Submissions must be less than 3,000 words, including brief team bios. 127 teams entered this year.
All entrants attend and the winning semifinalists teams are announced. A representative of each semifinalist team comes forward and gives a 60-second presentation on the team's business concept. A $100 award is given for best pitch or “elevator speech.” Only these semifinalist teams go on to compete in the finals.
The judges then spend the next two weeks reading the entries and winnowing them down to the list of finalists. Business plans must be no more than 40 pages.
The finalists, usually around seven teams, will begin preparing their presentations for the judges.
The finalists will give their presentation to the judges in a private, confidential session. Each team hopes to convince the judges that it can be most successful in achieving the business goals it has outlined.
Each finalist team will give a presentation to the audience. Then, at the climax of the evening, the winners will be announced. The winner receives $30,000 and two runners up each receive $10,000.
Teams receive the first half of their prize money upon incorporation and the second half pending a progress review by the competition judges in early fall.
MIT $50K Educational Resources and Events
This competition is a “warm-up” for the MIT $50K. Teams compete by submitting an executive summary of their business concept by Nov. 19, 2003, and on Dec. 4, 10 teams each won a $1,000 prize. Judges provide each team with substantive input on their plans. Teams do not have to enter the $1K to enter the $50K and all of the $1K entrants do not go onto the MIT $50K.
These events create excitement about the competition, explain the process, and help students get together to form teams.
From October right through the final awards in May, the $50K competition sponsors workshops to help teams learn the skills needed to start a company. These workshops include sessions on intellectual property, funding, and marketing. Teams also benefit from classes held in January, during MIT's Independent Activities Period.
These events, held early in the year, facilitate getting students together in teams, so each team can find its ideal blend of tech and management experience and interest.
MIT runs this yearly conference where entrepreneurship contest organizers from organizations around the world come together to share best practices. The workshops are held in a different country each year. The first was held at MIT. This year's will be held in Cambridge, England, from March 25-27 and will include organizations from five continents.
All semi-finalist teams are matched with at least one experienced businessperson, outside MIT, who serves as advisor and mentor, providing guidance on the business plan.
Armina Karapetyan, $50K Communications Lead
Kathleen Rowe, MIT Sloan Media Relations
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