The UCF Joust New Venture Competition (NVC) is UCF's premier startup showcase event. It celebrates the entrepreneurial efforts of student starters across our campus, introduces them to community leaders, and provides key resources to help launch their ventures. The top four ventures will earn up to $75,000 in cash and essential business services provided by some of our regions most forward-thinking sponsors and donors.


See Competitors Sign Up to Attend


The Joust is open to all UCF students and all types of venture proposals. This event brings together big ideas, big prizes, and prominent leaders to create one of UCF's most exciting student events.  The timeline for this year's event is as follows.  Please check our event calendar for times, locations and additional event details.

2017 Joust New Venture Competition

  • 4/06 Joust Semi-Finals Competition and Reception
  • 4/21 Joust Business Plan Tournament and Award Ceremony (3:00pm - 5:00pm; Pegasus Ballroom) 
  1. Eligibility

    1. The competition is open to all full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at UCF during the 2016-2017 academic year. A venture’s management team must consist of at least one UCF student who has a key role and ownership stake in the venture. Alumni and non-students may participate as members of a venture’s founding team. However, only UCF students may participate in presentations or answer questions from judges.

    2. Submissions may be entered by individuals or teams. The size of teams is not restricted. Team may enter only one idea, and students may participate on only one team.

    3. Entries must be the original work of entrants, and only complete applications will be considered.

    4. As of March 1, 2017, ventures entered in the Joust NVC must not have accepted institutional funding for the idea being presented (i.e. the team cannot have sold equity to anyone outside the team – including non-managing founders) AND must not have accepted non-institutional funding in excess of $150,000 (e.g., contests, grants, friends and family, bank loans, etc.). Teams must disclose prior funding received when they apply for the Joust. Please contact the Organizing Committee by emailing with any questions regarding eligibility.

    5. New venture proposals that have been presented in a previous Joust Final are not eligible to participate.

  2. Rules

    1. Team representatives are required to attend orientation sessions and are encouraged to participate in advising sessions and workshops leading up to the Joust NVC.

    2. Presentations and Q&A are 20 minutes. Contestants will have up to 12 minutes to present their pitch deck (See for examples), with remaining time up to the 20 minute total allocated to Q&A from the judging panel.

    3. Ventures submitted for the Joust cannot be kept confidential, so do not include detailed descriptions of intellectual property in your submission. Participants retain ownership over their ventures, concepts and ideas.

    4. All contestants are expected to compete with integrity and shall not knowingly deceive judges or members of the selection committee. All presented material shall be offered as an accurate representation of your knowledge and expectations, and shall not contain false or misleading statements. Contestants who violate this expectation of integrity are subject to disqualification and revocation of awards.

    5. Joust participants authorize the UCF CEL and affiliates to use a summary of the content of their submission and any video and image submissions for publicity purposes related to the Joust.

    6. The organizers of the Joust reserve the right to disqualify any entry that in its judgment violates the spirit of the competition guidelines.

  3. Important Dates

    2017 Joust New Venture Competition

    • 2/23 Joust Information Session (noon-1:00pm, Blackstone LaunchPad – Student Union)
    • 2/28 Joust Information Session (noon-1:00pm, Blackstone LaunchPad – Student Union)
    • 3/07 Joust Application Workshop (10:00am-noon, StarterSpace – BA 1 Room 135)
    • 3/10 Joust Application Due
    • 3/20 Joust Semi-Finalists Announced
    • 3/21 Mandatory Semi-Finalist Orientation (Time TBD, StarterSpace – BA 1 Room 135)
    • 3/31 Speed Pitch Session – Joust Semi-Finalists
    • 4/03 Enhanced Executive Summary Submission Deadline (8:00am)
    • 4/06 Joust Semi-Finals Competition and Reception
    • 4/17 Business Plan Submission Deadline (8:00am)
    • 4/21 Joust Business Plan Tournament and Award Ceremony
  4. Semi-Finals Details

    Semi-finalists will compete in a semi-final round on Thursday, April 6th, 2017. This event is closed to the public. Semi-Finalists present their plans to judging panels and compete to make it to the final round. A reception for all participants, judges and invited guests will follow. Refreshments will be served and finalists will be announced.

