2018 COMPETITION INFORMATION
in partnership with Springboard Enterprises, presents:
Entrepreneur YOU Business Plan & Pitch Competition
Michigan Women’s Foundation, in partnership with Springboard Enterprises, is pleased to announce its Annual Dolphin Tank – Entrepreneur YOU Business Plan and Pitch Competition. The competition is a funding opportunity for women who wish to start a new business or grow an existing business. Entry applications will be accepted from April 30-June 1 and contests will be held in three locations – Detroit, Grand Rapids and Jackson. Thirty total finalists will be selected, ten in each location, divided into two categories: growth and lifestyle. All finalists receive support services and technical assistance. Winners in each category at each location will be awarded cash prizes as follows:
1st Place $10,000
2nd Place $5,000
3rd Place $2,500
Best in Tank $1,000 (One winner per location)
(1) The Michigan based business must be majority owned and/or managed by a woman age 18 or older who is not related to any current Michigan Women’s Foundation employee.
(2) The woman must have played a significant role in conceiving the venture, hold a key management role in the business, be actively involved on a day to day basis and be the primary presenter at Dolphin
Tank. MWF reserves the right to confirm that an applicant meets these requirements and can disqualify anyone at any time if it is believed that the eligibility guidelines were violated in any manner.
(3) Entries will be organized into two categories: lifestyle and growth. All businesses will be judged based on the same criteria.
- Lifestyle Business – a Lifestyle business is run by its owners to suit their lifestyle and provide them with income. In general, the business owner is not interested in growing the company into a larger enterprise that would need many employees, a management team or more resources. Examples include an independent coffee shop or retail store, an artisan producing and selling their own goods and a professional consultancy. Lifestyle businesses tend to not attract outside investors.
- Growth Business - A Growth business has the potential to scale significantly in size and revenue. An example is a technology-based startup with potential to be acquired or go public. Other examples include a retail or food establishment that can expand to multiple locations to become a chain or franchise, or a business that grows its number of employees to over 50. Growth businesses can be attractive to outside investors.
(4) Submissions must be the original work of the applicant. MWF reserves the right to reject or disqualify any entry for reasons including, but not limited to:
- violates any local, state or national law and/or appears to be unethical in nature;
- was previously awarded a cash prize in the competition;
- does not follow application directions or submits an incomplete application;
- does not meet the eligibility requirements; or
- individual is discovered to not be a full, active and leading member of the business.
What to expect as a Dolphin Tank Finalist
Every finalist will be paired with a mentor/coach to help them develop a full business plan and prepare a pitch.
The Dolphin Tank® pitch session is a component of the final Entrepreneur YOU Business Plan and Pitch Competition. The Dolphin Tank is a "helpful feedback-driven" pitch session for entrepreneurs to receive constructive insights from knowledgeable professionals. It's an interactive discussion led by an expert panel of "dolphins" that focuses on one thing: "How can we help?" The objective is to provide connections and advice to enable entrepreneurs to capitalize on their opportunities.
While the Dolphin Tank session happens, the presenting entrepreneurs will be evaluated by judges who will select three winners from each region (Southeast Michigan, West Michigan, and Jackson).
2018 Timeline (subject to change)
Application Period - April 30-June 1
Review Period - June 1-early July
Semi-Finalist Interviews - mid-July
Finalists Notified - end of July
Final Pitch Competition - early November