late April.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re a freshman or a PhD student. The plan and your ability to demonstrate a strong operational and sales strategy will rule the day,” Szymusiak said.

Like the Broad Business Model contest, the Burgess New Venture Challenge will offer cash or scholarship prizes totaling $56,000.

The new competition, like the old Broad Business Model competition, is open to all MSU students. Non-students who have had interest in applying to 2019’s GreenLight Michigan competition can still sign up for other statewide competitions, like Accelerate Michigan, which are open to all.

For more information on the Burgess New Venture Challenge, go to eship.msu.edu/burgessnvc.