    Location: Fairwinds Alumni Center

    Contestant & Judge Check-in: 1:00pm

    Welcome & Introduction: 1:30pm-1:45pm

    Presentations: 1:45pm–3:30pm

    Final Review & Judging: 3:30pm-3:45pm

    Winners Announced & Reception: 3:45pm–5:00pm

  5. Finals Details

    Finalists will compete on Friday, April 21st, 2017. This event is open to the public. The final four contestants will present their business plans one last time for the public and the finals judges. Contest winners will be announced at the awards ceremony that follows.

    Location: Pegasus Ballroom – Student Union

    Contestant & Judge Check-in: 2:30pm

    Welcome & Introduction: 3:00pm

    Presentations: 3:15pm – 5:00pm

    Judge Deliberation: 5:00pm-5:15pm

    Award Announcement & Conclusion: 5:15pm-5:30pm

    VIP Reception: 5:00pm-6:00pm

  6. Application

    Joust applications are officially closed. Feel free to view our competitors.

    Our advising staff at the Blackstone LaunchPad at UCF is available to help contestants review their business models, financial models, presentation strategies, and pitch decks. We encourage contestants to visit the LaunchPad to improve their odds of qualifying.

    If you have questions, contact us at or (407) 823-3683. Good luck!

  7. Awards and Sponsors

    The (anticipated) cash awards are split as follows:

    • 1st Place – $10,000
    • 2nd Place – $5,000
    • 3rd Place – $3,000
    • 4th Place – $2,000

    Generous community sponsors also provide critical in-kind contributions of business services to the 1st place venture. In recent years, these in-kind contributions have been valued at over $50,000. We will update this page as we confirm this year’s participating sponsors.

  8. Judging Criteria

    The Joust New Venture Competition rewards students for proposing innovations that address important problems, and for developing scalable business models that create value for customers and wealth for our community. The judging criteria we employ reflect these values:


    • Is the value proposition sound?
    • Is the product/service original, innovative and thoughtful?
    • Is the value proposition articulated clearly?
    • Do they clearly identify their target market(s)?
    • Are their target markets large enough to support the growth of this venture?
    • Do they have a competitive advantage over existing solutions?
    • Do they have intellectual property?


    • Is the revenue model logical and comprehensive?
    • Are the financial projections comprehensive and realistic?
    • Do the financials projections reflect an understanding of the economics and potential growth opportunities and/or downside risks for the business?

    TEAM & EXECUTION PLAN (Weight 25%)

    • Is the business operationally feasible?
    • Do they outline measureable and achievable milestones?
    • Do the founding team members have the expertise to launch and/or grow the business? Do they have plans to address gaps in their expertise/experience?
    • Do they properly address risks and provide contingency plans?

    IMPACT (Weight 25%)

    • Does this venture have the ability to make a large impact on society?
    • Will this venture help create jobs and promote regional economic development?
  9. Resources
    • For an excellent, video-style description of the business model canvas, click here.
    • For assistance with creating a financial model, check out SCORE’s website.
    • Sample income/profit and loss statements can be created for you by making an appointment at the Blackstone LaunchPad.
    • Download our Joust Pitch Deck Guide PowerPoint file by clicking here.
  10. Past Winners
    • 2016 – Capacitech (Joe Sleppy)
    • 2015 – Talon Simulations (Brandon Naids, Justin Brooks, Jordan Griffin, Maurice Roberts)
    • 2014 – Quarterwear (Oluwafunola Falade)
    • 2013 – SMARTWAY Sanitary Cup (Taylor Cheeley, Nicole Enterlein)
    • 2012 – ALTR LLC (Alexandra Gramatikas)
    • 2011 – Learn Everywhere (Ace Glenn)
    • 2010 – Vak Shack (Amanda M. Crum)
    • 2009 – Helping Hands Healthcare (Mary Huizenga, Tavia Steele, Jennifer Jernigan, Vinny Tursi)
    • 2008 – Group Table (David Brim)
    • 2007 – Rent to Own (David Brim, Scott Wall)
    • 2006 – NeoCyte Biopharma (Angel Alvarez, Lessenia Cervantes, Maha Khan, Temitayo Akinrefon)
    • 2005 – Adastra Labs (Ricardo Martin, Vesselin Shaoulov, Jannick Rolland, Felix Hamaza-Lup, Sandra Pinheiro)
    • 2004 – Simiosy (Chris Stapleton)