Woodlawn Business Competition Rules ELIGIBILITY. In order to be eligible for the Competition prizes, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

  • 1) Woodlawn new or startup business and home-based businesses are eligible
  • 2) Be over 18 years old
  • 3) Agree to abide by the Contest Rules as detailed below
  • 4) Own rights to product and ideas they are pitching
  • 5) Have a Federal EIN if entering in the New Business Category
  • 6) Have a business license registration
  • 7) Submit a complete application at www.woodlawnchamberchicago.org

AWARD CATEGORIES Two prize packages will be awarded. Criteria for Startup and New Business categories: New Business: Must be in business for no more then 3 years with revenues of under $20,000 and ready to invest in your business growth. You will need to provide two forms of financial for proof. Must have valid State of Illinois business registration with EIN number. Startup Business: Must be less than one year in existence.

COMPETITION OVERVIEW Applicants must register for the Business Competition by submitting a complete application. All Competition applications must be received on or before 5pm (US Central) August 13, 2019. Entries must include all of the required materials. Finalists will prepare PowerPoint slides for their live presentations at the Awards Event on September 13, 2019. The winners will be announced at the end of the awards event. The judges will rate each applicant using pre-determined ranking criteria, including but not limited to: the viability and investment appeal of the Applicant’s Business Presentation; an initial 5 slide deck with all components laid out below, passion for business expressed during an elevator pitch video, and the quality of the in-person interview with the judges. All of these will be part of the judges’ selection and process.


  • • 35% Overall quality of the written submission
  • • 45% Individual interviews with Judging Committee
  • • 15% Final presentation at the awards event
  • • 10% Elevator pitch video submission

AWARDS The six finalists that will compete in September 2019 and will each receive cash prizes and in-kind services.

An evaluation team made up of experienced entrepreneurs and community leaders including legal counsel, marketing, website/ technology/app creation support, mentoring appointments, financial planning, and funding opportunities. Winners in each category, runners-up, and third place will receive cash with additional prizes. All services and cash will be distributed within one year of award.

The Woodlawn Chamber of Commerce Chicago will determine the amounts of the awards and reserves the right to change the awards at any time. Woodlawn Chamber of Commerce also has the right to cancel the awards if, at its sole discretion, it determines that there is not a suitable entrant or the winner has violated the contest rules. Cash awards and in-kind services are subject to change based on sponsor participation. The awards and in-kind services are non-transferable. There may be no cash or other substitutions of prizes by winner. The individual winner is solely responsible for all applicable federal, state and local taxes with respect to entire prize package. Note: For cash award – payouts will be made no later than end of 2019.

Who is Eligible to Participate?

  • • Contestants can be individuals or teams (3 person maximum) that own or operate a Woodlawn business.
  • • Contestants must present their original work and participate in all Competition activities
  • • An individual or team can submit only one entry. An individual cannot be a member of more than one team.

How to Participate?

  • • Individual or team contestants must submit a complete online application, including a Business Proposal. These items are due by Tuesday 5:00 PM (US Central) on Friday, August 13, 2019.
  • • Contestants agree to the following stipulations: a) their proposal represents the original work of the student(s) b) they will abide by all the guidelines and rules of the Competition c) they are responsible for all copyright, trademark and patent issues d) should contestant make it to the second round of the Competition, they will participate in all the activities associated with the Competition

Types of Businesses

  • • Proposals for buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area and spin-offs from existing corporations are excluded.
  • • Proposals to license technologies from universities or research labs are excluded.
  • • Proposed businesses must be projected to be financially profitable, be lawful and create jobs.
  • • Contestants must acknowledge that their proposed businesses are original and that the business idea is their own work.

Business Slide Deck

A business slide deck is required and must be uploaded to the application page. The slide deck must contain 5 slides and it should relay the viability of your business concept and is a big step in developing a complete business plan. It is a brief document that describes the proposed business and contains enough information to enable stakeholders to make an initial evaluation about the viability and attractiveness of the proposed business. For the Woodlawn Business Competition, five-slide business deck (presentation) must be submitted as a part of the application which is due by 5pm (US Central) August 13, 2019.

Please follow these rules for preparing the Business Deck (Presentation)

• Make sure the slide deck provides the following information:

  • – Name of the business
  • – Nature of the business (e.g., retailing, e-commerce, entertainment, etc.)
  • – Description of the product or service that the proposed venture will make or provide – The need for the product or service, including availability of substitute products (Why will customers buy this product or service?)
  • – Identification of the potential target market
  • -Marketing strategy (How will the company reach its target market and how does it have a competitive advantage?)
  • – Existing or potential competitors – Supply, distribution, and production strategies
  • – Financial overview (who are your current or future investors)
  • – Organization and Personnel (Who are the individuals who will initially manage the enterprise and handle key functions?)
  • – Background, experience, and skills of the contestant(s) in relation to the proposed business

The Three Year Timeline must not exceed 500 words.

Remember your slide deck proposal needs to differentiate your business from other competitors. The clarity and descriptiveness of your proposal will make a difference and enhance your chances of becoming a finalist. In the business world you would need to do the same thing to inspire investors to support your new venture.

The following statement must be included at the end of the Business Proposal:

The contestant(s) acknowledge that the ideas and concepts of this proposed business, as presented in this Business Proposal, are the original work of the contestants. All contestants agree to comply with the rules and guidelines of the Woodlawn Business Competition. Contestants are responsible for all copyright, trademark, and patent issues. If this submission is selected as a finalist in the Competition, the contestant(s) commit to developing and submitting a written Business Plan to Competition@woodlawnchamberchicago.org by 5:00 p.m. (US Central) on Tuesday, August 13, 2019, and to participating in all the activities before a panel of judges. All contestants will be notified by July 31, 2019 as to whether or not their proposal has been selected as a finalist for the Competition.