Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility Requirements

Please read the eligibility requirements below in full before registering for the competition.


For all categories, teams may include both Johns Hopkins University students (undergraduate, graduate and/or post-docs) and non-JHU affiliates; however, at least one team member must meet BOTH of the following requirements:

  • Be a current part-time, full-time, or Postdoctoral student of any of the nine divisions of Johns Hopkins University at any point during the current academic year.
  • Be a member of the venture’s startup management team.

All categories are open to entries from any division of Johns Hopkins and members of teams can span more than one division of the university.

Additionally, competitors must not be restricted from participation under U.S. export control regulations and sanctions programs (a list of sanctions programs and country information can be found at https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Pages/Programs.aspx).


Teams may be any size, but must include at least one student that meets the requirements outlined for Student Enrollment and Team Composition.


Non-students may be members of the venture’s management team and may participate in planning the venture. Non-student team members are welcome to participate in all rounds of the Business Plan Competition. Faculty advisers or other team mentors are encouraged to attend, but cannot participate in the Final Presentation Round.


Teams may submit an unlimited number of entries within one or more categories. If teams submit entries in more than one category, they must ensure that at least one eligible student team member will be available to participate in the Final Presentation Round in each category. The Final Presentations may occur simultaneously.


All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital (typically early stage venture investment or early stage angel investment). Except in the case of teams entering the Social Ventures Track, all ventures must be “for profit” entities.


The competition is for student created and managed ventures, including new ventures launched through the licensing of university technology. Students are expected to:

  1. Be the driving force behind the new venture,
  2. Have played the primary role in developing the business plan,
  3. Have key management roles in the venture, and
  4. Own significant equity in the venture.


The competition is for new, independent ventures in the seed, start-up, or early growth stages. Generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, and spin-outs from existing corporations. Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is encouraged, assuming they have not been commercialized previously.


Teams that have placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in past Johns Hopkins University Business Plan Competitions are not eligible to compete again with the same concept.


Ventures must be pre-profit and have less than $10,000 in outside investment funding as of August 2020. Ventures that have raised equity capital from sources other than the members of the student team or their friends and families before the current academic year, i.e., before August 2020 that exceeds $10,000, are excluded. However, both student and other team members may have worked on an idea or new technology in previous academic years or in the case of the student team members even prior to entering Johns Hopkins University, provided that their venture had no revenues and raised no outside equity capital prior to the current academic year.


The BPC Final Presentations will take place remotely on Friday, April 23, 2021. Competitors will receive a link to the event via email in advance of competition day, and all winners will be announced at a virtual awards ceremony immediately following the final presentations at 4:30 p.m.


Finalists are required to complete the Team Prize Distribution Form. All team members are required to submit a Vendor Setup Form. If the venture has been incorporated and has received an EIN, one form may be filled out if the team wishes for the prize monies to be directed to the business rather than the individual team members. Members who are not Johns Hopkins University students must also submit an individual Form W-9 or W-8 EC and Photo Release Waiver. No prizes will be awarded without the necessary forms on file with the Center for Leadership Education.