Competitors-Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Carnegie Mellon University


The McGinnis Venture Competition is a three-round business competition, the first two rounds are virtual and the final round is live. Submission requirements and guidelines can be found below. Teams that advance to the final round should use all feedback from previous rounds to their competitive advantage.

Why Compete?

Grand Prizes

Teams compete for the chance to win investments worth a total of $60K.*

Prize Allocation:

Graduate Track

  • First Place: $25,000
  • Second Place: $15,000
  • Third Place: $10,000

Undergraduate Track
Undergraduate track winners also are awarded a place in the CMU Venture Challenge

  • First Place: $4,000
  • Second Place: $2,500

The remaining $3,500 will sponsor the CMU Venture Challenge.

*Investments are awarded in the form of a convertible note.

Help Along the Way

CONNECTS events are held throughout the year to help teams prepare.

Here are a few video resources that we suggest to help with your video pitch: 


This year's competition will include coaches for each team that declares participation in the McGinnis Venture Competition via iStart by Tuesday, December 1. The CIE staff will match the appropriate team with an appropriate coach. If a team is not registered by Tuesday, December 1, the CIE cannot guarantee that a coach will be assigned for the competition.

Networking Opportunities

Meet and interact with peers who are also passionate about entrepreneurship, and gain access to Carnegie Mellon’s amazing entrepreneurial alumni network. Teams from all rounds enjoy access to exclusive networking events.


Teams interested in competing should carefully read the eligibility rules, requirements and guidelines and judging criteria (below).

Registration opens Monday, November 2, 2015 via iStart

Deadline to apply is Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Eligibility Details

Track Details

Requirements and Guidelines: Round 1

Requirements and Guidelines: Round 2

Requirements and Guidelines: Round 3

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines

Judging Guidelines

Coaching Guidelines

CIE Calendar

2016 Important Dates & Deadlines

Mon, November 2: Registration Opens. Competition Application Requirements Released

Tues, December 1: Declaration of Intent to Compete Due; If you register on iStart by Tuesday, December 1 you will be guaranteed to be assigned a coach for the rest of the competition; for those who register after Tuesday, December 1, we cannot guarantee that you will be assigned a coach for the competition

Tues, January 19: Round 1 Registration Closes at 11:59 PM EST; Round 1 Executive Summary [pdf] and Video Pitch Due

Mon, February 1: Teams Notified; Round 2 Begins at 5:00 PM EST

Mon, February 22: Round 2 Registration Closes at 11:59 PM EST; Round 2 updated Executive Summary [pdf] and Video Pitch Due

Thurs, March 3: Teams Notified; Round 3 Begins at 5:00 PM EST

Thurs, March 24: Round 3 Mini-Business Plan [pdf] Due

Thurs, March 31: Live Final Round will be held at Carnegie Mellon University, Jared L. Cohon University Center