Governor Cup Nevada
Since 2004, entrepreneurial spirits have been fostered among an elite sector of innovative college students, courtesy of the Donald W. Reynolds Governor’s Cup in Nevada. Started by Nevada’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NCET), this esteemed business plan competition focuses on encouraging young minds to tap into their talents and share resources with a team of fellow students as they work toward a shared goal. When stepping out of the classroom to act on their know-how and passions, participants lay the groundwork for being instrumental in creating businesses of tomorrow.
Producing Tomorrow’s New Businesses
Fortifying the development and commercialization of technologies and ideas originating within the university setting remains one of the event’s foremost goals. Multi-disciplinary teams incorporating students from technical disciplines with business-focused scholars yields solid projects that bridge the gap between technology and today’s marketplace. This sort of collaboration proves beneficial, as evidenced by the great successes of former teams that comprised individuals with varied aptitudes.
Cultivating innovation and emboldening young minds make the Governor’s Cup in Nevada one of the most exciting scholastic contests in America. All submitted business plans must be leading-edge and not include buy-outs, tax shelters, real estate syndications, roll-ups, current company expansions or franchises. Plans for non-profit businesses are also excluded from competition. Businesses should not have received a sum greater than $200,000 in equity-related capital, or generated more than $100,000 in gross revenue, prior to the current instructional year.
Boasting one of the most sizable cash pools of all such events in America, the Governor’s Cup in Nevada pays $25,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place, and $5,000 for third place, in two categories for graduate and undergraduate entrants. Additionally, a Lieutenant Governor’s Award of $10,000 is granted to the best energy-related business plan. Factoring in the $14,000 total prize money for faculty awards, and another $3,000 in other finalist cash awards, the total purse for this competition totals $142,000.
Beyond the possibility of financial gain, participants are rewarded with media exposure and make valuable contacts with leading Nevada business professionals, including investors and lenders. Team-building opportunities enhance business planning skills, and networking with like-minded entrepreneurs can prove highly beneficial for entrants’ future endeavors in the areas of cementing internships and securing their first professional job after graduation.
The Governor’s Cup in Nevada was the only such competition in existence during the first annual event. Over a decade after the inaugural event, there has been a rise in such competitions, and Nevada’s college students can compete for cash prizes in other similar business plan competitions during their preparation for the Governor’s Cup in Nevada. The subsequent Donald W. Reynolds Tri-State Collegiate Business Plan Competition is an invitation-only competition for all Governor’s Cup first and second place winners in Nevada, Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Who Can Enter?
The competition is open to all faculty or mentor-sponsored full and part-time degree or certificate-seeking graduate and undergraduate students enrolled at any Nevada university. Group size may not exceed six members, and the business plan may be developed by an individual, rather than as a collaborative effort. The management team outlined in the plan can include non-students, and their names are required to be documented. Presenting group members are to be students only, and they must have a key role on the business’ management team.
The competition encourages undergrad and graduate students to work together in an effort to maximize mentoring opportunities and a cross-pollination of experience. Because there are separate graduate and undergrad categories, any group with one or more graduate students must enter the graduate competition. Each team is mandated to retain a faculty member or approved mentor as an advisor.
As it promotes a tradition of entrepreneurship, the Governor’s Cup in Nevada, along with its counterparts in Arkansas and Oklahoma, continues to thrive with underwriting support from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, and Nevada academic, business, government and leaders in technology. Elevating collegiate concepts and recognizing the importance of home-grown businesses augment the ambitions of the future leaders of industry, making the Governor’s Cup in Nevada a continued success among business and technical scholars.
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