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$15,000 Rogers Business Plan Competition

business plan competition

The Rogers Business Plan Competition at Augustana College allows teams or individual students to present their business ideas and plans to a panel of business professionals for the opportunity to win up to $15,000.

All students of Augustana College are allowed to submit written business plans. The best five plans will be invited to compete. 

Written business plan submissions are due by email to Dr. David Thornblad by noon April 9, 2018. The teams with the best five plans will be informed by April 18. The competition will take place the evening of May 3.


Presentations will take place in a conference room on campus. Each team will have 10 minutes to present its business idea to a panel of professionals, followed by 10 minutes of questions and answer.

A PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation is recommended to highlight and explain major parts of the plan. Once all teams have presented, the panel will make decisions as to which teams had the best plan based on the merit of the idea as well as the team’s persuasiveness.

Presentations may be videotaped and or photographed for media, publicity, and teaching purposes. Teams should expect that these videotapes and photographs to be shared on social media, websites, and other locations to promote the college and the event.

Judging and awards

Faculty and instructors of the business administration department who have no prior knowledge of the business ideas will select the five finalists. All plans will be given to faculty members without student names.

The judging panel will consist of area CEOs, bankers, investors and consultants, as well as other professionals. No faculty member, staff, or administrators serve on the judging panel.

Judges will have a minimum of $15,000 they can distribute as they see fit to the competing teams. Therefore, one team may win all $15,000 and the other teams receive none, or the $15,000 could be split unevenly across all teams.

Winners may use the prize money as they wish and are not required to start a business. Award money will be split evenly among team members unless there is a written agreement signed by all team members requesting a different split.

Business plans

Business plans identify a problem that people or businesses have, and propose a solution in the form of a product or service an entrepreneur wants to offer.

Business plans tend to have in-depth research about the problem, how it affects people/businesses as well as the industry. It is important to do research to show there is a legitimate problem that people/businesses will pay your business’s product or services to solve.

Business plans also have financial estimates, generally for the next three to five years, of costs to start and manage the business as well revenue projections. These estimates need to be researched in order to provide a convincing argument to how your business will be profitable.

There are many free sources to get templates for business plans and guide you through the process. We recommend using the business plan template from SCORE.

The business plan needs to include the names and ID numbers of all people on the team on the front page.


Only Augustana College students can compete and present to the panel. Only Augustana students will be awarded money if they do well in the competition.

Students who are not business majors are encouraged to compete. However, you may want to consider partnering with business students to help develop your business plan.


Yes. If you win a monetary award you will be expected to sign a document stating that you understand the following:

  1. You agree that any award money you are due from the competition first will be applied to any outstanding debts that you may have with Augustana College.
  2. You understand that by accepting this monetary award it will be counted as income (a resource for educational expenses). This may negatively influence your eligibility for federal work study eligibility, federal and private student loans, scholarships and grants in future years.
  3. This money will be considered taxable income. You will be paid through Augustana’s payroll office and income taxes will be deducted from the award money you are due. However, if you have a legally established business, the full amount of the award money can be given to your business pursuant to filling out a W-9 and/or other appropriate forms.

Before you sign, you should note the following:

  1. You have the right not to sign this document. If you do not sign, you forfeit any monetary award. However, you retain the right to state that you competed in the competition and your team won an award in your resume or other documents.
  2. You have the right not to sign this document immediately. You have up until the end of the work day immediately after graduation of this academic year to meet with financial aid to discuss how this award will influence your future aid package. If this agreement is not signed and returned to the business office before the end of the work day after graduation, you will forfeit any monetary award.

Prize winners will be paid through Augustana’s payroll office, and income taxes will be deducted from your award money. You should be paid the first payroll in June of the academic year.

The Business Plan Competition at Augustana College is supported and funded by the Howard and Helen Rogers Entrepreneurship Endowment.


Dr. David Thornblad, 309-794-7473

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