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.