The Joust New Venture Competition presented by Echelon celebrates the entrepreneurial efforts of student starters across our campus by introducing them to community leaders, and providing key resources to help launch their ventures. The top four ventures will earn up to $50,000 in cash and essential business services provided by some of our region’s most forward-thinking sponsors and donors.
The Joust is open to all UCF students and accepts all types of venture proposals. This competition brings together big prizes, ideas, and leaders to create one of UCF’s most exciting student events.
Additional event details will become available soon.
Applications to participate in the Joust New Venture Competition are due no later than Friday, March 5th, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
The Semi-Final event will be held virtually on Thursday, March 25, 2021 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Attendance is by invitation only.
The Joust New Venture Competition Finals will be held virtually on Thursday, April 8th, 2021 from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Attendance will be open to registered guests. We will promote the event registration site here as we near the event date.
Participate to win over $50,000 in cash and prizes.
We celebrate the entrepreneurial efforts of student starters across campus and introduce them to community leaders to provide key resources to help launch their ventures.
The competition is open to all full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at UCF during the 2020-2021 academic year. Each 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, but only UCF students may participate in presentations or answer questions from judges.
Submissions may be entered by individuals or teams. The size of teams is not restricted. Applicants may only submit one idea, and students may only participate on one team.
Entries must be the students’ original work, and only complete applications will be considered.
As of March 5, 2021, ventures entered in the Joust New Venture Competition 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.
New venture proposals that have been presented in a previous Joust Final are not eligible to participate.
Teams that advance to the Semi-Finals and Finals are encouraged to participate in advising sessions and workshops leading up to the Joust. You can find our orientation events and sign up for Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars Network coaching sessions at cel.ucf.edu.
Contestants will have 10 minutes to present their pitch deck, with 6 minutes allocated to Q&A from the judging panel. We will allow presenters to use the balance of their 16 minute allocation if the presentation runs short.
Ventures submitted for the Joust are not kept confidential, so do not include detailed descriptions of intellectual property in your submission. Participants retain ownership over their ventures, concepts, and ideas.
All contestants are expected to compete with integrity and shall not knowingly deceive judges or members of the selection committee. All presented materials 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.
Joust participants authorize UCF, CEL, and its affiliates to use a summary of the content of their submission and any video and image submissions for publicity purposes related to the Joust.
The organizers of the Joust reserve the right to disqualify any entry that, in their judgement, violates the spirit of the competition guidelines.
Please contact Dr. Cameron Ford at email@example.com or call (407) 823-3700 with any questions regarding eligibility and rules.
To begin the application you will have to log into or create an account on our Startuptree platform (this only takes a minute!). Once you are logged in, the application requires contestants to address a series of basic questions about their venture ideas including:
- Problem – Describe the problem and customer frustrations you intend to address
- Solution – Describe how your offerings (products/services) address the problem
- Market Opportunity – Describe your target market, market size, and potential growth
- Business Model – Describe how you will you earn revenue
- Competition – Describe current competitors/alternatives and how your solution is better
- Marketing & Sales – Describe how people will learn about and acquire/buy your offerings
- Team – Describe your team members (individuals are welcome to apply)
- Current Status – Describe progress you’ve made interacting with users, customers, partners, etc.
- Financial Projections & Milestones – Describe your path to sustainability and success (3-5 years)
Answers must be concise, limited to just a few sentences each (there are character limits for each question). Contestants will be provided feedback from our application review judges when we announce the proposals that advance to our semi-final round.
Also, our advising staff at the Blackstone LaunchPad in the UCF Student Union Lobby is available to help contestants review their business models, financial models, presentation strategies, and pitch decks. We encourage contestants to visit https://ucf.startuptree.co/discover/people/mentors to select and schedule an expert coach. Past experience shows that coaching significantly contributes to students’ odds of qualifying. If you have questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (407) 823-2642.
Awards and Sponsors
The anticipated cash awards provided by Echelon are shared among our finalists as follows:
– 1st Place – $12,000
– 2nd Place – $7,000
– 3rd Place – $4,000
– 4th Place – $2,000
Generous community sponsors also provide critical in-kind contributions of business services to the 1st Place venture.
Proposted Product or Service and Market Opportunity
- 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?
- Do they have a competitive advantage over existing solutions?
- Do they have intellectual property?
Teams and Execution Plan
- Is the business operationally feasible?
- Do they outline measurable 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?
Financial Revenue Model and Financial Projections
- Is the revenue model logical and comprehensive?
- Are the financial projections comprehensive and realistic?
- Do the financial projections reflect an understanding of the economics and potential growth opportunities and/or downside risks for the business?
- Does this venture have the ability to make a large impact on society?
- Will this venture help create jobs and promote regional economic development?