» The program is open to all students enrolled in
an institution of higher learning during this
» Proof of official enrollment by the posted
deadline (February 11th, 2014) is strictly
enforced in order to remain a participant.
» Note: There will be no refunds for any reason.
» Teams must start the competition with 4-5 members
and maintain no less than two students and no more
than five students throughout the program.
» Categories are available for undergraduate and
» Participants must be enrolled as a student throughout
the program and their category (undergraduate or
graduate) will be determined by their status as of the
date business plans are due.
» Teams may mix undergraduate and graduate students,
but will be considered as participating in the graduate
student category and must pay the appropriate
» The Business Plan should address exporting,
importing and/or Foreign Direct Investment
opportunities in the following sectors of high
importance to our Region:
Logistics & Distribution
Environmental Technology/Green Industries
Food and Beverage
Each proposal and
business plan must
For example: waste
reduction in its
the carbon footprint
of its production, or
related to distribution.
» Each team will be assigned a corporate mentor
by the Free Trade Alliance.
» Proposals and business plans must have an
import or export focus for either a good or
˃ They can be for new business opportunities or for an existing
» At least one participant from each team will be
required to participate in the first round team
presentation and, if earned, the final round
˃ If unable to physically attend the presentation, a video conference
presentation is acceptable and will need to be scheduled well in
˃ Failure to present at any level will result in disqualification.
» By participating in this business plan program, you
may qualify for credit toward your degree.
˃ Check with your school to determine if you are able to receive course
credit for participation.
» It is the responsibility of the participant to submit
any required information to their professor/advisor
in order to receive course credit.
» Your professor may attend your presentation(s)
when they are scheduled and be copied on your
final scoring when requested.
» English proficiency is required and all
submissions and presentations must be
completed in English.
» Participants cannot be directors, officers,
employees or immediate family members of
employees of the Free Trade Alliance.
» Student interns of the Alliance and prior
participants may compete.
» During the preliminary round, written
proposals will be reviewed and evaluated
by a committee made up of business
˃ This will make up 20% of the score.
˃Due date FEBUARY 28th 5:00 p.m. CST
» The business plan and presentation will be
completed in front of a judging panel.
˃This will make up the remaining 80% of the score.
˃ and follow a 5 minute presentation and 10 minute
˃Presentations will be April 4, 2013
» Earned bonus points will only be awarded
during the preliminary round (see page 4
for of Guide Book more details).
˃ The deadline for proof of enrollment and proof of nationality
is February 11th, 2014.
» The four teams in each category (graduate or
undergraduate) with the greatest point totals
will advance to the final round.
» All business plans and presentations will be
reviewed and evaluated by judges. Comments
and evaluations may be returned to their
respective teams and professors on request
given or before April 21, 2014.
» Teams that earn a position as a finalist will execute
a 10 minute presentation reviewed and evaluated
by a panel of executive judges.
˃ These presentations will take place in auditoriums and be observed by an
audience of student participants on April 5, 2013
» Judges in this round will have 15 minutes for Q&A
and 10 minutes to deliberate.
˃ NOTE: The decision in the final round will not necessarily be based on the
number of points scored, but rather on the judging panel’s qualitative
evaluation of the plan’s entire business model and consultations with each
other following the presentation.
» Winners will be announced shortly after at the
Awards Ceremony Luncheon.
» All written submissions must be
turned in electronically.
˃ Submissions will be considered late one (1) second after each
˃ Acceptance of late work will be at the discretion of the Free
Trade Alliance with automatic deductions enforced if
» Student teams are responsible for providing
each judge on their judging panel(s) a copy of
their printed business plan.
˃ It must be printed exactly as it was submitted electronically with no
˃ If changes are determined, that team will be disqualified.
» In the event that a team believes that a member is
not contributing to the plan, they may bring the
matter to the attention of the Free Trade Alliance
for resolution and possible removal of the student.
˃ The team should provide their grievance in writing no later than the
business plan deadline (March 26, 2014).
˃ FTA will then consult with all members of the team to suggest possible
solutions and, if deemed appropriate, remove the participant from the
+ The removed participant will be unable to share in any prize monies
+ They will not receive a refund of their application fee or be placed on
a different team.
˃ Grievances received after the deadline will not be accepted (any prize
monies earned by the team will be divided equally amongst its members,
or as previously agreed and submitted by all team members).
» The Education Foundation will cover only 1st
Class Postage when sending winning students
their checks and distanced students their
˃ If additional postage and/or options are requested or required, the
winner will cover the additional cost of actual postage out of their
» The only individuals who will have access to the
business plans will be the Free Trade Alliance,
evaluators, judges and any professors that require
them for purposes of course credit.
» All business plans submitted will be treated as
» Should the team submitting the business plan be
considering implementation of the plan, they
should advise the Free Trade Alliance in writing so
that, should there be a possible conflict of interest
with any of the judges, those judges may recuse
themselves from judging.
» The authors of the business plan will retain all rights to the plan, at all
times prior to and following the competition.
» The Free Trade Alliance is not responsible for any information disclosed by
the authors, and the authors hereby release and discharge the FTA, its
directors, officers, agents, volunteers and employees (the “Indemnified
Parties”) from all liability, claims, demands, losses or damages caused or
alleged to be caused in whole or in part by the Indemnified Parties or
» The authors shall further indemnify, defend and hold harmless each of the
Indemnified Parties, from any claims, expenses, attorney fees, losses,
liability, damage or costs incurred or resulting from such claim.
» Due to the nature of the competition, the FTA will not require judges,
reviewers, staff or the audience to sign any non-disclosure agreements for
any participant / author.
» Participants / authors shall be responsible for adopting any measures they
deem necessary to protect their intellectual property.
» NOTE: that an abbreviated description of the
business idea (provided by the team) may be
used in public documentation relating to the