MTSU Business Plan Competition


The Pam Wright Chair in Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition is the year's main Entrepreneurship event through Jones College of Business at Middle Tennessee State University. Prominent early-stage company investors, entrepreneurs and business leaders from the Middle Tennessee area judge presentations by the final four student teams.

The Business Plan Competition was started through the Pam Wright Chair in Entrepreneurship to foster the entrepreneurial spirit within the region. It is designed to help students and alumni in launching new business ventures, including for-profit businesses, not-for-profit businesses, corporate entrepreneurship, and social enterprise. Participants enhance their Middle Tennessee State University learning experience, gain feedback on ideas, develop networks, and expose their ideas to potential investors. 

2021 Competition Application Deadline: March 10, 2021

Registration Due by 11:59 PM (NO EXCEPTIONS). Please email your new venture profile to The New Venture Profile is your official submission to the Business Plan Competition. Click here for the New Venture Profile Form that you will use as a template for your official submission.

New Venture Profile

Dates to Remember

March 11, 2021
The Screening Round begins. Business plans will be reviewed by a panel of judges and will determine who continues on to the Elevator Pitch Round.

March 12, 2021
Announcement of which teams are advancing to the Elevator Pitch Round. 

March 16, 2021
Virtual Business Plan Competition Information Session.

March 17, 2021
Virtual Business Plan Competition Information Session.

March 30, 2021
Electronic copy of a one-page business summary due (must be submitted to by 12 p.m., NO EXCEPTIONS)

March 31, 2021
Elevator Pitch Round 11:00am- 2:00pm.
*Due to COVID-19 and the health precautions in place, the Elevator Pitch round will be conducted online via zoom.

April 6, 2021
Notification to Elevator Pitch Round participants of which teams advance to the Final Round.

April 14, 2021
Deadline to submit complete business plan to (12-15 pages with up to 5 additional pages for appendix allowed). 

April 20, 2021
Deadline to submit PowerPoint presentation for the Final event to

April 21, 2021
Final Presentation Event 4:00pm- 6:00pm.

Final Presentations

  • Welcome and Introductions
  • Finalists teams present
  • Voting
  • Winners of first and second place as well as other winners announced

2021 Competition

  • $7,500 Grand Prize

2019 Competition

  • Grand Prize Winner ($5000)- Foliage 
  • 2nd Place Winner ($3000)- Bahama Braid Boutique
  • 3rd Place Winners ($1000)- Divinity LLC; ($1000)- DK's Trap Cafe
  • Best Elevator Pitch- Foliage 
  • Best Trade Show- DK's Trap Cafe
  • Best Written Plan- Foliage
  • The Wil Clouse Entrepreneurial Maverick Spirit Award- Solar Future Legacy
  • The Robert and Virgie Clouse Spirit Award- Foliage

2019 Sponsors

  • MTSU Pam Wright Chair of Entrepreneurship 
  • Small Business Development Center of Tennessee 
  • The Clouse-Elrod Foundation, Inc.

2018 Competition

  • Grand Prize Winner ($5000)- University Ready 
  • 2nd Place Winner ($3000)- Salomon's Greenhouse 
  • 3rd Place Winner ($2000)- Vendy 
  • Best Written Plan- Salomon's Greenhouse
  • Best Trade Show- Drones iVue 
  • Best Elevator Pitch- Drunken Parrot 
  • The Robert and Virgie Clouse Agricultural Entrepreneurship Spirit Award- Salomon's Greenhouse 

2017 Competition

  • Grand Prize Winner ($7500) - Protective Innovations
  • 2nd Place Winner ($5000) - Smells Don't Sell, Inc.
  • 3rd Place Winner ($1000) - AACIJ (Accoa Adhesive Concrete Isolation Joint)
  • Social Entrepreneurship Award - The First Hello
  • Special Recognition Award - Groovly
  • Elevator Pitch Judges Award - Bongo Beverage
  • Trade Show Judges Award - TriSports
  • Corporate Innovation Award - Citadel Security
  • Wil Clouse Technology Award - Drones iVue
  • Wil Clouse Agriculture Technology Award - Volunteer Roots

2017 Sponsors

  • MTSU Pam Wright Chair of Entrepreneurship
  • First Tennessee Bank
  • Small Business Development Center of Tennessee
  • The Clouse-Elrod Foundation, Inc.

