The Syracuse Panasci Business Plan Competition

The Syracuse Panasci Business Plan Competition is sponsored annually by the Department of Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises at Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management. Its goal is to create incentives for student entrepreneurs to build new growth businesses, the ones that will attract serious investors and potentially achieve an annual revenue of $5 million to $10 million.

The Panasci competition is one of two business plan competitions offered by Syracuse – the other is the Capstone Business Plan Competition for graduating seniors in the entrepreneurship program. The namesake of the competition is Mr. Henry A. Panasci, Jr., whose $1,000,000 gift to Syracuse University made funding of the competition awards possible.

This competition is open to students enrolled in Syracuse University. They may be from any major, undergraduate or graduate. Teams may include persons not affiliated with the university, but team leaders must be current students and the business plan must be original work.

Like many other competitions around the country, the Syracuse Panasci Business Plan Competition begins with an online registration. This takes place in December. Throughout the time frame of the competition, organizers host various workshops (with topics like “Assessing the Industry in Which You will Operate” and “Setting Up the Pro Forma Financial Statements”).

The first phase of the actual competition is the four-page executive summary, due in late January. Judges determine the most viable businesses from these summaries and choose several to continue in the competition with full business plans. A first draft of the plans are due in mid-March, and 15 semi-finalists are chosen about two weeks later.

The semi-finalists turn in a final draft of their plans by the second week in April and begin preparing their oral presentations. The contest is held at Syracuse University over two days at the end of April. The first day features presentations from all semi-finalists, and four are chosen as finalists for another presentation the next day. The competition draws to a conclusion with an awards banquet that night.

First prize takes home $25,000. Second place earns $10,000. Third place gets $5,000. The prize money is not paid at the awards ceremony, but held by competition organizers until teams have officially organized their company (filed paperwork to become a corporation or LLC) and requested the money. If any winner does not fulfill these requirements by December of the year of the contest, the winnings are forfeited.