Top Business Plan Award: $50,000

The Tulane Entrepreneurs Association is shaking things up with its 10th Annual Business Plan Competition by more than doubling the prize money for students' business ideas and shifting focus to the virtues of "conscious capitalism."

The top three teams chosen in the 10th Annual Business Plan Competition will present their plans before a panel of judges at the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane on April 16. (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

This year, the contest will award a top prize of $50,000 in startup capital to the student group with the best idea for a company that seeks to positively affect both its stakeholders and the society in which it operates.

The idea could involve the principles of social entrepreneurship or "right livelihood," which is based on the belief that one can do good for the world while doing well for oneself, says Matt Dearmon, the association's president, who is a second-year graduate student at the A. B. Freeman School of Business at Tulane.

The group is seeking entries online for the contest, which is open to students across the globe. The only criterion for participation is that one of the principals involved in the venture must be an enrolled student at an accredited university. The deadline to apply is Feb. 1. To enter, submit an executive summary of the business plan online.

"Entries can be nonprofit or for-profit ventures, but they have to be committed to a long-term strategy of sustainability with regards to relationships with all stakeholders — customers, employees, shareholders, vendors, the environment and the local community," Dearmon says.

Entries will be evaluated by a panel of judges based on the soundness and implementation potential of the business idea, the financial feasibility of the venture and the demonstrated ability to address the interests of all key stakeholders. Three rounds of judging will take place beginning in February.

The top three teams will present their plans before a panel of judges at this year's competition scheduled for Friday, April 16, at the A. B. Freeman School of Business.