Submission Requirements & Deadlines

Submission Guidelines for New Applicants

Information and deadlines for the April 15, 2022 event. Please check this page for future updates.


Important Dates



Written Submission Deadline (5 pages, financials, appendices) Thursday, March 24, 2022; 6 p.m.
Acceptance Notification Friday, March 25, 2022; 3 p.m.
Revised Written Submission Tuesday, April 5, 2022; 6 p.m.
Competition Day Friday, April 15, 2022; 7:30 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Competition Public Event Friday, April 15, 2022; 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.

Link to Submission Application

Submissions are due no later than 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, 2022.
Review below requirements prior to applying.


To compete in the Business Startup Challenge, you must have at least one person on your business team who meets all of the following criteria. ONLY PERSONS MEETING THESE CRITERIA ARE PERMITTED TO PRESENT IN THE COMPETITION AND Q&A. Individuals who do not fit the eligibility criteria are welcome to participate in planning the venture as well as travel to Missoula and attend the event and cheer on their team.

Ventures that have already received more than $50k in angel or VC funding (not friends and family) are not eligible to compete.

The teammate who presents must:

  • Be a full or part-time undergraduate or graduate level student.
  • Have been enrolled in a college or university located in the state of Montana sometime during the current academic year.

Submission Requirements

Submissions must be:

  • Original work of the students on the team.
  • New ventures, “not for profits,” social entrepreneurship organizations, or existing firms with new and/or expansion opportunities. Ventures built around private sector licensing of existing commercially viable technologies from universities or research labs are encouraged.
  • Ventures which have previously competed in the Business Startup Challenge (does not include the Fall Startup Pitch Competition) may compete again if they did not reach the final four or win an award in prior years. It is anticipated that such ventures would have made significant progress with their startup between competition years.
  • For UM teams, you should notify Paul Gladen, Director, Blackstone LaunchPad of your intent to compete ( We strongly recommend scheduling a meeting with Paul or one of the Blackstone LaunchPad's consulting team to seek their guidance and advice on your entry prior to submission via the Blackstone LaunchPad website (
  • For non-UM teams, we encourage you to seek the support of a faculty advisor from your institution. We will require you to submit the name and contact details of faculty advisor from your institution when you submit your entry.

Your Submission:

To be considered for participation in the live event and to win prizes, your team will need to upload a written submission. Download the Official Submission & Presentation Guidelines.

If you experience a technical issue while submitting, please contact Paul Gladen,

How To Win

  1. Work with the LaunchPad!!
  2. Work on launching your business (not winning the competition)
  3. External validation: customers, suppliers
  4. Tangible progress: customers (or commitments/waiting list), products, designs/prototypes, websites, social media engagement
  5. Tell a story
  6. Keep it simple, concise and avoid jargon
  7. Develop your written submission and pitch deck EARLY and ITERATE
  8. Practice your elevator pitch early and often (DON'T LEARN A SCRIPT)
  9. Practice your pitch (deck) delivery EARLY AND OFTEN
    1. Recommended deck outline:
    2. Pitch deck tips:
  10. Anticipate questions and in some instances tee them up and have supporting slides ready