‘Values and Ventures’ competition attracts undergrads from all over


2015 Values and Ventures winners from San Diego State University with the grand prize check.

It started in 2011 with only six teams. Today, the Neeley School of Business’ Values and Ventures competition is the largest solely undergraduate business plan competition in the U.S.

Last year, 49 teams competed; the same number is expected in April. The University of Notre Dame and Harvard University are among past competitors.

The competition hosts a diverse pool of participants and aims to provide a platform for undergraduate entrepreneurs.

“Most of them [business plan competitions] are geared for the graduate level student, which can be pretty intimidating,” said Matthew Smilor, director of Values and Ventures. “Undergraduates have just as valid as ideas as well, so let’s give them a platform to shine as well.”

The competition is open to any undergraduate student around the world with a business plan for a for-profit enterprise with a social purpose.

Smilor said students across all colleges and disciplines, not just business students, are encouraged to compete.

“There’s been inspiring stories across the board with these different teams and ideas that are really crossing that threshold of just a concept or idea to an actual revenue-generating business that can make a difference,” Smilor said.

Last year’s grand prize winners were from San Diego State University, but some of TCU’s very own got recognition. TCU students Nik Hall and Garrett Adair received an honorable mention for their business plan Vitafive, a vitamin subscription service.

Adair, a senior entrepreneurial management major, said the competition gave him a place to show the passion he had for his business.

No matter where they place in the competition, Smilor said he hopes it provides the students with a learning experience, networking opportunities and a good time.

“I want them to look forward to coming to Fort Worth and being invited to this competition because of the friendships they’re going to make, the experiences they’re going to have, and the knowledge they’re going to gain,” Smilor said.

This year’s competition will be held April 8-9 in the Brown-Lupton University Union.