The JOUST New Venture Competition

UCF's Premier Startup Showcase Event


The Joust New Venture Competition 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.

The Joust is open to every UCF student and is accepting of any type of venture proposal. This event brings together big ideas, big prizes, and prominent leaders to create one of UCF’s most exciting student events.


  • The competition is open to all full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at UCF during the 2017-2018 academic year (Summer ’17 – Spring ’18). 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.
  • Submissions may be entered by individuals or teams. The size of teams is not restricted. Teams may enter only one idea, and students may participate on only one team.
  • Entries must be the original work of entrants, and only complete applications will be considered.
  • As of March 1, 2018, ventures entered in the Joust New Venture Competition must not have accepted institutional funding for the idea being presented (i.e. the team cannot have sold equity to anyone outside their 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 loads, 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.
  • New venture proposals that have been presented in a previous Joust Final are not eligible to participate.


  • Team representatives are required to attend orientation sessions and are encouraged to participate in advising sessions and workshops leading up to the Joust NVC.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • The organizers of the Joust reserve the right to disqualify any entry that in its judgment violates the spirit of the competition guidelines.

Important Dates







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!

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.

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?


  • 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?


  • 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.
  • To learn how to develop a business model, click here.

Previous Winners

  • 2017 – Yaupon Brothers American Tea Co.
  • 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)

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