Friday, November 27th, 2009 –  11:59pm
All application and submission due For more information see “Submission Information”
Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
Finalists invited to present
Friday, December 4th, 2009
Press announcement for finalists
Friday, December 11th, 2009
East 2 West: The Nebraska Business Plan Competition 12:30pm – Presentations begin 5:30pm – Reception begins 6:30pm – Winner announced

For inquiries contact:

Jason Ball
Director of Business Development
Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development

– OR –

Dan Hoffman
Executive Director – Invest Nebraska

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What do I need to do to enter the competition?
    See "Submission Information" tab for detailed information.

    Those wishing to participate in the competition must submit three items on or before 11:59pm, Friday, November 27th, 2009.  Submission materials include:
    • A signed and dated application form
    • A copy of the written business plan (submitted electronically as PDF file)
    • A cover letter (submitted electronically as PDF file
  2. Is there a cost to compete?
  3. Can my idea be a new business?
  4. Can I participate if I am already in business?
    Yes, however it is strongly preferred that the plan be written as drastically new initiative for that business. 

    This would include adding new equipment to greatly increase production & market share, adding completely new product lines, or entering new markets which are currently not generating sales.  For example, if a small manufacturer of hand held calculators wanted to add equipment to more than triple production; or if that manufacturer need additional resources to begin selling products overseas or in a retail chain; or if that manufacturer wanted add equipment to begin also making watches. 

    Keep in mind the sprit of the competition is to encourage big thinking and taking a reasonable business risk.  If there are any questions contact Jason Ball or Dan Hoffman. 
  5. Must I be a resident of Nebraska to compete in the competition?
    No.  Participants can be residents of any state, however they must be willing to locate the business in Nebraska. 
  6. Do I have to locate my business in Nebraska?
  7. Can a team of people develop and enter the competition?
  8. What are the judging criteria?
    See "Submission Information" tab for detailed information.

    Critical evaluation criteria used by judges will include: expectation of significant growth, attractiveness of the return on investment, and actual implementation.  While use of outside capital, either equity or debt, is not essential, plans for businesses with significant growth potential will be preferred to lifestyle businesses. 
  9. Is there a specific business plan structure which must be used?
    No, there is not a specified business plan format which is required.

    Note that business plans may not exceed 40 pages in length - including financial projections. 
  10. What do I need to include in the Business Plan?
    There will be a number of issues that any good business plan, regardless of format, will include; and judges will be looking for these concepts.  These would include an executive summary, an operational plan, a detailed market analysis, a marketing plan, description of the managing team, required start-up funds, and a full set of financial projections. 

    Financial projections include 1) cash flow statements 2) income statements and 3) balance sheets.  It is strongly recommended that cash flow statements and income statements be detailed (reported monthly) for the first 2 years and annually for additional years.  Balance sheets submitted should be at least reported annually. 

    The "Business Plan Evaluation Form - Written Plan", which will be used by the judges, is available on the "Competition Evaluation and Judging Criteria" tab.

    Note that business plans may not exceed 40 pages in length - including financial projections. 
  11. Are there resources to help me write a plan?
    A free business resources guide and business plan writing guide is available from the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development and the Nebraska Business Development Center.  Go to https://www.lincolnecdev.com/portal/form to download your free PDF copy.  The business plan writing guide begins on page 61.
  12. If invited to present, what do I need to provide for my presentation?
    Presentations are limited to 15 minutes followed by a 10 - 15 minute Q&A session from the judges.

    A strong presentation will include the highlights from each section of the business plan including the factors enumerated above. 

    The "Business Plan Evaluation Form - Presentation", which will be used by the judges, is available on the "Competition Evaluation and Judging Criteria" tab.
  13. What is the first prize?
    More information will be available soon. 
  14. Are there 2nd or 3rd place awards?
  15. What if I need more than what is awarded for first prize to start my business?
    That is OK.  Make sure to include that discussion in your plan & presentation however.  Also, include where you anticipate those additional funds will come from. 
  16. Can I view plans from past participants & winners?
    No. Business plans from past participants are not kept on file and are the property of those businesses / individuals.
Intent to Compete Form Submission Form Rules of Competition Award / Prize Details Competition Evaluation and Judging Criteria