A New Student Experience

Win $3,000 for Best New Venture Idea

The new yearly SOU Business Venture Tournament is an opportunity for students to win up to $3,000 in award money by developing the best idea for a new startup venture or business proposal.

All SOU Seniors graduating in academic year 2022-2023 are eligible to participate in the tournament. The competition is open to all undergraduate degree programs at Southern Oregon University. Entry forms should be submitted by the extended date of February 17, 2023.

The Business Venture Tournament encourages students to Think Big and pursue dreams that may someday change the World. The mandatory Venture Workshop uses the student’s venture idea to educate students about the business aspects of any Venture. The idea can be from a capstone, project, or other source. Competition is limited to ideas that students plan to make real, no fictitious ventures are allowed to compete for prize money.

Participants gain free hands-on experience with idea proof-of-concept, market research, venture promotion, and presentation skills while preparing for the competition.

The Tournament deliverables mirror real-world steps that new startups do when seeking venture capital. The unique experience is fun and winning will result in startup money for venture ideas backed with solid planning.

Choose a Topic and browse this website to learn more!

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General Timeline

Winter Term 2023

Graduating Seniors consider ideas that may come from capstones or projects and submit the entry form by February 17, 2023.
Supportive courses are discussed with advisor or Tournament Master.

Participants begin training for the competition in the mandatory Tournament Workshop starting between February 6 and 13, 2023. Students attend tutorials and receive training for the Tournament projects. The 1-minute pitch, Business Venture Plan, and 10-minute formal presentation begin development.

Spring Term

Participants complete the 1-minute pitch and begin marketing campaign for student votes that count for 20% of the competition scoring. The Business Venture Plan and 10-minute formal presentation are finalized.

First Week of May

First Tournament Round

Program Level

One winner selected by the Program.

Program Winner moves to Division Round

Second Week of May

Second Tournament Round

Division Level

One winner selected by the Division

Winner moves to Final Round

Third Week of May

Final Competition and Gala Event

Five Division Winners compete for the Award.

Judges and audience

Benefactors present Award Money to 1 Winner.

Tournament Entry

Seniors graduating in academic year 2022-2023 are eligible to participate. Venture startup ideas do not require full development for entry. The Workshop will help students develop the idea during Winter and Spring terms with guidance for each Tournament project.

Note: The Tournament does not substitute for program degree graduation requirements.

Required Deliverables

Participants must submit three projects for judging:

  • Formal Business Venture Plan
    The plan defines the idea product or service and reports supportive research.
  • 1-minute recorded video “Pitch”
    The pitch is uploaded to the Tournament Voting Platform. Students then use social media to market the pitch and gain student votes for their idea!
  • 10-minute Formal Presentation
    Students present the venture plan to judges and share their passion for the idea with supporting evidence of marketability.
Guidance and Training

The Tournament Workshop provides free resources and training to all contestants. The mandatory free Tournament Workshop begins sessions on February 6, 2023 until the final competition on May 19, 2023. Students may also choose to take SOU catalog courses to supplement or add skills for a competitive edge. The mandatory Workshop, tutorials, and other free resources help students understand how to develop each project.

Juniors & Sophomores

Juniors and Sophomores are encouraged to start early by taking courses and training before the Senior year to obtain a competitive advantage in the Tournament. Visit with your advisor and/or Tournament Master to discuss a course schedule that meets your goals.

SOU Faculty & Staff

The Business Venture Tournament includes all academic programs from all Southern Oregon University Divisions. All faculty and staff are invited to visit the link below to learn how to support students and volunteer as mentors and guides.