Why participate?

The Pam Wright Chair in Entrepreneurship Business Plan competition is designed to help students and alumni in launching new business ventures:

  • For-profit Businesses
  • Not-for-Profit Businesses
  • Corporate Entrepreneurship
  • Social Enterprise

As a part of this experience, participants will enhance their MTSU learning experience, gain feedback on ideas, develop networks, and expose their ideas to potential investors.

Who can participate?

Any enrolled MTSU students or MTSU alumni can participate in the competition (see Rules & Eligibility for details). A team participating in the competition can consist of one or more contestants and can include non-students. However, there must be at least one MTSU student or alumnus on each team. We encourage all participants to take advantage of all the resources provided, mentors, prep sessions, etc.

How is the Pam Wright Chair in Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition Organized?

There are three major parts to the competition:

  1. The Screening Round is the initial review of business plans that determines which teams will be moving ahead to the Elevator Pitch Round. Approximately 15-20 teams are chosen to progress to the next round. You can find business plan resources on the Tennessee Small Business Development Center website at
  2. The Elevator Pitch Round consists of a three minute pitch of the team’s business plan, presented by the active MTSU student or MTSU alum, in front of a panel of judges. Two minutes may be given for a question and answer session. Each team will designate one member (student or alum) to give their three-minute Elevator Pitch.
  3. The Final Presentation Round is where the final teams present their complete business plan to a panel of judges.
    1. Three to four teams will proceed to the Final Presentation round (exceptions to this number may be made based on the quality of business plans submitted). The Final Presentations focus on the complete business plan where teams present their plans to a group of judges and field questions. Teams will give a maximum 15 minute presentation followed by 10 minutes of questions and answers. The judges will meet after the presentations to make final award decisions. Winners will not be announced until the Awards Reception. The presenters will receive feedback from the judges after their presentations.

Business Plan Competition Rules & Eligibility

Teams must comply with the following criteria to be eligible for the competition. Please read carefully!

  1. The Pam Wright Chair in Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition is limited to teams that include activeMTSU students or alumni as defined below:
    1. MTSU students must be enrolled either full-time or part-time in any school or college at Middle Tennessee State University.
    2. Recent MTSU Alumni (graduating within 24 months of submission deadline) from any school or college within the university are eligible to participate in the competition, not just the Jones College of Business.
  2. Non-student business professionals are allowed as team members, but there must be a Middle Tennessee student or alum on the team.
  3. The business plan must be developed during the current school year and the student/alumnus must have played a major role in writing the plan. You may not enter a plan that was entered in a previous year.
  4. Working with outside entrepreneurs with existing businesses/business ideas is permissible but as noted in #3 above, the student/alumnus must write the plan.
  5. Total company revenues cannot exceed $100K (for existing businesses without a business plan).
  6. In the final presentation round of the competition, only students or alumni will present.
  7. The Pam Wright Chair in Entrepreneurship reserves the right to make the final determination of the appropriateness of submitted business ventures. Not all prizes may be awarded depending on the quality of submissions.


The Pam Wright Chair in Entrepreneurship Business Plan Competition considers all submitted business plans as confidential and treats all team matters accordingly. But, due to the nature of the event, we cannot guarantee complete confidentiality for proprietary matters. Middle Tennessee State University, the Jones College of Business, and the organizers of the competition are not responsible for any proprietary information and/or intellectual property included in a submitted business plan.

Ultimately, protection of sensitive materials such as intellectual property, copyright, or patent confidentiality is the sole responsibility of the individual or team participating in the competition. Non-Disclosure Agreements will not be signed by judges, mentors, or any MTSU staff associated with the business plan competition, so please do not ask.

*Disclaimer: Monetary prizes from competitions are  required to be included as financial aid assistance by the Financial Aid Office.   The total of all financial aid assistance (e.g., grants, scholarships, prizes, federal work-study, student loans, etc.) cannot exceed your financial aid "cost of attendance" (COA) which can be viewed on PipelineMT. If your COA is exceeded resulting from a prize award, other aid will be reduced.