The New TigerLaunch 2010: Princeton's Business Plan Competition


What is TigerLaunch?

TigerLaunch is Princeton University's Business Plan Competition.  The competition is hosted by the Princeton Entrepreneurship Club.  The focus of TigerLaunch is to provide an integrative learning opportunity. Students gain practical experience by writing a plan for a new business venture and presenting and discussing it with judges whose backgrounds include venture capital, investment banking, and entrepreneurship.  

This year the contest, now the 10th time it has been run, will be better than ever! We are offering two tracks this year: a social entrepreneurship track and a business entrepreneurship track. So far we have over $20,000 in prize money, and it will be dispersed to student teams that submit business plans with the greatest promise. 
The prize money is intended to catalyze further development and commercialization of the team’s idea, and this year ReachOut ’56 & ’81 has generously sponsored the entire social entrepreneurship track.  While it is hoped that business plans developed forTigerLaunch will reflect real opportunities, there is no obligation for the winners to implement their business plans.
 TigerLaunch has three prime objectives:

      - To educate students in the process of creating and evaluating new business ventures

      - To prepare students for opportunities in entrepreneurship sometime during their careers

       - To harness for the benefit of Princeton students the unique technical and business resources that the greater Princeton community has to offer.  


Entry Guidelines

These basic requirements must be met in order to enter the competition:

1.    Teams must consist of at least one Princeton University undergraduate or graduate student. Only the Princeton University students on a team will be permitted to receive monetary awards and present during the Business Plan Workshop and Super Saturday. It is encouraged that teams consist of 2 to 4 people, but there is no minimum or maximum.

2. Teams must choose which track (business or social) they wish to compete in. This will appear as an option on the executive summary submission page. When defining which track your project belongs to, consider the following:

·   Social Entrepreneurship Track is characterized by nonprofit or for-profit business startups that primarily focus on making a social impact.

·   Business Entrepreneurship Track is characterized by all business start-ups not meeting the social track criteria.

3.    An idea that plans to create value through ‘synergy’ or ‘better management’ of an existing company is an unacceptable submission. The contest is designed to provide participants with a realistic experience in entrepreneurial endeavors, and therefore ideas will be evaluated based on their likely success in the current market. The following are particularly suggested ideas:

•    the invention of a new market or market segment through a completely new idea

•    new non-profit enterprises (for the Social Entrepreneurship Track)

4.    Significant contributions from individuals outside of a business plan’s team must be recognized in the team’s business plan. While the Contest is an extra-curricular activity, and therefore not subject to the guidelines of the Princeton University Honor Code, we expect submissions to conform to its general principles. Therefore, unrecognized contributions from a third party may be grounds for disqualification.

Executive Summary Submission - Deadline: 12/18/09

You must sign up at the registration website by December 18, 2009 with an uploaded executive summary, and all other fields filled. We will only look at applications for which all the fields are filled. The top 10-15 executive summaries, as judged by members of our faculty and our alumni, will proceed to the main TigerLaunch competition.

The Executive Summary should be 1 to 2 pages (the shorter and more concise, the better), and should generally include the following: Business Name, Business Concept, Sales and Marketing information, Competitive Advantage, Basic Financial Plan and Management Team. There is no set structure or format that it must have, but we recommend taking a look at the following resources to guide your writing:

 - Guy Kawasaki, renowned entrepreneur, venture capitalist and evangelist, here gives his 7 key components of a successful Executive Summary. His guide offers a step-by-step method that is a great way to structure your own summary.

 - Palo Alto Software's Tim Berry gives some basic information about how to write an Executive Summary.

 - MIT's Entrepreneurship Competition website has some great information about how to write and structure an executive summary. Take a look at all their links.


Take a look at all this, write your summary, attend the workshop, submit it at , and good luck!


What happens after the Executive Summary submission?

December 18- January 3 - Summaries Judged: Your executive summary will be read by a panel of judges. The top 10-15 executive summaries will advance to the main TigerLaunch competition as "TigerLaunch Semi-Finalists." Semi-Finalists will be notified of their status on January 4. The TigerLaunch Semi-Finalists will then have the following dates and deadlines to keep in mind:

January 4 - Mentorship Begins: You will be paired up with your mentor during Winter Break and will start working with them on January 4, 2010. Your mentor will be a business executive, entrepreneur, investor, consultant, or someone else who can provide advice as you write your business plan. This is a unique feature of TigerLaunch, as opposed to other business plan competitions, and we pride ourselves in the hands-on experience and contacts that contestants gain from their mentorship experience.

February 6 - Final Business Plan Submission Deadline: Your mentor will help you get to this stage, but this is when the final business plans will be due.

February 20 - Super Saturday: This is the final day of the competition, where the Semi-Finalists will all present in the morning, and "Finalists" will present a longer pitch to the full panel of judges and members of the public in the afternoon.

Judging Criteria

This judging criteria applies to the Executive Summary, as well as final Business Plan and Presentation stages of the competition: Judges will be asked to evaluate the plans based upon their likelihood of actually becoming the basis of a viable business. This consideration will include such factors as the degree of creativity and innovation embodied in the basic opportunity definition and business concept, the appropriateness of the strategy for exploiting the opportunity, the reasonableness of the plan for financing the business, and the team’s ability to actually implement the plan. Judges will make further distinctions based upon the potential of the business to create value, although they will be explicitly instructed not to use the typically very high venture capitalist’s hurdle for the absolute scale of the business. We wish to preserve the opportunity for a small scale, “boot-strapped” venture, which might not require much capital, and thus, would typically be uninteresting to a traditional venture fund. There will be separate judging criteria available for social entrepreneurship and business entrepreneurship tracks, and will be posted as available from the judges.


The TigerLaunch 2010 prize fund will be over $20,000 (we're still finalizing the details!). ReachOut ’56 & ’81 is generously sponsoring the entire social entrepreneurship track.  Prizes will be given to the Winner, 2nd Place, 3rd Place, Audience Favorite, and Best Written Business Plan of TigerLaunch’s two tracks. All the prizes will be given on Super Saturday, February 20 to those who progress from the Executive Summary stage to "TigerLaunch Semi-Finalist" stage. More details on prizes coming soon, but this is definitely going to be the BIGGEST AND BEST TigerLaunch yet.