30K Competition

Coventry University Entrepreneurs

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Coventry 30K Entrepreneurship Competition:

This year sees the start of the Coventry 30K - a competition to find the best business plans for starting a new company. It is run by the Coventry University Entrepreneurs student society and, thanks to generous financial support of a number of organisations, provides 30,000 in prize money to help these businesses get off the ground.

Teams entering the competition are provided with training to help lead them through the process of spotting a market opportunity, writing a strong business plan, raising funds and then on to starting and growing the business.

Similar Competitions in the US, notably MIT's '$50K' competition, have led to the formation and growth of a number of exciting new businesses.

A number of teams that have entered the '$50K' competition at MIT but were not successful in the final round have still gone on to build successful businesses thanks to the training, support and networking they recieved.

Companies emerging from MIT's competition include:

" Firefly Networks
Grew from Internet agent ideas developed by MIT researchers to a company with 70 employees in six years, attracting $20m funding and successfully exited in a sale to Microsoft last year for $40m. "

" Sensable Technologies
A 3-D force-feedback mouse developed in 1993 for a thesis proved popular and has now attracted over $7 million investment. Yearly revenues now exceed $2 million with major contracts at Ford and Nasa. "

" Lexicus
One man's handwriting recognition idea took just one year to prove as world beating, before Motorola bought it and he now leads a large division developing the successful software series.  "


Who can Enter :

The competition is open to all - the only requirements are that:

  • At least one member of each team must be a full time student at the University of Coventry in the year that the entry is submitted.
  • All team members must join the Coventry University Entrepreneurs Society.

    Annual membership of CUE is 10 per annum, and this includes informal team-building dinners, the complete training package and an invitation to the (heavily subsided) Garretts Qualifiers Dinner.



The competition has two halves.

  • The first round is in Michaelmas term and will require all the teams to submit 3000 word Executive Summaries. To aid this, extensive training will be provided on the basic concepts of business, and the key elements of a winning business plan. Social events will be run throughout this first term to help entrants form and buid strong teams (of ideally 4 - 5 people). At the end of Michaelmas, seven business plan summaries will be selected by a panel of Judges drawn from leading figures in the Coventry high -tech business community to go through to the second round. The shortlist will be announced at the dinner at the end of Michaelmas term to which all society members will be invited.
  • The second round will be held in Lent term and will require the teams to submit a full 40,000-word business plan. The second round will start with an intensive training course for the qualifying teams, held before the start of Lent term, on the details of setting up an growing a business. Each team will be assigned a mentor from the Coventry high-tech business community and an adviser from one of the sponsors. In addition, the teams have access to a 'surgery' where they can seek assistance with the details of their business planning. During this round, the teams will also be required to present their plans to the panel of judges. 


The results of the competition will be announced at the end of Lent term. The overall winners will receive the 15,000 Generics Business Creation Prize. The second prize from McKinsey is 10,000 and the third prize from ARM is 5,000

The most important thing for you to understand is that the Competition can help you and your team produce a successful venture, but it is up to you and your own entrepreneurial initiative to seek out the people, ideas and support you will need to make your venture a real world winner.


If you have questions concerning the Competition, please browse this web site fully. Sign up for the Competition email list. We will begin sending out information to our list in the upcoming weeks. You need not have any ideas or a team to enter at this stage. 

Note: The Committee regrets that there is a limit on the number of people that can start the competition. We have closed entry to the competition this year. The committee aims to have a proportional representation of students from both Arts and Scientific disciplines. The committee's decision is final on the applicants that can take part. Successful applicants will be informed by email by the end of 13th October. All registration fees will be returned to unsuccessful applicants.

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