Fowler Business Concept Challenge
Submission Deadline10/29/2019

Students can compete in two different tracks:

Business Concept Track for students focused on more traditional commercial ventures. These can be business-to-consumer, business-to-business, technology-based ventures, and are typically for-profit models.

Social Venture Track for students whose ventures use entrepreneural models to craft innovative, effective, and scalable solutions that address significant social problems. Examples of these social issues range from poverty alleviation and employment for marginalized communities to environmental sustanability. Ventures can be non-profit, for-profit, or a hybrid model (a combination of a for-profit and non-profit). 

Scholarships are awarded to the top four finishers in each track.



Submissions must be new business concepts, not already existing companies. No business concepts that have won or placed in a previous Fowler competition may be submitted again. Students may submit as many business concepts as they like, but students are limited to one concept eligible to compete in the semifinal and final competition.

Submission Requirements

Provide a brief description of your business concept following the prompts outlined below. Your submission, excluding an optional cover page, can be a maximum of five pages, double-spaced, 11-point type.

Business Concept Track:

  1. A concise description of the proposed business and why it is unique/compelling.
  2. Target Market – Who is your customer? What customer problem will you solve? How does your customer solve that problem today? What other solutions will compete for that customer?
  3. Proposed Solution – What is your product or service? How will it solve the problem? How will your solution create exceptional value for the customer? How is it different from and superior to other solutions in the market? 
  4. Market Opportunity – Provide a preliminary estimate of the size of the potential market (number of customers that can be reasonably addressed).
  5. Business model – How will you deliver this solution to your customer affordably and effectively, and how will the venture make money (revenue model)?
  6. Why Should Someone Invest in Your Venture? Explain why you will be successful.

Social Venture Track:

  1. Social impact focus area – What is the social problem you want to help solve (e.g. reduce food insecurity in the Twin Cities; reduce chemical run-off into the Mississippi; reduce the opportunity gap in low-income schools, etc.)?
  2. Proposed solution – What product or service will you offer to address the problem? How will your solution help alleviate the problem?
  3. Population served
    • Who is impacted by the problem? How do they experience the problem today? How do they try to solve it today? How will they be impacted by your solution?
    • Are there other “customers” or stakeholders you must serve in order to deliver or fund your solution or impact? (For instance, Love Your Melon sells hats to consumers in order to raise money to donate hats and funds for children experiencing cancer and to the nonprofits that serve them). Who are these customers? Why will they want your offering?
  4. Compelling advantage – How is your solution different from and superior to other solutions in the market? How does your solution create exceptional value for all it serves?
  5. Business model – How will you deliver this solution to your customer affordably and effectively, and how will the venture make money (revenue model)? How is your revenue model connected to your goal to deliver social impact? 
  6. Potential social impact – How many people can you impact, or how many customers can you reasonably address? How will you measure the success of your venture? What measures or metrics will you use (e.g. number of clients fed; decrease in chemical run-off, etc.)?


The competition is open exclusively to all University of St. Thomas undergraduates, graduate students and post-doctoral fellows registered in the semester of the competition. All members of a team must be current students with a valid St. Thomas student ID. Teams typically consist of one to three members.

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