So this is how it works:

When: March 3 and 4, 2017
Where: The University of Texas at El Paso

Student Competition Prizes

PDNVC+E Regional Prize $10,000 first prize

Important Dates & Forms

Monday, December 5, 2016 Submission of Intent to Compete Form
Monday, January 23, 2017 Submission of Team Competition Entry Form
Monday, February 20, 2017 Submission of Electronic copy of the Competition Written Business Plan
Monday, February 20, 2017 Submission of Team Eligibility, Permission, and Prize Money Forms
March 3 and 4, 2017 Paso del Norte Venture Competition and Expo

The PDNVC+E is for student created, managed, and owned ventures. Teams will present business plans based on innovative technologies and ideas to judges who are successful business people and entrepreneurs. Teams must submit a written business plan prior to the event and are expected to participate fully in the competition.

To be eligible students must:

  1. Have played a major role in conceiving the venture
  2. Have key management roles in the venture
  3. Own significant equity in the venture.
  4. The maximum number of students on a Competition Team is five (5), although there is no restriction on the total size of the venture's founding team.
  5. In order to be eligible to be on the Competition Team students must have been enrolled for at least one (1) semester of the academic year in which the competition is held.

PDNVC+E Requirements

Judging Criteria
Judges will evaluate the team's presentation at the expo, the written plan, and the oral presentation at the competition. Judges will score the materials presented in the following manner:
Judges Evaluation Form

Judging will focus on clarity and quality of the written plan, clarity and quality of the oral presentation, ability to address issues/concerns raised by the judges, viability of the proposed venture, perceived ability of the management team to carry out the proposed venture, and prospective financial return to investors. For the Expo component, the participants should maintain the same level of professionalism as in the competition. There will be "ghost" judges that will ask questions just like the questions any visitor would ask, and the teams must clarify any doubts in a clear and concise manner.

Entry Forms and Written Business Plan

Each school must submit an Intent to Compete Form in order to reserve slots for their Teams in the PDNVC.

Additionally, each team must submit an Intent to Participate Form detailing the names of team members and a project description. This form certifies that all work on the business plan by all team members is original.

Teams must submit an electronic copy of the written business plan in English. Plans should be:

Plans should be submitted to Aaron Cervantes at

Elevator Pitch

All Teams will participate in an Opening Reception. During the reception, one team member will present a 60 second Elevator Pitch to an audience of entrepreneurs, investors, academics and their peers. The winner will receive a cash prize.

PowerPoint/Oral Presentations

Expo - Student teams have to participate at the Expo. They will have a table and must have a display to show their venture. Team members will pitch their business idea to all the assistants at the expo and must be able to answer all questions.

Additionally, there will be “ghost” judges that will evaluate the quality of the presentation as well as the ability of the members to present. This evaluation will count towards the overall score for the final and challenge rounds.

Opening Round - Investor Presentation (Power Point / Oral):
Each team will be given 15 minutes to present its business plan followed by a 15 minute question and answer session between the presenting team and the judges. Teams will then participate in Feedback Rounds. Teams that are selected to go onto the final round will present the second day of competition. All teams not in the final round will present in Challenge Rounds. In these each team will be given 20 minutes to present its business plan followed by up to 25 minutes of question and answer. THESE TIME LIMITS WILL BE STRICTLY ENFORCED. Each member of the team must participate in the formal presentation of the plan.

NOTE: During the team's presentation, coaches and/or mentors are not allowed to participate or comment. Additionally, coaches and/or mentors are not allowed to approach the judges before, during, or after their teams have presented. In case this occurs, the team would be disqualified immediately.

Each team must present its business plan following these rules:


IP Considerations:

Nature of Ventures

Companies must intend to be operating companies with corporate structures and financial statements that reflect real operating revenues and expenses. This is intended to exclude investment vehicles, partnerships, licensing and other pass-through entities where returns are measured for investment value versus operating earnings.

The competition focuses on new, independent ventures in the seed, start-up or early growth stages. In addition to what is outlined in the above paragraph, generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, roll-ups, real estate syndications, tax shelters, franchise based outlets, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area and spin-outs from existing corporations.

Licensing technologies from universities or research labs is encouraged assuming there has been no previous commercialization. Key in these types of ventures is demonstrating significant added value to the technology through the efforts of the management team.

All ventures must be seeking outside equity capital.

Prior Activity

Ventures and their base concepts may compete for only one season in the competition. Ventures that have generated revenue or raised equity capital from sources other than the members of the student team before the current academic year are excluded.

University Sponsorship and Faculty Adviser Involvement

Preferably, the business plan must be prepared under mentor supervision, and it is highly encouraged that the mentor be active faculty. The business plan must represent the original work of members of the team. All universities with participating teams are strongly encouraged to send faculty or other university advisors with the team to most, if not all, of the competitions in which their teams compete.

Bids to competition must be accepted by a team's faculty adviser. The faculty adviser must, on behalf of the sponsoring university, attest to the eligibility of team, their adherence to the rules and guidelines and acknowledge potential penalties for violations and infractions.

For further information on PDNVC:
Please contact Aaron Cervantes
Phone: (915) 747-6157
Email: Contact Us