Enterprising USD Students Compete in Business Plan Competition

Teams of business students at the University of San Diego will try to jump start their careers and launch their entrepreneurial dreams at the third annual USD Business Plan Competition this Friday, May 7. 

Three undergraduate and four graduate teams from USD’s School of Business Administration will compete this year for a total of $10,000 in prize money. The undergraduate finals competition takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre, followed  by the graduate school competition from 6 to 9 p.m.

This year’s plans range from innovative ideas in financial services to the fitness industry, said Helder Sebastiao, assistant professor of management and coordinator of the competition. “This year students are following their passions and what they know best,” he said.

“The purpose of the competition is to give students ‘real world’ experience in developing a business plan for a venture they are interested in launching, and presenting that plan to potential investors,” he added. “Over the last two years, at least two plans have actually been launched after the student entrepreneurs went through the competition.”

A panel of five judges will evaluate the teams and allocate a total of $10,000 in prize money. Undergraduate and graduate divisions will each receive $5,000 in prize money with each participant guaranteed a minimum of $500.

Judges include USD alumnus Tom Breitling, senior vice president of strategy and development for Wynn Las Vegas, and Andy Laats, president of Nixon, Inc., the Encinitas-based seller of branded watches and other fashion accessories. The prize money was made possible by a generous donation from local entrepreneurs Roger and Judy Benson, parents of a USD graduate alumnus.

“The competition helps students learn vital entrepreneurial skills and tools necessary to succeed, whether their ambitions are to launch their own venture, help an existing firm be more innovative and competitive, or to find a worthwhile career path in an uncertain economy,” said Sebastiao, “All who’ve participated in the competition feel it’s one of their best experiences at USD."

The media and the public are welcome to attend the free event.


About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.