Our Mission

The Burgess New Venture Challenge showcases Michigan State University’s top student entrepreneurial talent.

As Spartans, we are committed to the greater good—and the Burgess New Venture Challenge is a part of that commitment. This competition harnesses the entrepreneurial mindset, providing students with the opportunity to bring their big ideas and innovative solutions in front of a larger audience. Offering mentorship, connections with successful and emerging entrepreneurial alums, and the opportunity to build key relationships with investors from across the ecosystem, the Burgess New Venture Challenge is experiential learning at its finest.

Awards and Prizes

Burgess New Venture Challenge awarded the top three team with cash prizes. All semifinalist teams are eligible for resources and support.

Awards are granted to the winning teams in tranches based on milestones and in the form of scholarships that are refunded to the students as long as they do not have any outstanding balances (tuition, tickets, etc.) with the University.

What are the Prize Values?

1st Place • $15,000: PhenoLogic 🏆
2nd Place • $10,000: VEG-N 🏆
3rd Place • $5,000: Starforged Studios 🏆

*The top three winning teams will automatically receive a meeting with Red Cedar Ventures to discuss a possible investment.


Key Dates & Judging Process

Applicants will be asked questions related to the following aspects of the business or idea:

• What problem are you addressing?

• What is your proposed product/service and how does it solve the problem?:

• Who wants your solution? How large or valuable is the potential market?

• What costs are associated with your business and launching your idea?


• February 16: Applications close by 11:59 pm

You will receive a free Liveplan account to develop your business plan

You must meet with coaches/mentors for guidance

• March 2: Full business plans due

• March 5: If accepted as a finalist, you must reply by 4 pm

• March 9: Finalists announced

• March 12: Mandatory group practice pitch session

• March 16: Final pitch decks in PowerPoint, high res logo, final business plan due

• March 24: Event (2:30 - 8:30 pm) - as a finalist, you will participate in a trade-show format, present to a panel of judges, and may have the opportunity to pitch in front of the entire audience.

Rules, Eligibility, & Declaration

• The company must be at least 50% owned by a currently registered Michigan State University student (undergraduate or graduate)

• The applicant must be a currently enrolled student at Michigan State University

• The applicant must be enrolled in the Burgess Institute Discovery Program

• If the company/idea won a monetary award at a prior Broad Business Model Competition/Burgess New Venture Challenge, you are not eligible to compete in this Burgess New Venture Challenge

• If selected as a finalist, you will respond by the required reply-by date

• If selected as a finalist, you will attend the mandatory group practice pitch session

• If selected as a finalist, you understand you may be contacted on a regular basis and asked to provide data on company status, metrics, and, where applicable, financials

• If you attend the Burgess New Venture Challenge, you understand that your images may be used—but not limited to—in marketing materials and social media campaigns.

• If you are selected to receive a financial award, you will make your best effort to promote the Burgess New Venture Challenge as a supporter of your company.

For more information, please reach out to Lori Fischer: fisch210@msu.edu