Eligibility & Criteria
Entrants must meet the following criteria:
- Pre-start up or early stage innovative businesses or entrepreneurs from the Baltimore-Washington, DC, region (including university faculty, staff and students and the broader community)
- A fairly well developed idea or technology
- An interest in receiving practical support to develop the business and open to considering new ideas and suggestions from external advisers
- In compliance with all federal, state, and local laws/regulations
- Entrants may be submitted by individuals or teams (no minimum or maximum for the amount of people involved)
- Entries generating revenues are allowed to compete, as long as annual revenues do not exceed $500,000. Companies exceeding $500,000 in annual revenues are not eligible.
- Entries receiving institutional investment from venture capital firms or related professional investors are not eligible. Entries receiving limited grant funding, such as SBIR, TEDCO, or DBED grants, are eligible provided that funding does not exceed $500,000.
Successful plans generally offer substantial growth potential and high probability for scaling revenues. Plans will be viewed based on potential for being in business in five years and/or timeline to a liquidity event.
There are no specific categories. All types of ideas are welcome and plans will be viewed individually for their potential.
All plans must have a return rate acceptable to an investor and factors reviewers will be considering include:
- Strength of the value proposition
- Thorough competitor analysis and clear competitive differentiation, preferably through unique, protected technology
- Target markets receptive to new entrants
- Market size providing opportunity for high growth
- High potential for sustainable, scaling revenues and earnings
- Committed team with appropriate skill sets
- Time to market and pay-off opportunities for investors
- Ability to develop substantial operations in Maryland