2015 ImpactNext Business Model Competition
Submission Deadline04/09/2015

Since 2001, Marquette University’s Business Plan Competition has fostered hundreds of business plans, and many entrants have gone on to start successful enterprises. In 2013, the competition was updated to focus on the development and validation of the 9 components of Osterwalder & Pigneur’s business model canvas which is now considered to be the fundamental building blocks of venture creation and renamed the ImpactNext Business Model Competition. The end result is a competition that focuses on the development of business models and – more specifically – the customer discovery and validation of those models. ImpactNext is open to Marquette students, Marquette faculty/staff, Marquette alumni and Wisconsin community members. ImpactNext is sponsored by the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship (www.mukohlercenter.org) at Marquette University. Thank you to the generous support of the undergraduate award by the Coleman Foundation of Chicago.

The ImpactNext keynote event will take place on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 beginning at 4:30 pm with a poster/networking session where you will have the opportunity to pitch your business model to the judges, attendees, and fellow competitors. During this same time, the judges will decide the winner of each category (undergraduate, graduate, alumni, faculty/staff and community member), as well as the top five business models overall that will proceed to compete for the title of overall winner. Please note that the top overall five business models may not be the same as the five category winners. During the live stage event, each of these five finalists will have 1-2 minutes each to pitch on stage, a 5 minute question and answer session with the judges in front of the audience, and no more than 10 minutes of total stage time, including set-up and take-down.

Other important items to know to compete in ImpactNext on April 21:


Each team must provide a professionally produced 2'x3’ poster that will serve as a visual extension of your business model canvas and the main vehicle for communicating your venture’s validated business model to the judges, attendees and fellow competitors at the keynote event. You will maximize the posters effectiveness by incorporating photos, break out boxes, infographics and other visual elements that efficiently and effectively tell your story. The poster must:

  • be professionally printed from a single slide; note that each team is required to also turn in the one-page PDF of their poster
  • be dry mounted to a foam backed presentation board · not exceed 2’x3’ in size
  • be placed atop the easel provided for your poster by the ImpactNext team during the keynote event


*While props are not required, we ask you take the following into consideration should you choose to use them.

  • Any props used during the poster session must be free standing and fill no more than a 3’ x 5’ area
  • Should you be selected to move onto the final round of competition, any props used must be able to be set-up, and removed, in one minute.
  • Prototypes are allowed, but not required
  • ImpactNext will not be providing tables or other stands. Only the poster easel will be provided.
  • Please check ahead of time with the ImpactNext team for any questions about props.


  • Business casual


  • If selected to compete for the grand prize, your team will be invited to present your business model on stage, in front of the judges and the audience, in a Shark Tank-style Q&A.  Please keep in mind the 2 minute time limit for your pitch. In order to leave sufficient time for questions, the time limit will be strictly enforced.

If you have questions regarding the competition, please email sarah.eslyn@marquette.edu.  

If you have any questions regarding the application (technology-based), please contact support@pitchburner.com.


In order to compete in the final competition you must meet the following expectations*:

Round One – March 26, 2015

           1. Pay the $25 application fee HERE (For information on undergraduate and graduate student scholarships please contact john.s.peterson@marquette.edu)

           2. Answer the business model questionnaire and submit no later than Thursday, March 26 at 11:59PM. Note: The earlier you submit your questionnaire, the more likely you are to receive feedback on your model from the ImpactNext committee. This is first-come, first-serve and cannot be guaranteed.

Round Two – April 9, 2015

3. Submit your business model poster electronically in PDF form no later than Thursday, April 9 at 11:59PM. Note: You can submit your poster at the same time as you submit your business model questionnaire.

Final Competition (Round Three) – April 21, 2015

4. Professionally print your poster and prepare a one-two minute pitch of your business venture to present during the poster session at the keynote event .

*The ImpactNext team reserves the right to deny an application into the final competition.

Location and Parking for Final Competition:

Final Competition will take place on April 21, 2015 in the Alumni Memorial Union Ballrooms on the Marquette University campus, 1442 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53233. Parking is located in the 16th Street Structure, 749 16th St., for $5.00. More information can be found here.


$1,000 will be awarded to category winners

$10,000* will be awarded to the overall winner (regardless of category.) *If the overall winner is also a category winner, the winning team shall receive no more than $10,000 in total prize money.

Event Photos
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