About the Competition

The National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) proudly sponsors the UMass Amherst Entrepreneurship Initiative's Executive Summary Competition to recognize the most talented and committed collegiate entrepreneurs. Competition winners receive cash prizes and opportunities for advanced mentoring.

  • What we look for - Entrepreneurs with the strongest business proposition and ability to execute. 
  • Process - Submit your documentation according to our guidelines (detailed in the TIME LINE section below).  A screening committee decides if you make it to the finals. There you give a 90-second "elevator pitch" to our judges and answer their questions in a public event.  Winners receive monetary awards and mentoring.

Full Details

Eligibility, you must...

  • Be an current undergraduate, graduate student (full-time or part-time), OR a recent (within 5 years) alumni of one of our participating schools: UMass Amherst, Smith College, Hampshire College, or Mt. Holyoke College.
  • Be actively engaged in launching or running your own business

If you win, you must commit to presenting at the HGCF Entrepreneurship Awards Ceremony & Banquet on Wednesday, April 29, 2009, as well as at the annual fall Entrepreneurship Conference in November of 2010 (exact date TBA).

Judging Criteria

Our judges are looking to recognize companies with the strongest business proposition and ability to execute. 

By a strong business proposition, we mean a company with compelling answers to the questions posed in the executive summary template.  By ability to execute, we mean entrepreneurs with the ability, knowledge, ambition and passion to make the business successful.

Our judges, just like real investors or partners, will rely on a "gut" analysis of your written documentation, in-person presentation, and your ability to answer their questions live.  Also, like the real world, good written documentation is needed to get your foot in the door (get you into the finals), but to win you will need to sell your story in person.

Want to see a sample executive summary? 2000 winner: All inPlay

    Competition Finals

    This is an open-to-the-public event.  Each company will have 90 seconds to deliver a verbal "elevator pitch," followed by several minutes of Q&A from the judges.  The judges will then deliberate to determine the final ranking.  Meanwhile, the finalists will take questions and receive feedback from the audience.  When the judges return, they will provide constructive feedback to each finalist and announce the final ranking.  After the competition is over, the finalists, judges, and organizers will enjoy a private, sociable dinner together.

    Sample Finalists (Spring 2009)

    • ANDANJE FOUNDATION - We seek to provide computers & learning technology to youth in remote regions of developing nations, starting with seven pilot programs in Kenya.  Our goal is to use computer literacy & technological learning strategies to open doors of opportunity to critically underserved children.
    • Apera Solutions - is a technology integration firm which is developing a process that enables a synergy of industrial efficiency, renewable power, and renewable fuels within the ethanol and wind markets. 
    • Localocracy - is a web-based platform for political discussion where users who have been verified as living in a particular community can post and rank responses to their local issues. The service is free to the general public, and is paid for by special interest groups who pay for targeted placement.
    • MicroTissues, Inc. - is dedicated to the commercialization of the 3-D Petri dish, a proprietary new tool for the life sciences industry. The 3-D Petri dish is an enabling technology that can grow cells in three dimensions and will reduce the cost to discover new drugs by the pharmaceutical industry.
    • Precision Slip - is a concept company with a laboratory proven drag reducing marine coating technology capable of decreasing fuel consumption at least 40% for a typical merchant ship or providing the winning edge in the America’s Cup.

    Sample Judges (Spring 2009)

    • Denise Dukette - Director of Lending at Western Mass. Enterprise Fund 
    • John Kole - President at Merrimack Capital LLC, Executive Committee Member at River Valley Investors
    • Joseph Steig - Director, Venture Well and CFO, Long River Ventures, Co-Founder of the River Valley Investors and EI
    • Paul GelinasCEO at Zippy Blue LLC, Member of the River Valley Investors
    • Steve Willis - Co-founder of Wellfleet Communications and Argon Networks
    • DR Widder - Principal at Milestone Strategies Group, Member of the River Valley Investors
    • Bill Fontes - Senior Vice President, Commercial Banking at Easthampton Savings Bank
      No website available at this time


    Applications submitted to the competition should be considered PUBLIC.  The documents may be shared with judges, advisors, future students as an example, etc.  Entrepreneurs should therefore ensure that their documentation does not contain secret or proprietary information.  Regardless of weather or not a document is labeled as confidential, it will not be considered confidential once received by EI.