$50,000 in cash and prizes!


The Joust New Venture Competition presented by Viatek 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.

Event Details

Application workshops will be held from 1:00-2:00 p.m. in StarterSpace (Business Administration 1, Rm. 135) on the following dates:

Thursday, February 13, 2020 – StarterSpace BA 1 135 3pm-4pm
Tuesday, February 18, 2020 – StarterSpace BA 1 135 12pm-1pm

Application Deadline

Applications to participate in the Joust New Venture Competition are due no later than, February 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EST.


The Semi-Final event will be held on Thursday, March 26, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. in the Business Administration I building (BA1).


The Joust New Venture Competition Finals will be held on Thursday, April 9, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. in the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.

$50,000 in cash and prizes sounds pretty neat, right?

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 2019-2020 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 February 24, 2020, 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.

Please contact the UCF Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at cel@ucf.edu with any questions regarding eligibility.


Teams that advance to the Semi-Finals and Finals are encouraged to participate in advising sessions and workshops leading up to the Joust.

Contestants will have 12 minutes to present their pitch deck, with 8 minutes allocated to Q&A from the judging panel.

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.


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 the Blackstone LaunchPad to improve their odds of qualifying.

If you have questions, contact us at cel@ucf.edu or chat with us by calling (407) 823-3683.

Awards & Sponsors

The anticipated cash awards 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. In recent years, these in-kind contributions have been valued at over $25,000.

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 reflects these values:

Proposed Product/Service & Market Opportunity

Weight 25%

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?

Financial/Revenue Model & Financial Projections

Weight 25%

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?

Team & Execution Plan

Weight 25%

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?


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?


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 pitch deck to help organize your presentation in a simple, easy-to-follow format.

Our coaches in the Blackstone Launchpad are available to help review your application and answer any questions you may have about your venture proposal. Visit cel.ucf.edu/blackstone to schedule an appointment.

Previous Winners
2019 – Wawwe (Rafaela Frota)
2018 – ThorORE (Dylan Weitzman, Brandon Carpenter)
2017 – Yaupon Brothers American Tea Co. (Matthew White, Kyle White)
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)