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Big Rowdy Idea

What’s your Big Rowdy Idea?

Business Model Competition

The expressed purpose of the CITE Business Model Competition is to teach the Lean Startup Methodology and prepare participants to launch scalable entrepreneurial ventures while simultaneously pursuing their degree program or working at UTSA.

Why should you compete?
1. Show your talent and connect with San Antonio employers in a setting that puts you and your skills in the spotlight
2. Build your resume and stand out from the crowd when applying for jobs
3. Challenge yourself and gain key transferable skills that can be applied in any job
4. Test your ideas and business model in a risk-free environment and get valuable feedback from judges and mentors on key aspects of your business
5. Gain access to mentors and networking opportunities to either raise funds for your startup or land a new job
6. Last but not least, win $$$ and access to resources

2016 Winners

Novothelium, 1st place
STEMpak, 2nd place
Smart Road Sensors & Face Inc., 3rd place

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Open to all UTSA students (undergraduates, graduates, doctoral) of any major, postdocs, staff and faculty.
Team Formation Maximum of 6 members. Interdisciplinary teams are strongly encouraged.
Nature of Idea/Venture The business submissions must be the team’s original work and ideas.
Any type of project/idea is acceptable as long as it is scalable.1
However, buyouts, expansion of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, or spinouts from an existing corporation are NOT acceptable.Previous years CITE competitors are NOT allowed to participate wit the same or similar idea again.
Investment and Revenue Companies who have received more than $100K of investment/grant (from any source) prior to the current academic year are NOT eligible to compete.
Competing teams/companies should not receive any revenue prior to the current academic year.
1A scalable business model is a business that sees increasing returns as it invests more in capital, labor and services. This generally means that unit costs decline as your business expands. Scalability is what makes a business, in the simplest terms, big, and which typically means greater revenue streams; combine this with efficiencies created by economies of scale, and therefore lower costs, and you have a recipe for a profitable business with strong growth potential. 

Key Dates and Activities

August 1 Applications open
September 16 Application and Big Idea Canvas submission deadline
September 19 Kick off Event

1.First Round: Elevator Pitch Evening (30 Seconds Pitch)

2. Lean Startup Methodology, Customer Discovery, and Business Model Canvas (BMC) Introduction
Registration and guidance to LaunchPad Central (LPC) Platform, Competition Resources, Deliverables, and Expectations
3. Mentors Introductions and Involvement

September 20-October 16 1. Watch all required LPC Videos
2. Create business thesis3. Create hypothesis for all nine blocks of Business Model Canvas in LPC Platform4. Conduct Customer Interviews to validate (or invalidate) assumptions stated on BMC and upload them into LPC5. Begin working on market research and Competitive Product Forms
October 17 Mid Program Video
1. Submit required presentation and a three minute video (or voice over PPT)
October 18-31 1. Based on the feedback received from the interviews, continue improving BMC
2. Continue testing the assumptions stated on BMC and upload customer interviews into LPC
3. Finish the Market Research and Competitive Product Forms
4. Refine the Business Thesis based on the customer’s feedback and interview findings5. Prepare presentation for the Second Round Pitches Event
November 1 Deadline to Complete all the following Deliverables:
1. Watch all the required LPC videos
2. Complete all nine sections of BMC
3. Complete the Market Research Form
4. Complete the Competitive Products Form5. Conduct and record at least 20 “Approved” Customer Interviews
November 3 Team notifications
November 7 Second Round – Evening Pitches:
1. PowerPoint Presentation due by Noon on LPC
2. Three minute pitch3. Q&A from judges
November 10 Top 5 finalists announcement
Novembr 13 Mandatory 1-hour pitch practice session with business mentor
November 28 Final Round Pitches at the Tech Symposium Day

1. PowerPoint Presentation due by Noon on LPC
2. Seven minute pitch and three minutes for Q&A


1st Place $5,000 Cash
$5,000 Investment
In-Kind Services*2
2nd Place $1,500 Cash & In-Kind Services*2
3rd Place $1,000 Cash & In-Kind Services*2
Note: Projects that are technology enabled will qualify for an award of up to $2,000 for prototype/proof of concept expenses related to their project. Condition for the award: satisfactory comletion of all required deliverables to pitch at the Second Round and 3 minute pitch delivered. More details about the award will be provided at the kickoff meeting.
*2 Services to help start your scalable new venture. A complete list of services will be provided at the Final Round.


Judging Criteria

1st Round – Elevator Pitch: In order to continue to the 2nd Round, a team must submit the Big Rowdy Idea application and the Big Idea Canvas on time, and make the 30 seconds elevator pitch at the Kick-Off Event.
2nd and Final Round: Each of the elements below will be scored on a 10-point scale by judges independently. Those scores will be tallied and compiled for a total possible score of 90 points per team. Teams will then be ranked according to the aggregate score.

  1. How well did the team identify the assumptions crucial to their business?
  2. How well did they design and carry out their tests? (test with customers and/or partners)
  3. How well did the team take action based on the results of the test? (pivot, retest assumptions, etc.)
  4. Did they arrive at a viable business model?
  5. How unique is their value proposition and have they identified barriers to entry? (Who are your competitors? How are you different? What tests show that customers would prefer your solution?)
  6. Is the team solving a significant problem (defined in terms of money or impact)?
  7. Does the team/company have a proof of concept/prototype built?
  8. Does the team have significant evidence that the solution is validated (includes letters of intent, purchase contracts, sales, and partners)?
  9. Does the team have a feasible plan to get to an investable proof of concept?


Click here to fill out the Application Form (log in using your UTSA Credentials) and download the Big Idea Canvas that will help you develop your Big Idea Hypothesis. After you submit your application, please send an electronic copy of your completed “Big Idea Canvas” (both pages) to cite@utsa.edu. Your submission won’t be considered “complete” until we receive your canvas. You will receive a confirmation email when your canvas and application have been received by the CITE Administration Team.

Don’t have an idea but want to be part of a project? Teams are always looking for passionate entrepreneurs with any background to form a diverse and interdisciplinary team that can increase their chances of succeeding. Please fill out this form and we will connect you with teams that are looking for people like you.

If you have any questions or problems submitting your application, please contact Diego Capeletti at diego.capeletti@utsa.edu or at (210) 458-6559.