Formation Zone Business Challenge - eligibility and rules

Eligibility and rules

Eligibility: It is the responsibility of each applicant to ensure they are eligible to enter the Formation Zone Business Challenge.

The Formation Zone Business Challenge is open to:

  • Current University of Plymouth students - including undergraduates, postgraduates and contract researchers, PhD students and post-doctoral scientists. Excludes CPD students.
  • UPC (University of Plymouth Colleges) students - students who are studying for full University of Plymouth awards. Excludes students studying for CPD Awards and University short courses. Eligible partner institutions include: Bicton College, Bridgwater College, City College Plymouth, City of Bristol College, Cornwall College (including Duchy College and Falmouth Marine School), Exeter College, Highlands College, Petroc, Somerset College, South Devon College, Strode College, Tor Bridge High, Truro and Penwith College, Weymouth College and FOST HM, HMS Drake.
  • CUC (Cornwall) students (all HE and FE courses) - Eligible institutions are University of Plymouth, University of Exeter in Cornwall, University College Falmouth, Cornwall College (includes Duchy College and Falmouth Marine School), Truro and Penwith College.
  • Alumni from 2015/16 and 2016/17.


Entries can be from individuals or teams.

  • Teams can enter the competition but all team members are required to meet the above eligibility criteria. All teams must have a business team name for reference purposes and elect a named team leader to act on the team's behalf. We will correspond with this person only in the first instance.
  • The person elected as team leader should have the agreement of all members to act on the team’s behalf and receive any elements of support packages or prizes won on behalf of the whole team and share them with the members of the team as agreed by them. The Formation Zone Business Challenge will only award prizes or support packages to the team leader unless by special prior agreement. Once such awards have been made to the team leader, the Formation Zone Business Challenge will have fulfilled in full its obligations to the team.
  • Prior to submitting a team entry, the team must have formally agreed their terms of collaboration between themselves and with any other parties who may have rights over the ideas or products. We may require you to produce such an agreement should any issues arise.
  • Entrants may be asked to provide proof of their eligibility.
  • The business idea or concept may include both new products and new services. It must be original and with the aim or intention to be the basis of a viable enterprise.
  • Entries cannot be accepted from existing companies that have received equity finance.
  • Entries will only be accepted from existing companies who have a new idea if they have been trading for less than 12 months.
  • Re-entries of business plans submitted in a previous year of the Formation Zone Business Challenge will only be accepted where the entrant demonstrates that progress has been made in the development of the idea and that this is reflected by improvements to the business plan based on the previous judge’s feedback. It is expected that these entrants will participate in the programme of support where applicable.
  • Re-entries of prize winning business plans submitted in a previous year of the Formation Zone Business Challenge WILL NOT be accepted
  • Business plans can only be accepted as an electronic file on the Formation Zone Business Challenge business plan document which are available on registration to the competition.
  • Supplementary information can be submitted, but only as an appendix to the full business plan.
  • Business plans must be submitted in electronic format (email or CD) and should not exceed 500kb by 26 February 2018. Late entries will not be accepted. Entries should be submitted to:
  • Each business idea must be submitted as a separate business plan.
  • The length of business plan is limited to the number of words stated in the application forms. Business plans substantially exceeding the recommended limits will only be judged at the judge’s discretion and may, therefore, be excluded from the competition.
  • Business plans must describe a new business idea. New projects/ideas within existing businesses are eligible for entry provided the applicants meet the eligibility criteria.
  • All business plans must be the original work of the entrants. All business plans must be factual.
  • In the event of a deadlock, the chair of judges will have the casting vote.
  • The judging panel reserves the right to disqualify any business plan that, in its opinion, violates the spirit of the competition.
  • All entrants will receive constructive feedback on their business plan from the judges.
  • Judging criteria is available on the business plan.
  • Changes to rules and regulations are at the discretion of the competition organisation.
  • All business plans will be held in confidence.
  • It is the responsibility of the applicants to confirm that they have the right to exploit any intellectual property contained in their business plan. Entries should be made with full understanding of laws on intellectual property. It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that no third party, such as a research sponsor or another person who participated in your research or idea development, has any rights on the idea which may prevent its exploitation, or where such rights may exist written agreement on exploitation is obtained.
  • Proprietary information about the idea should not be disclosed in the public summary posters or presentations, as this information may be published.
  • The protection of intellectual property or other rights of the entrants are the ultimate responsibility of each entrant. Entrants are urged to mark 'confidential' on any portion of their business plan that they consider to be confidential. Entrants should be careful about disclosing any patentable concepts in their entries.
  • Entry fees: There are no entry fees for entering any part of the competition.
  • The Formation Zone Business Challenge, its partners and sponsors cannot take responsibility for lost business plans.
  • Prizes at all levels of the competition must be used to develop the submitted business idea and not used for any other purpose. Evidence in the form of receipts of purchase may be requested to show how prize money has been spent. In-kind packages will be awarded at the competition management team’s discretion according to suitability and need.
  • In order to provide you with support during the competition we will pass your contact details on to our partners who will then provide you with 1:1 and group support as part of the programme. We recommend that you access this support to help you to produce a business plan for submission. If you object to your details being supplied to our partners, please indicate this on your application form.

If you have any queries regarding the terms and conditions please contact: