As you are aware, the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic has called upon Johns Hopkins to take a series of unprecedented steps to safeguard our community, including suspending classes through the spring 2020 semester, and all in-person events until further notice.

However, the JHU Business Plan Competition staff has developed a plan that enables us to offer the competition completely online in order to honor the work our student teams and mentors have already dedicated to the competition. Review the new online schedule here.

Judges received an email on April 1 with information about serving as a virtual judge. If you opted into virtual judging for the 2020 competition, you will soon receive additional information on how to engage in Round 1 and the Final Round on competition day (Friday, April 17).

Round 1

In Round 1, judges will use the platform RocketJudge to evaluate teams’ 3-minute video pitches. Judges will receive invitations to the RocketJudge competition page on the morning of April 17 via email.

Final Round

Judges will receive a link to their assigned Zoom category room on the morning of April 17. In each room, judges will observe live presentations from the six finalists selected to deliver full presentations. Presentations will be 8 minutes, followed by 7 minutes of questions from the judge panel. Criteria for evaluating teams’ final presentations can be found here.

The Johns Hopkins University Business Plan Competition recruits alumni, industry leaders, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs to serve as judges and mentors in order to simulate the real-world process of soliciting start-up funds from early-stage investors.

Mentors provide remote feedback during the first stage of the competition in one of several categories using the business plan evaluation platform LivePlan. This year, we aim to make the mentorship periods more beneficial and flexible by allowing mentors to choose how they communicate with their teams. Round 1 mentorship will take place between February 18 and March 1. Round 2 mentorship will take place between March 17 and March 29.

Judges have the opportunity to evaluate pitches, select winners, and network with participants on the day of the competition on JHU’s Homewood Campus.

Interested individuals can serve as a mentor, a judge, or both.

Want more information about the criteria judges use to evaluate business plans? Visit our Judge Criteria page for details.

We answer the most-asked questions about judging and mentoring on our FAQ page.