Overview & Judging

The Competition

Any team of students from any school or college at Syracuse University can enter the Panasci Business Plan Competition. Individuals can also enter; however, the team leader must be enrolled as a student in an SU program. The submissions must be the teams' own original work and ideas.

Get Help with Your Plan

Our of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises faculty work with student teams to enhance their business plans. Online resources on how to create a business plan and preparing financial statements are available. The Falcone Center offers special sessions with partner accounting and law firms, and occasionally hosts sessions with experts on subjects such as intellectual property and presenting financial information. The Falcone Center also is home to a video library of presentations of former business plan competition teams. Download the Nuts & Bolts Guide to Writing a Business Plan for an overview of creating your plan.


Teams first submit entries for judging in the preliminary/Overview Phase, which takes place in early February. The independent panel of outside judges reviews all preliminary entries then narrows the field to a group of teams to proceed to the second round, the Business Plan phase.

In the Business Plan phase, the qualifying teams finish researching their new venture ideas, then write and assemble a complete business plan.  These complete plans are reviewed by the judging panel, and judged on the basis of the concept, the market, the economics of the business, operations, management team, financing needed, and so forth.  Click on the presentation type for judging guidelines for the oral and written plan presentations.

The completed business plans are due by early April. The judging panel reviews the plans submitted, then selects 16 teams to proceed to the semi-final round – the Presentation phase. During the semi-finals, each of the 16 teams will have 15 minutes to present their business plans. The judges will have 10 minutes to question the presenters, and at the end of day one, 16 teams are narrowed down to five. Winners are determined and awards are presented after a second round of presentations on day two.


Prize money is awarded to the top three teams whose new venture ideas represent the best potential for growth and for attracting outside financing. Cash prizes will be  given to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. In addition, any team from the semi-final round is eligible to receive the following prizes:

  • The Fetner Prize in Sustainable Enterprise recognizes the entry reaching the final round of the competition that has the greatest potential for positive impact on society and the natural environment and best recognizes the interconnectedness of economic, environmental, and social considerations. The Fetner Prize is made possible through the generosity of Hal Fetner '83 BS, president & CEO of Durst-Fetner Residential, and his wife, Nina Fetner.
  • The Goldberg Prize for Technology and Innovation recognizes the entry that leverages advanced use of technology to create a scalable, profitable venture that provides value to customers, society, and shareholders alike. The Goldberg prize was established by Lee Goldberg, the Co-Founder and President of Vector Media Group, who is a 2007 graduate of the Whitman School of Management.

  • The Architectural Mailboxes, LLC Consumer Product and Innovation award recognizes the entry that best embodies the spirit of invention and creativity, by proposing a consumer product that will significantly improve upon yesterday’s solution. The winning concept will best address a real need, be forward-looking by considering how consumer behaviors will evolve in the future, and boldly attempt to reinvent the product segment in which it competes.

  • The AARP Foundation Prize may be awarded to the team whose business plan best addresses, with respect to low-income (those earning less than $40,000 household income) seniors (50+), one of more of the following needs: (1) the need to access adequate and nutritious food, (2) the need to live safely, independently, and comfortably in functional and affordable homes, (3) the need to increase and/or main income, (4) the need to enjoy the positive health outcomes of strong and sustaining social bonds.

All ideas must be successfully communicated and presented to the independent panel of judges. All the winners need to submit their corporate documents and request prize money by December 31st of the year in which they win.  Prize money not claimed by the December 31st deadline will be forfeited. 

1st Place $20,000
2nd Place $7,500
3rd Place $2,500
Fetner Prize in Sustainable Enterprise $5,000
Goldberg Prize in Technology & Innovation $2,500
Architectural Mailboxes, LLC Consumer Product Innovation Award


AARP Foundation Prize


View all past winners