NewVenture is a yearly business plan competition in the Netherlands, and the deadline for the first round is on October 22. So if you have an idea and the time to make a 2 page description, go to the NewVenture website and submit the idea. You can also enter with an existing company, as long as you started less than two years ago. Entering this event can be a great starter, but please read on before you enter to know some of the Caveat of competitions.
Business competitions are great events if you have an idea for a new product, but are not ready yet to quit your job and start your dream company. You can enter the competition, present your idea, make a business plan, get feedback and you may win money that will help you launch the idea. After the competition, you have more data to make the right decision about launching the idea.
If you are a small team or a one person team, keep in mind that any business plan competition can be distractor. You spend time pleasing juries and polishing a business plan, while you could go out there, talk to customers and make some sales. At the NewVenture website you can read an interview (Dutch) with previous winners Snappcar, Magpie and TeraOptronics. The last company points to this danger: “There are more and more competitions. Each company has added value, but be careful that you spend most of your time on main activities, the product and business development”.
So if you have decided to spend time on competitions, is NewVenture the right one? What makes NewVenture stand out is that it is open to all kinds of businesses: student led or not, software-based or not, consumer or business oriented. The competition has serious monetary prizes (€ 20.000 in the last round). For investors and other people interested in entrepreneurship, the fact that NewVenture has been running for more than 10 years makes it a good source for historical data, as I discussed in a previous post http://entreprenl.com/2012/06/21/historical-data-on-startup-success-the-newventure-competition-3-2/
I have been active in NewVenture for more than 7 years. Regardless of what you think of the format of this competition or competitions in general, NewVenture has always been well organized, with events where you can meet the right people and where the winners can benefit from much media attention. The format of this competition is somewhat old-fashioned with an emphasis on planning, and the jury process is not transparent, so please realize there is more to starting a company than following the NewVenture Handbook. If you do this and see NewVenture as an extra activity, there is much to learn and enjoy.
NewVenture 2013 schedule including deadlines
There are three rounds with increasing amounts of input needed:
Round 1: idea description
- October 22nd 2012: Deadline round 1
- November 15 2012: Award ceremony round 1. If you want to benefit from the coach network, go to this award ceremony and talk to people.
In round 1, there are ten prizes of 500 euro each. Required input is an idea description of 2 pages.
Round 2: feasibility study
- February 4 2013: Deadline round 2 for participants in round 1. If you did not participate in round one, you must submit an idea before January 28th first.
- March 14 2013: Award ceremony round 2. Again a highly recommended event. In this round, 10 teams will win € 1000 each. Required input is a ‘feasibility study’ of up to 7 pages. See this page about NewVenture round 2 in Dutch for required information.
Round 3: business plan
- April 22nd 2013: deadline for teams that did not participate in round 2
- May 13th 2013: Deadline for round 3.
- June 27th 2013: Award ceremony for round 3 and grand finale of New Venture 2013. Highly recommended to attend since there usually is an interesting speaker and a cool market where previous participants market their products. The prizes in this round are serious: there are three prizes of € 20.000 each.
One of the great things of NewVenture is that they allow you to enter later rounds if you missed round one. This means you can respond to feedback and change teams or ideas between rounds. Since last year however, you do need to submit the input for previous rounds so please take a detailed look at the deadlines if you plan to skip a round.