Capital City New Venture Challenge

Present your big idea in Washburn's new business pitch competition. The competition is open to all undergraduates. Students may compete alone or in teams of up to four. You and your team could win up to $6,000 in cash and prizes to start your new business venture.

In conjunction with the introduction of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation major in Washburn's School of Business, and with the support of GoTopeka, the idea pitch competition encourages students to explore and express their business ideas in a friendly and encouraging environment.


1st: $6,000 total prizes ($1,000  + $2,500 expenses + $2,500 prof. services)
2nd: $4,000 total prizes ($500  + $1,500 expenses + $2,000 prof. services)
3rd: $2,000 total prizes ($250  + $500 expenses + $1,000 prof. services)
4th - 6th Place: $100/team

The winning team will also have the opportunity to participate as Washburn' entry in the prestigious Network of International Business Schools (NIBS) Business Plan Competition next spring.

What goes into a pitch presentation?

Students are challenged to develop and deliver an effective, professional business pitch that presents an innovation marketable business concept. It should be a creative, compelling, and concise summary of a proposal, new, or recently launched product or service.

How it works: Phase 1 - Knockout Round (Thursday, November 6, 2014)

During the Knockout Round participants will have a maximum of 3 minutes to verbally pitch ideas to a panel of judges and get feedback.

Knockout Round Rules
  • Pitches are no more than 3 minutes long.
  • Visual aids are permitted, such as poster boards, handouts, prototypes, etc. that my support or explain your product. Presenters will NOT be allowed to use PowerPoint or a computer for their pitch during the Knockout Round.
  • Once finished, judges may give comments and team members will answer any questions.
  • After all pitches are completed, the results are calculated and the winners are announced based on total scores for each team. Ties are settled by the judges.
How it works: Phase 2 - the Finals Round

The top six teams/individuals will qualify for the Final Round. Teams will be required to expand on their ideas from the Knockout Round and include more detail on their proposed venture, and present their idea to a panel of judges from the local community. Before the pitches begin, you will be provided with the same assessment form which judges will use to evaluate each pitch in order to provide a clear understanding of how your idea will be judged.

Finals Round Rules
  • In this phase you will have ten minutes maximum for your presentation and an additional five minutes to respond to questions.
  • It is recommended that participants in the finals round utilize PowerPoint or other presentation visuals.
  • Decide best how to represent the team ( e.g. one or two speakers; everyone speaks). However, all members are responsible for answering questions from the panel.
  • It is encouraged that you consult with faculty and other advisors in the development of your final presentation, provided that this guidance does not extend into direct contributions by the advisor.
What do I need to do to get ready?

The Washburn School of Business and the Washburn Univeristy Kansas Small Business Development Center will provide free classes to help you develop your plan and prepare your pitch. Successful plans will usually cover:

  • Business idea description
  • Market opportunity
  • Management and operations
  • Implementation plans
  • Financial requirements and projections
How will the pitches be judged?

Each pitch is judged for  the quality of the presentation and its overall potential. Before the pitch begins, you will be provided with the same assessment form which judges use to evaluate each pitch in order to provide a clear understanding of how your idea will be judged. Generally, pitches are evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Innovation - is this a new idea with potential for impact?
  • Clarity - is the presentation concise, to the point, and organized?
  • Comprehensiveness - does the presenter cover all the bases; demonstrating knowledge of the market and how the business will operate?
  • Feasibility - is this proposed venture realistic to implement?
  • Professionalism & "wow" factor - was the delivery polished and did it impress the judges?
  • Enter online or in person at the Washburn School of Business office by October 24, 2014.
  • Knockout Round: November 6, 2014, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Washburn Room, Memorial Union
  • Finals Round: November 20, 2014, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Bradbury Thompson Alumni Center
Want to join a team?

If you have an idea but would like to have other students as part of a team, contact Dr. David Price, Assistant Professor, in the Washburn School of Business.