Funding Innovation Since 1982. Learn, Create, and Succeed at the Knapp Venture Competition

Now in its 36th year, the student-run Knapp Venture Competition, hosted at UCLA Anderson School of Management by the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Entrepreneur Association, is designed to provide UCLA Anderson students with an intensive learning experience in the venture initiation process. The competition is named for Cleon T. (Bud) and Betsy Wood Knapp, who in 1997 made an endowment gift  to support this annual event, along with other entrepreneurial initiatives.

Virtually all UCLA Anderson students will start, work in, advise, or finance growing businesses at some point in their careers. Participating in the Knapp Venture Competition prepares students - whether they will be founders, financiers, consultants, marketers, or general managers - for these experiences by simulating the process of starting and evaluating an entrepreneurial enterprise.

While a business plan is the tangible outcome of each team's efforts, generating the document in and of itself is not the Knapp Venture Competition's primary objective. Rather, the Knapp Venture Competition encourages a rigorous and cross-disciplinary application of the tools that students have learned in the MBA program. It requires them to integrate concepts from the core curriculum - economics, finance, operations, marketing, accounting, strategy, and organizational development - into a total plan for starting and operating a business.

By refining a concept, researching its feasibility, building a management team, and preparing and presenting a plan, students test the full range of analytical and communications skills that they have developed while at Anderson. Moreover, they learn about their ability to work as a team and manage group dynamics. Finally, the screening and evaluative portions of the Knapp Venture Competition provide a solid feedback mechanism to the student teams. Dozens of entrepreneurs, alumni, and professional investors serve on the judging panels that evaluate each team's efforts. Year in and year out, students report that this feedback is one of the most valuable aspects of the competition.

Two other groups of students benefit from the Knapp Venture Competition. The student organizers are presented with an opportunity to develop their leadership skills, as well as with valuable access to the extensive entrepreneurial networks and resources of the Anderson community. The entire UCLA community is encouraged to view the competition's final presentations in order to support their classmates, prepare for their own participation in future competitions, and to learn the standards that professional investors and entrepreneurs apply in evaluating businesses.


Knapp Venture Competition

Competition activities begin each October and culminate with the final round of competition held at Anderson in late May. All dates and deadlines are communicated to students through the Entrepreneur Association email listserv.


Event Information

  • Registration
    Students will receive e-mail notification regarding submission dates one month prior to the first deadline. 
  • Qualifying Review
    Qualified student judges will review the written plans and select up to 25 teams to continue to the Semi-Finals.
  • Venture Review Night
    Selected teams will present to student judges who will provide feedback. Teams will then be permitted to submit revised plans in advance of the Semi-Finals.
  • Semi-Finals
    The semi-finalist teams will present to a panel of judges drawn from LA-based VCs, angel investors, professional service providers, business executives, and entrepreneurs. Five teams will be selected to continue to the finals and will be permitted to submit revised business plans in advance of judging. Please note that semi-final presentations are 15 minutes followed by an additional 10 minutes of Q & A. They are open to the public.
  • Finals
    The five finalist teams will present to a live audience and a new panel of judges. Awards reception to follow.

We strongly advise all team members to review the rules and guidelines before submitting a plan, as there are no exceptions to deadlines.


About the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Price Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation is consistently ranked among the best in the world for entrepreneurial education, including four #1 global rankings by Financial Times. The Price Center oversees  teaching, research, extracurricular and community activities related to entrepreneurship at UCLA Anderson.