FAQ


If you have questions not addressed below, please feel free to email us at bpc@jhu.edu.

For Judges & Mentors

How do I sign up to become a judge and/or mentor?

Judge and mentor registration opens on Thursday, December 6. You can register by following this link to our registration site.

What are the responsibilities of a mentor?

Mentors remotely review competition submissions and provide feedback to student teams on their business plans using the Liveplan platform during the first round (late February) and second round (early April) of competition. Mentors can select one or multiple categories in which to provide feedback based on their expertise and are free to devote as much time as their schedules allow.

What are the responsibilities of a judge?

Judges attend the competition event held on the JHU Homewood campus on Friday, April 26, 2019. This all-day event includes two rounds of judging, an evening awards ceremony and dinner, and ample opportunity to network with competing teams. Judges are given a set of criteria and may ask questions of student teams during competition rounds. Judges must then evaluate pitches and select first, second, and third place winners in each category.

Must I choose between mentoring and judging?

No. You can choose to serve as a judge, a mentor, or both. In fact, many of our participants choose to mentor and judge. Keep in mind that you must be able to attend the event in person at the JHU Homewood campus on Friday, April 26, 2019 in order to serve as a judge.

How big of a time commitment is mentoring?

We understand that, as industry leaders, our mentors have many important professional and personal responsibilities. Thus, we ask that our mentors devote only as much time as their schedules allow. We anticipate that each mentor will be asked to provide feedback on at least four business plans, but they are welcome to provide feedback on additional plans as they are able. Our mentors often find this work rewarding and return year after year to continue to guide young entrepreneurs through the process of developing their first business plans.

The time a mentor spends evaluating a business plan varies depending on the individual, so we are reluctant to provide an estimate. In total, mentors will participate in two rounds of feedback, one in late February and one in early April. Mentors are provided with a two-week window in which to complete each round of feedback.

If I have expertise in more than one category, can I mentor or judge in multiple categories?

You are encouraged to mentor in as many categories as you are able. Typically, because our presentation sessions run concurrently, you are only able to serve as a judge for one category on the day of the event. However, during registration, we ask that you select all of the categories in which you have expertise in the event that additional judges are needed to fill a particular session.

Do you provide travel accommodations for judges?

Unfortunately, no. Currently, the JHU Business Plan Competition budget is reserved for event costs and prize money.

What criteria are used to evaluate business plans and pitches?

We provide rubrics on the day of the event, but you can find more information on our Judge Criteria page.

For Competitors

Do I need to be a student at Johns Hopkins University to participate?

No, but each team must have at least one member that meets both of the following requirements:
1. be a current part-time, full-time, or postdoctoral student of any of the nine divisions of Johns Hopkins University during the current academic year.
2. be a member of the venture's startup management team.

Is there a team size limit?

Yes. Each team must be limited to six presenters. Additional members can take part in the development of the business plan, but only six members total can register for the event and compete on competition day. At least one team member on each team must meet the eligibility requirements.

I have a business idea, but I do not have team. Can I still compete?

Yes! However, if you will be your team's sole member, you must be a current part-time, full-time, or postdoctoral student at Johns Hopkins University.

I previously participated in the Business Plan Competition. Can I participate again?

Absolutely! However, teams are prohibited from presenting a plan that won 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place in a previous competition.

Does it cost anything to participate?

Registration is free of charge to all participants.

What type of business plan can I submit to the competition?

Participants can submit a business plan to the competition in any of our four categories: Medical Technology & Life Sciences, Mobile Applications, Social Enterprise, and General Business. You can find more information about each category here.

Can I submit a plan for an existing business?

No. All submissions must be new ventures. By "new," we mean ventures that are pre-profit and have less than $10,000 in outside investment funding as of August 2018. 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, 2018 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.

Can my team submit more than one plan?

Yes! Teams may submit an unlimited number of entries in any of the four categories. Keep in mind, however, that because presentations in all categories are delivered in concurrently running sessions, team members cannot present in more than one category on competition day.

Can I submit a plan that has previously been submitted to another competition?

Yes.

How will my business plan be evaluated?

Mentors will provide feedback through the submission platform Liveplan in the early rounds of competition (late February and early April). Judges will evaluate your team's business plan using the criteria found on our Judge Criteria page on the day of the competition event.

What can I win?

A total of $10,000 in prizes are up for grabs in each of our 4 categories ($6,000 for 1st place, $3,000 for 2nd place, and $1,000 for 3rd place).

How are the prizes distributed to the winners?

Teams have full control over the distribution of prize money. Prizes are awarded through Hopkins' vendor payment process and prize recipients receive 1099s in January for tax purposes. This is important to keep in mind when deciding on who receives prize money through the payment system.

If my team does not progress past the first round, can I still attend the networking event?

Absolutely! All teams are encouraged to attend all of the day's events and network with judges.

Are meals provided?

Yes. The competition day begins with registration and breakfast, includes lunch, and ends with an awards ceremony and dinner.

What if I have a question not answered here?

Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions by email at bpc@jhu.edu or by phone at (410) 516-8205.

Who presents on competition day?

If your team has submitted all content for Rounds 1 and 2 of the competition, your team should expect to present during Round 1 on the day of the event. If your team is deemed ineligible, or has not engaged sufficiently in the initial rounds of the competition, the BPC staff will notify your team by April 14 that it will not proceed to competition day.