Ingenuity17, Ingenuity17 Conference, students with businesses

March 9, 2017, by Elizabeth Smith

Ingenuity17 Business Plan: Keys to success

“The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary” – Vince Lombardi

Over the coming fortnight, the Ingenuity17 judges will have over 180 business plans to go through, in order to choose the Top 20. Whether this is your first or fifth Business Plan, we hope these tips can give you a final dose of confidence ready for the deadline.

With the deadline for Ingenuity17 applications fast approaching, we thought we would impart a final bit on knowledge on those yet to submit their business plan.


Focus on the opportunity

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Ingenuity17 mentor David Bailey sharing his tips for success

You are up against over 180 other business plans, and to get the judges attention, you need to stand out and make an impression. Make it clear what it is that turns it from a great idea into a business with potential.

Why would the investor be better off investing in your business rather than leaving money in a bank account, shares, or investing in another business? What is the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for the business? Why will people part with their cash to buy from you?

The prize fund available to Top 20 finalists totals £100,000+, and can open so many more doors to you and your business idea.

Understand your figures

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Ingenuity17 judge Liz Bolt mentoring some of the entrants at the Ingenuity17 Conference

Unlike your original application, your Ingenuity17 Business Plan needs a detailed analysis of potential cash flow.

There is also an opportunity to discuss how you plan on sourcing money to move your business idea forward. Make sure you’re realistic with this, and the speed at which you expect your business to grow. Most start ups don’t get £1million investments overnight from just one source.

There are plenty of options to ease you into the process of raising funds for your business, such as crowd sourcing, so make use of them!

“For a successful business plan, I’m looking for an indepth and well researched understanding of the market. Who are the key competitors? What do you offer that is better? Why you?  The applications that will stand out to me is where the numbers make sense and really stack up” – Liz Bolt, Ingenuity17 judge

There are clear instructions on the cash flow sheet, which should make filling it out as simple as possible, even if Maths isn’t your forte.

Get rid of any waffle

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Can you get the judges to applaud your Ingenuity17 Business Plan

We love eating waffles at The Ingenuity Lab. But that’s where our love for waffles ends.

The judges will see straight through filler language, and it can often detract from what you really want to say about your business idea. Invest your time and energy in generating buzz about your idea, rather than waffle! How can you grab the judges’ attention in 300 words?

Also, avoid using too much technical jargon when discussing your business idea, sell the benefits without disengaging the judges.

Remember, the deadline is Friday 10th March, midnight (GMT) and unfortunately, we won’t be able to accept any submissions after this!

We wish you all the best of luck with your Ingenuity17 Business Plan submissions, and should you have any final queries, please email ingenuitylab@nottingham.ac.uk.


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Posted in CompetitionNew BusinessThe Ingenuity Lab