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Business Model Competition

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The Business Model Competition(BMC), or International Business Model Competition(IBMC), is a unique business development competition that differentiates itself from other business plan competitions by stressing the value of validation with real customers, described in the following video:

By recognizing that over 85 percent of new business fail within the first few years, often due to the attempt to plan their way to success, the IBMC represents a radical departure from the past and is at the crest of a new paradigm in entrepreneurship. The IBMC is not a business plan competition. It doesn't reward the student for doing lots of library research, drawing fancy graphs, or crafting the perfect sales pitch to venture capitalists. Instead the IBMC want the students to[1]:

  1. Break down their idea into key business model assumptions
  2. Get outside the building and test their assumptions with REAL customers
  3. Apply Customer Development/Lean Startup principles to make sure they nail the pain and solution
  4. Learn to pivot(change) until they have arrived at a customer-validated business model

Ultimately IBMC believes this will dramatically improve the success rate of new ventures.

Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas is one of the key tools that IBMC recommends the competing teams utilize. It is a strategic management template for developing new or documenting existing business models. The canvas consists of nine business model building blocks, which can be organized into four categories: infrastructure, offering, customers,and finances.[2] By using a visual approach to design business models, the Business Model Canvas makes it easier for firms to align their activities by illustrating potential trade-offs.


IBMC 2013 Winners

First Place

Second Place

Third Place


Success Stories


Winner of the 2012 IBMC competition, XoomPark offers online parking reservations for large, downtown events. These reserved spots are within walking distance of multiple venues such as sports arenas, theaters, restaurants etc. Event attendees no longer need to show up hours in advance to get a decent parking space at events or carry around extra cash to pay parking attendants. When XoomPark competed in the IBMC last year, it had only two major parking garages as paying customers. Since then, XoomPark has over 70 parking lots in 18 cities. They have expanded their reserved parking for a greater range of events such as NBA, NFL, and MLB.

Ken Frei, founder of XoomPark, states that going through the business model process “helps you look at the core fundamentals of your business really quickly, and to see whether or not you are solving a critical pain.” Validation and testing is clearly still intergral in their business processes as they look for new ways to scale.

IBMC 2014 Dates

  • October 15: Training Workshop (streamed online)
  • November 5: 'Training Workshop (streamed online)
  • December 3: Training Workshop (streamed online)
  • January 1: Submissions open 12:01 AM
  • January 14: Training Workshop (streamed online)
  • March 31: Submissions close 11:59PM
  • April 15: Semi-Finalists Announced
  • May 1: Pitching, Mentoring, and Networking Events
  • May 2: Semi-Finals (1:00-5:00 PM)
  • May 3: Finals (Open to public) (10 AM - 12 PM)

IBMC Sponsors & Founders

The IBMC is sponsored by the Kevin and Debra Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology in the Marriot School of Management at Brigham Young University. The competition was founded by:

  • Nathan Furr (Ph.D., Stanford; Entrepreneurship Professor, BYU)
  • Steve Blank (Entrepreneurship Professor, UC Berkley; Lecturer, Stanford)
  • John Richards (Entrepreneurship Professor, BYU)
  • Scott Petersen (Director, Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology, BYU)


IBMC wants to dramatically improve the success rate of new ventures by bringing a very different perspective to entrepreneurship. Instead of asking its participants to research existing business models, or craft a perfect sales pitch, IBMC focuses on the process of developing and validating the perfect business models by encouraging its participants to identify and clarify the assumption in the model. IBMC believes that entrepreneurship should not be similar to managing a corporation, since the problems they are facing and the dynamics are very different. As the first international competition of its kind (open to all students) IBMC ultimately wants to change the way entrepreneurship is currently being taught and bring our attention to the importance of validating assumptions.

Distinct Differences From Other Offerings

The IBMC, unlike other business competitions, stresses the process of developing a validated business model. The competition is looking for its participants to identify and validate the underlying assumptions, no matter how advanced the product or big the market. The competition will eventually be judged on the development process and final business model.

In short, IBMC emphasizes these three key steps:

  1. Identify the assumptions
  2. Test the assumptions with real customers
  3. Pivot and tell the story

Impact Achieved For Students and Campus

The IBMC helps students and campuses in many different ways. First, the competition encourages students to explore entrepreneurship - and with a different mindset. With the advice and critiques given throughout the competition, students will further develop and strengthen their ideas. Second, workshops and lectures will be arranged at the beginning of the year. These events invite experienced entrepreneurs to talk about their approach and help the students work on their businesses. Even without the competition, these lecturers are very helpful in bringing student interest to entrepreneurship. Lastly, the monetary award helps the winners to roll out the business plan. With $25,000 given to the first place and with a total of 28 award recipients, students can have a great financial start on their business as well.

University Involvements

The IBMC is currently co-hosted by Brigham Young University, Harvard University, and Stanford University. At the same time, it also encourages and helps local sector development. Currently, it has ten universities and colleges hosting qualifier competitions, and three participating universities.


Qualifier Competitions

Qualifier Competitions.PNG

Participating Universities

Participating universities.PNG

Steps Required To Bring Resource to Campus

There are two ways to become involved with the IBMC:

  1. Become a participating university
    Advertise the competition and encourage the students to apply through a general application process.
  2. Become a qualifier competitions host
    Apply to be a qualifier competitions hosting university - Build, organize, and run the competition.

Here is a link to the General Application.

The Business Model Competition is open to all participatants who meet the Eligibility Criteria. Bringing this competition to campus doesn't establish the necessity to submit any application to BMC or the requirement to establish a local chapter on campus. Although, BMC does enforce a set of rules that ensure the strong representation of students within the competing teams, allowing for the attraction of new student entrepreneurs.

How to Apply

To apply to the IBMC, teams must fill out and submit the application form at the beginning of January. However, before submitting the application, teams also need to complete the following:

  1. Create a video presentation describing the up-to-date validation and customer discovery with the idea and business model
  2. Upload the video to YouTube
  3. Fill out and sign the Certifications and Agreements (to be scanned and uploaded in the application form)

2014 Application form: (Due March 31st)

Host Qualifier Competitions

IBMC encourages the development of qualifier competitions at other colleges and universities. The winners of these competitions will receive an automatic advancement in the International Competition, while other contenders may still apply through the General Application. Any college or university interested in hosting a local competition is encouraged to contact

Creating a University Competition

IBMC made a strategic guideline to help universities start the BMC qualifier competition on their campus. The detailed documentation can be downloaded here: Download Guideline. In summary, the guideline discussed three topics:

  • Building the Competition
  • Organizing the Competition
  • Running the Competition

Creating a university competition requires a group of leaders that include at least one faculty adviser and one student director. The next primary objective is securing funding for the event and building the rest of the student team. To assist qualifier competitions, the IBMC has several resources available through Dropbox. The school representative need to contact the IBMC or one of its administrators to request access to the files. To ask for any additional resources, an applicant can contact

Contact Information

The administration office for the International BMC is housed within the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology at Brigham Young University. To contact the administrators, contact the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology using the information provided below, or send an email to

Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology
470 Tanner Building
Marriott School of Management
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602

Phone: (801) 422-7437
Fax: (801) 422-0109


  2. Business Model Generation, A. Osterwalder, Yves Pigneur, Alan Smith, and 470 practitioners from 45 countries, self published, 2010