US Tunisia Morocco Partnership

Business Plan Competition

Student participants will develop and pitch an innovative business plan addressing a need in the engineering or science fields. In their business plan, students must address issues such as novelty and competitiveness of idea, marketing, financial projections and other aspects to make a compelling argument for their business idea.

The objective of the Business Plan Competition is to provide a meaningful learning experience for students who are interested in pursuing an entrepreneurial opportunity at some point in their careers.

The Tunisian and Moroccan co-organizers (Naceur Jeljeli and Moez Chafra of EPT, and Hamid Kaddami of Cadi Ayyad University) have already selected the student participants in the business plan competition. By the end of first week in July, ten finalists (five from Morocco and five from Tunisia) will be identified and their names forwarded to USTM (Zoubeida Ounaies). The business plan presentation competition at NATEG DAYS 2012 on July 18th is open to these ten students only. Coaches will be available on July 17th to work with the business plan competition students to help them finalize their pitch.

Why Compete on July 18th?

    1) Strengthen your resume -- employers seek students who have competitive "real world" experiences.
    2) The odds of winning are great to claim the great first place, second and third place prizes
    3) Obtain valuable guidance and exploit the opportunity to make connections and take your idea to the next level and start a company.
    4) Learn what it takes to pitch a business idea and develop these valuable career-building skills through our USTM program.

Selection Process

The Competition consists of two rounds.

Round 1

The first round of the competition is taking place simultaneously in Morocco and Tunisia, and is being run locally by EPT in Tunisia and by Cadi Ayyad University in Morocco. This round will be completed by the first week of July. Local judges will make the selection of the ten semifinalists, five from Tunisia and five from Morocco. These final selections have to be completed by July 9th, 2012.

Round 2

Each student participant that qualifies for the final round is required to present their business plan on the afternoon of July 18th to a panel of judges. The business plan presentations will be pictches of no more than 10 minutes with no more than 10 slides (power point may be used).

On the afternoon of Day 3 in Monastir (Tuesday July 17th), students will be paired up with coaches to go over their pitch and get mentored to hone it and improve upon it.

Each final round business plan will be reviewed and judged during an oral presentation, according to:

  • Business idea and opportunity description
  • Understanding of competitors
  • Market opportunities and competition
  • Product/Service viability
  • Knowledge of intellectual property assets
  • Business model viability
  • Overall attractiveness of the opportunity
  • Management Qualification

Feedback will be provided to each participant.

The three best business ideas as selected by the panel of judges will be notified by the end of the day on July 18th.


From the initial round of ideas, the top five ideas from each country (Tunisia and Morocco) will be selected for the final round of judging and will be eligible for prizes. Each finalist will be required to present their presentation in front of an audience of students, faculty and industry representatives.

Some Suggested Criteria

The judges will rely on the following criteria in judging the Competition:
    o The commercial potential of the business, with high-potential, growth oriented businesses likely to be viewed more favorably.
    o The innovative nature and technical feasibility of the idea.
    o The likelihood that the business described in the plan can achieve a sustainable, competitive advantage.

    o The team did a good job identifying its initial target market.
    o The team is targeting a significant and attractive potential market.
    o The team showed credible market research data to support its market size claims.
    o The team identified large and attractive secondary markets to serve over the long term.

Product or Service
    o The team has identified a compelling initial product or service.
    o The team has described a robust product/service additions roadmap going forward.

    o The team has identified its initial target customers and has given specific references.
    o The team has articulated a strong hard-dollar customer value proposition. Technology / Service / Innovation
    o The team has presented a clear and concise overview of its unique capabilities and state of development.
    o There is very little fundamental technology or development risk left to resolve.
    o The team has a solid Intellectual Property position as well as plans to protect it. Development Plan
    o The team has outlined a credible and thorough plan for developing its first product or service.
    o The team has clearly identified its resource requirements and these can be reasonably obtained.
    o The team has a plan to derive additional funding from alternative sources such as government grants, friends, bootstrapping, bank loans, etc.

Distribution Plan
    o The team understands and has clearly articulated its business model.
    o The team's sales model is a good fit for its product/service and business model.
    o The team has articulated a plan to attract corporate partners.

Team Composition
    o The team has a strong and complete founding management team or a well described plan to build such a team.
    o The team has attracted an impressive advisory board or has a well described plan to develop such a board.
    o The team clearly understands what additional people and skills it needs to build a team.

    o The team comprehensively identified potential competitors.
    o The initial product or service has strong competitive advantages vs. existing alternatives.
    o The team's unique innovations will confer sustainable competitive advantages on its products or services as these evolve over time.

Financial Projections Strongly
    o The team has clearly described its funding needs; these are reasonable and adequate to the task.
    o The team is well positioned to win initial grants from various federal and state funding agencies.
    o The team has presented attractive and credible 5 year financial projections. Exit Strategy
    o The team consider a strategic acquisition. has the potential to achieve significant enterprise valuation within 57 years.
    o The team has clearly thought about its exit strategy and has articulated a strong plan to get there.
    o The team has described an attractive list of prospective acquirers as well as reasons they might consider a strategic acquisition.