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2018 Business Plan Program & Competition Overview

The Business Plan Program & Competition is back and better! 

The Enterprise Center has redesigned and expanded the Business Plan Competition for 2018 because we understand the importance of a business plan and recognize the value in getting business ideas vetted to improve business plans.  As a result, we have created a year-long Program and added Pre-Competition Business Plan Workshops and PITCH Panels:

  •  Business Plan Workshops: Learn about the key elements of a business plan. Workshop will be offered from January to June. For more information and to Register click here.
  •  PITCH Panels: Interested businesses can apply to “pitch” their business idea to a panel of coaches, before entering the formal competition. If eligible, this PITCH Panel opportunity means business owners can try out their idea, get feedback from coaches and improve their overall plan before entering the Competition.  PITCH Panels will be offered In January, March, May, and July 2018. For more information including the PITCH PANEL APPLICATION 

Both of these optional opportunities will better prepare applicants for the Competition.

We look forward to collectively awarding three promising businesses $20,000* to help implement their business plan.  However, the redesigned Program’s educational components and support will assist ALL businesses that participate. That is the goal of the Enterprise Center –  to help businesses start and grow on the North Shore to create jobs in our region.

*The Business Plan Competition Awards: $10,000 for the 1st place, $6,000 for 2nd place and $4,000 for 3rd place.


Competition Overview

Participants that meet the Eligibility Requirements submit a 5-part Application that is reviewed by an expert judging panel and evaluated according to established Judging CriteriaAll Business Plan submissions are due on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 by 12:00 Noon. No exceptions will be allowed.    Six semi-finalists are selected to present their plan in person to the judges. Three finalists go on to present their plan publicly at the December 4, 2018 Grand Finale at which the judges determine the first, second and third place winners.

All participants receive written comments on their submission; the semi-finalists and finalists have the option of working with a presentation coach to fine-tune their plan for the judges.

2018 Business Plan Competition Key Dates:

  • Tuesday, October 16, 2018 by 12 Noon: All Business Plan Submissions are due. No exceptions.
  • Thursday, November 1, 2018: Semi-finalists announced.
  • November 6-9 and November 27-30, 2018: Semi-finalists and Finalists will receive guidance and feedback on how to best present their Business Plan.
  • Thursday, November 15, 2018: Finalists announced.
  • Tuesday, December 4, 2018 / 7:30 AM – 11 AM: Business Plan Competition Finale. Competition Finalists will present their Business Plans and compete for prize money before a panel of judges in a public forum.

To enter the 2018 Business Plan Competition you must:

  • Meet the Eligibility Requirements including having a business that is located in or have solid plans to relocate to one of 30 cities and towns that make up the North Shore. View Eligible Business Locations
  • Submit a 5-part Application, which includes:
    1) Entry Form
    2) 3-5 page Executive Summary
    3) 1-3 pages of financial data and assumptions, including anticipated profitability (revenues minus expenses) and projected capital investment needs for three years.
    4) 1-minute video presentation
    5) Electronic acceptance of Participation Agreement

(All 5 of the above components can be seen on the Application)

Detailed descriptions of the Business Plan Competition elements are shown below.

General Submission Guidelines:

  • Applicants may use their own cover page with company logo, tag line, etc.
  • Please use a font size between 10 and 12 point.
  • The Enterprise Center recommends that you use one of the following font styles: Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, or Garamond.
  • Margins should be no less than .75 inches, not including header and footer.
  • Please number all pages, including the first page.
  • Please include your business concept name as a header or footer on all the pages.
  • Applicants must submit their entry in a PDF format.

1) The 2018 Business Plan Application:

Applicants must complete all required fields of the Application.

2) The Executive Summary:

The Executive Summary should pique the reader’s interest. It cannot be longer than five pages and must include the following elements:

  • A summary of the business concept.
  • A description of the overall product or service being offered and the need it addresses.
  • A short statement about the competitive advantages of the business.
  • An analysis of the overall market or industry including:
    o The specific market segment addressed by the product/service and approximate size.
    o Critical factors that have an impact on the industry, e.g., government regulations, approvals, or licensing requirements.
  • A brief description of the competition.
  • Revenue/business model (how the business will generate revenue); and
    the management team, including relevant experience.

3) Financial Documents:

Financials should include the following:

  • Revenue projections, estimated operating costs and anticipated profitability over the first three to five years. By how much will your income exceed your expenses? At what point do you expect to break even? How profitable do you think you will be?
  • An outline of capital investment needs and sources, i.e., how much money will you need, where you think you can obtain it and when you expect to need it.
  • Please include your financial assumptions in these calculations.

 4) Video:

Your video presentation can be no longer than one minute and should give the judges a sense of what your company is and you as an entrepreneur.  You may splice the video together, use a mix of photos or videos, or simply speak into the camera.

5) Participation Agreement: 

All principals must read the participation agreement, check off the box at the end of the Application that acknowledges that you have read it, and print the name of EACH principal who is entering the competition.

Questions? Please contact Noreen Hazelton at (978) 542-7576 or


To learn more about the 2018 Business Plan Program & Competition components, visit the following pages:



  • Pre-Competition PITCH Panels (Overview, Application, Schedule)





  • Competition Application


  • Participation Agreement



What is different and how have we improved the Business Plan Competition?

  • The Competition is now a yearlong event. It starts in January 2018 and ends with the Competition Finale in December 2018;
  • Businesses now have the chance to “PITCH” their business idea to a panel of coaches, before entering the formal competition. This Pitch opportunity means business owners can try out their idea, get feedback from coaches and improve their overall plan before entering the Competition. Businesses have the option of participating in a PITCH Panel if eligible or choose not to and simply enter the Competition. Based on what businesses choose, they are asked to fill out the PITCH Application or the COMPETITION Application.
  • We have changed the geographic focus. In order to qualify, the business must either be located in – or plan to locate to – one of the 30 cities or towns that make up the North of Boston region. (See list of eligible Cities & Towns).