The GW New Venture Competition team is committed to providing experiential learning opportunities, as well as other resources that will allow our participants to propel their innovations to the next level.
The GW Office of Entrepreneurship, facilitators of the competition, provide an extensive listing of entrepreneurial resources and a listing of entrepreneurship courses offered in the GW School of Business and the School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Creating a Concise Description
Here is some guidance on writing a Concise Description of your new venture. The most important thing is to explain your value proposition, that is, the value that is created by your product or service and for whom.
There are lots of good ways to do this. Elliot Loh from Quora proposes this formula:
- We solve [problem] by providing [advantage], to help [target] accomplish [target's goal].
Depending on the stage you've reached, you might follow it up with a second sentence about your business model:
- We make money by charging [customers] to get [benefit].
Here are some examples of how the formula might work:
- We solve the problem of genealogy by matching possible relatives, to help genealogists create one accurate world family tree. We make money by charging enthusiasts for enhanced search and other premium features.
- We make companies more efficient by providing a live feed of comments and questions, so employees can find answers more quickly. We make money by charging companies that want administrative control on their employee networks.
There is nothing sacred about the formula, though. Here are some good examples that do not follow the formula.
- Studio Binder helps producers avoid the grunt work of creating call sheets in Excel by making it super quick to send elegant call sheets via email and SMS, and track when their confirmed.
Crime Scene Cleaner
- The unthinkable has happened. A family member has died. The Crime Scene Cleaner will professionally restore the affected areas to a clean, habitable condition in a respectful, non-intrusive manner while safeguarding privacy, valuables and personal dignity.
- Going to the video store is a pain. People don't like travelling back and forth just to rent a movie and they hate paying late fees even more. Netflix provides customers with a hige selection of movies that they can order right to their doorstep and never have to pay a single late fee.
For many people, the first thing and often the only thing they know about your venture is your Concise Description, so it's well worth your time to make it clear and informative.
The GW Library provides outstanding resources and support services for entrepreneurs. The library can provide assistance to you as you develop your business plan.
Shmuel Ben-Gad is the business and economics librarian at Gelman Library and is available for consultations in person, or over the phone. Mr. Ben-Gad has taught research sessions for many entrepreneurship classes, as well as offered research assistance to individuals and small groups. He has written an excellent Research Guide for entrepreneurship that provides information on the most relevant library resources.
Appointments can be arranged, however walk-ins and phone calls are also welcome depending upon his availability.Shmuel Ben-Gad Gelman Library, room 547 (5th floor, to the right as you enter the stacks) 202.689.5153 firstname.lastname@example.org Available Sunday-Thursday
The GW Law School’s Small Business and Community Economic Development Clinic provides legal assistance to small businesses, social enterprises, nonprofit organizations, and artists. Under faculty supervision, law students interview, advise, counsel and represent entrepreneurs and businesses and assist nonprofit organizations committed to improving the welfare of individuals and communities. Specific cases may involve drafting articles of incorporation, bylaws, articles of organization, operating agreements, or partnership agreements; researching local licensing requirements and zoning laws; reviewing and drafting contracts and leases; preparing applications for federal tax exemption; advising and counseling business founders and corporate boards; and advising clients on basic intellectual property issues, tax matters, and related legal issues.
To talk to someone about your business needs, contact the Clinic office at 202.994.7463 or send an email to GWUSBC@law.gwu.edu.
- The Startup Owner's Manual: The Step-By-Step Guide for Building a Great Company by Steve Blank and Bob Dorf
- Buisness Model Generation: A Manual for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers by Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur
- Talking to Humans: Success Starts with Understanding Your Customers by Giff Constable
- All In Startup: Launching a New Idea When Everything Is on the Line by Diana Kander
- Lean Customer Development: Building Products Your Customers Will Buy by Cindy Alvarez
- Nail It then Scale It: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Creating and Managing Breakthrough Innovation by Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom
- Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works (Lean Series) by Ash Maurya
We encourage you to stay up-to-date with blogs and other publications about entrepreneurship and new venture initiation. Some popular ones to check out include:
- How to Build a Startup: The Lean LaunchPad on Udacity
- A New Approach to Designing Business Models - Alex Osterwalder
- Kauffman Founders School Lean Approach Series
- Steve Blank's Customer Discovery Checklist - Introduction on how to do Customer Discovery Interviews.
- Steve Blank's Conducting Customer Discovery Interviews - Examples of what to do and not do in a Customer Discover Interview.
- Workshop Presentations & Videos from previous workshops
Sample 2-Minute Videos
Introductory Videos do not have to be slick.
They do need to convey important information about your product or service, the problem you are trying to solve and for whom it is a problem. You should talk about why your solution is different and better than the current alternatives and why you and your team will be able to implement your solution.
Here are some videos from past GW New Venture Competitions