Eligibility Criteria


Applications may be submitted by an individual or by a team. A team is defined as a group of two or more people. At least one person on the team must be a founding member of the idea/venture and cannot be a token team member added to gain eligibility for the competition. This generally means the founding member has at least 25% ownership of the venture. An individual may not compete on two teams.

No faculty or staff teaching or working in the field of entrepreneurship at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School or Environmental Sciences and Engineering at UNC’s Gillings School of Global Public Health may compete in the Competition. No member of any team may be employed by Takata, directly related to a Takata employee, or is already involved in Takata’s incubators.

Stage of Venture

This competition seeks to foster the development of viable ideas into sustainable, impactful ventures. In general, ventures which are already well-established are not eligible to compete although they are urged to consult with the Competition’s organizers to determine their eligibility to participate.

Generally, to be eligible, a venture:

  • Cannot have raised more than $10,000 in seed funding or “equity financing” other than from founding members. This does not include grant funding or prize money from other competitions.
  • Should have fewer than 10 paying customers and less than $25,000 in booked revenue.
  • Cannot have been operating for more than 12 months.

Exceptions may include:

  • A startup that is based on scientific research that has taken years to develop.
  • Ideas that have been in existence for longer, but had a period of inactivity or are changing dramatically.
  • Ventures that have revenues but are changing business models.

Judging Criteria

Venture Concept

  • How would you rate the level of innovation in this concept?
  • Overall, how viable would you consider this venture proposal?
  • Were you able to understand the value proposition clearly?
  • Does this concept have the potential to compete in the marketplace?
  • Does the team demonstrate that they understand their market/industry?


  • How compelling (confident, energetic, convincing) was the presentation?
  • Did the presentation adequately focus on key aspects of the venture given the limited time frame?
  • Did the team appear professional, well-prepared, and cohesive?
  • How well did the team demonstrate a full understanding of the venture?
  • How effective were visuals/charts/props in aiding the presentation?

Lean Business Plan & Financials

  • Does the summary adequately address key aspects of the venture (value prop, revenue model, financials, etc.)?
  • Is the summary clearly organized and professionally written?
  • How well does the summary communicate a vision with a roadmap of milestones to get there?
  • How professional is the layout and design of the document?
  • Does the summary show some evidence of primary or secondary research?
  • How would you rate the longevity/stability of this venture in a rapidly changing market?
  • How capable does the team appear to be in developing this product/service?
  • What potential does this startup have to reach profitability?
  • What potential does this startup have to reach scalability?
  • How well does this product/service differentiate itself from competitors?

Final Questions

  • How well would the prize money be utilized for this venture?
  • How likely would you be to invest in this company?