+ entrepreneurial thinking
@ SNC Tahoe
Business Plan Competitions
Challenge the status quo and your own creativity to find innovative solutions to real problems and opportunities.
Research, develop and refine your proposal with the mentorship of dedicated faculty and successful entrepreneurs.
Understand the essentials of effective teamwork by making it happen.
Learn to think on your feet, and to work through the intensive preparation that makes that possible.
The business plan competition series at SNC Tahoe is a cornerstone of our commitment to our students’ professional preparedness and entrepreneurial thinking.
How It Works
Sierra Nevada College’s Jim and Jan Steinmann Business Plan Competitions
All SNC Tahoe students are eligible to compete in a sequence of business plan competitions which mirror the idea-to-fruition process of launching a new product or enterprise. At each event participants present in front of a live audience, receive detailed feedback from judges drawn from the business faculty and Lake Tahoe’s large community of successful entrepreneurs and business innovators, and have the opportunity to begin working with faculty and community mentors to develop their project to the next level.
September: The Innovative Idea Competition
Students present the Unique Selling Proposition of an idea to address an existing problem or market opportunity. Ten winners each receive $50. All students are encouraged to incorporate the judges’ feedback and begin to meet with a faculty mentor to conceptualize their idea into a business proposition.
February: Jim and Jan Steinmann Pitch Competition
Ten contestants are selected to present their business plans from a pool of 3 minute pitch videos submitted by students. First, second, and third place winners are awarded cash prizes. Students who will continue in the process assemble a team, which works intensively with its mentors through the fall and winter on strategy, product development, marketing, financials, and oral presentation.
April: Jim and Jan Steinmann President’s Cup Business Plan Competition
The President’s Cup (formerly the Trepp Competition) uses the same rubrics and criteria as the statewide D.W. Reynolds Business Plan Competition later in the spring, to give the teams which will continue the most relevant feedback and experience. Competing teams are judged by two separate panels of judges on a written business plan; their ability to adapt and incorporate feedback into a revised written plan; and finally, live oral presentations.
The President’s Cup oral presentation evening is one of the most exciting events of the academic year. The teams present their business ideas to a panel of external judges, using PowerPoint, video, and often working physical prototypes, before an enthusiastic audience from the college and community. Each team has five minutes to make their pitch, present a short market analysis and financial summary, and respond to questions from the judges. Three winners receive $6,000 in combined cash prizes.
The D.W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup & Tri-State Business Plan Competitions
2004 – 2017
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation launched Governor’s Cup Collegiate Business Plan competitions in Arkansas, Nevada, and Oklahoma in 2004, and the Tri-State competition in 2008.
The Nevada Governor’s Cup was open to undergraduate and graduate student teams from all Nevada colleges. Approximately fifteen to twenty teams competed each year, with $100,000 in combined cash prizes awarded to the top three undergraduate and graduate teams. The Lieutenant Governor’s Cup Competition awarded $10,000 for the business plan that best employed clean, renewable, or efficient energy technologies and services.
The first and second place Governor’s Cup undergraduate and graduate teams were automatically entered into the D.W. Reynolds Tri-State Business Plan Competition, which brought together winners from all three states to compete for an additional $100,000 combined to the top two undergraduate and graduate teams.