Harvard Business School A. Lorne Weil Outrageous Business Plan Competition

    The A. Lorne Weil Outrageous Business Plan Competition is hosted every spring by the Eugene M. Lang Center for Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School. A cash prize of $14,000, donated by Columbia Business School alumnus A. Lorne Weil, is divided among the winners, with prizes reserved for socially conscious ventures. This competition encourages Columbia students to develop and present creative entrepreneurial ideas that are sufficiently ambitious in scope and scale to be considered “outrageous.”

    An outrageous plan is one that borders the line between being fundable by venture capitalists and rejected as unfeasible for traditional investors. Plans are judged based on their ambition, innovation, creativity and the persuasiveness with which they are presented. The winning plans will clearly define a solution to a business problem as well as address the business issues that could cause the venture to fail. Plans should meet the following criteria: ambitious in its scope and impact of society, innovative in its solution to solving a current business problem, shows a path for future profits to justify an investment, and persuasive in presentation to investors.

    Each team is made up of two to four Harvard students, at least one of whom must be an MBA-seeking business student. The students must also be a significant part of the proposed business. They first send an executive summary and later a full business plan to the organizers of the contest.

    On the day of the competition, each team presents a two-minute, video-taped “elevator pitch” to a panel of judges who then narrow the field down to a maximum of five finalists. These finalists present a formal 15 minute Power Point presentation to the judges, and winners are selected.

    First place takes home $5,000, second place gets $3,000, and third place earns $1,000. In the social venture category, first prize is $3,500 and second is $1,500.