The Knapp Venture Competition


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

Now in its 34th year, the student-run Knapp Venture Competition, hosted at UCLA Anderson School of Management by the Harold and Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies 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 generously gave an endowment in 1997, which supports 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 Competition's primary objective. Rather, the 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 their concept, researching its feasibility, building a management team, and preparing and presenting their 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 Competition provide a solid feedback mechanism to the student teams. Dozens of faculty, entrepreneurs, alumni, professional investors and advisors 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 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 student body 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 in Korn Hall in late May - an event well attended by Anderson students and alumni. All dates and deadlines are communicated to students through the Entrepreneur Association email listserv.

2014-15 Schedule

Team generating events including elabs and roadshows
Varous speaker series' related to building business plans
Panel discussions and info sessions with past winners
Registration Deadline - 03/03/15
First Round Business Plans Due - 03/30/15 by 10am
Qualifying Review of submitted plans - 04/06/15
Venture Review Night - 04/15/15
Knapp Semifinalists Revised Business Plans Due - 04/20/15 by 10am 
Knapp Semifinals - 04/30/15
Knapp Semifinalists Revised Business Plans Due - 05/04/15 by 10am
Knapp Finals - 05/14/15

 Event Information

  • Registration - For those intending to compete, you must register through a Qualtrics survey emailed to UCLA Anderson students about a month prior to the first plan submission. 
  • 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--The selected teams will present to the same group of student judges. Judges will provide feedback, and teams will then be permitted to submit revised plans in advance of the Semi-Finals.
  • Semi-Finals--The semi-finalist will present to a panel of judges drawn from LA-based VCs, angel investors, and entrepreneurs. Five teams will be selected to continue to the Finals, and will be permitted to submit revised business plans in advance of Finals 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 in Korn Hall to a new panel of judges that will include competition supporters Bud and Betsy Knapp. Awards reception to follow.

Review all rules and guidelines before submitting a plan, there are no excpetions to deadlines.  If you are seeking Angel funding (less than $1 MM), label the front of your plan "A-track." If you are seeking over $1MM, label the front of your plan "V-track" for Venture Funding. Please send Angela Klein ( an electronic copy of the plan by 10am on the day it's due.

About the Harold & Pauline Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies

The Price Center for Entrepreneurial Studies is consistently ranked among the best in the world for entrepreneurial education and has been ranked #1 over the last three years by Financial Times. The Price Center oversees all teaching, research, extracurricular and community activities related to entrepreneurship at the Anderson School. The Price Center strives to provide academic and extracurricular experiences that advance both the theory and practice of entrepreneurship.

About UCLA Anderson School of Management

UCLA Anderson is perennially ranked among the top-tier business schools in the world. Award-winning faculty renowned for their research and teaching, highly selective admissions, successful alumni and world-class facilities combine to provide an extraordinary learning environment. Established in 1935, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,400 students enrolled in full-time, part-time and executive MBA programs and doctoral programs.