HopStart 2022 Competition Instructions

Learn more about each stage of the competition, including what to submit when, how to engage effectively with your mentors, and more. For information about how to register for the competition and gain access to your competition template in LivePlan, read our registration guidelines.

 

STAGE 1 - The LivePlan Rounds

Teams must complete both rounds of Stage 1 in order to advance to Stage 2. If teams do not complete all parts of their template, they will not be eligible to compete on competition day and team members’ registrations will be cancelled.

Round 1: Summary of Idea (deadline February 18, 2022)

In Stage 1, competitors will engage in two remote, asynchronous rounds of competition using the business plan creation platform LivePlan. After registration (see our registration guidelines for details on registering for the event), competitors will receive an invitation to their team’s LivePlan template.

Using LivePlan
  • After registering for the event, you will receive an email invitation from LivePlan providing you with access to your team’s template. Each member who registers will receive an invitation. If any team member does not plan to attend the final live presentation round but would like to assist in the preparation of their team’s business plan, they should email hopstart@jhu.edu to request access to their team’s template.
  • Log into your LivePlan account using the link provided in your email invitation.
  • Navigate to the “Plan” tab of your template and begin entering your responses to the prompts by clicking the “Edit” button next to each section.
  • If you wish to leave a comment for your mentors, you can do so in the comment fields beneath each section.
  • Your team should feel free to use the additional tabs (“Pitch,” “Forecast,” “Benchmarks,” and “Schedule”) when developing your plan. However, mentors cannot evaluate or comment on the content in these tabs.
Completing Round 1
  • Prepare by previewing the template for both LivePlan rounds.
  • Round 1 requires a brief written response to three key questions about the team’s venture in addition to a 3-minute video pitch.
  • Please note there are no requirements for the video pitch other than length, though teams are encouraged to address the three Round 1 prompts in their video.
  • Teams should visit our free video production resources and video pitch examples for more information on crafting their videos.
  • For the first round of competition, teams should only complete the content under “Round 1: Summary of Idea.” DO NOT move onto “Round 2: Business Plan” until after receiving feedback from your mentors.
  • There is no “submission” button. Content will be live and viewable to mentors and HopStart staff beginning February 25.
  • Teams that do not submit Round 1 content will not be matched with mentors and will be unregistered from the event.
Mentorship Window 1 (February 25 – March 11, 2022)

HopStart is first and foremost a learning experience, and effective engagement with HopStart mentors is a vital component of that learning experience. Mentorship can help teams prepare for Stage 2 presentations, think through the details of their venture, and preempt questions posed by judges.

Mentors will have two weeks to review Round 1 submissions and provide feedback. Each team will be assigned multiple mentors so that they receive diverse feedback.

How to Engage with Mentors
  • On the first day of the mentorship period, a HopStart staff member will connect registered team members and assigned mentors via email. Mentors will be encouraged to identify their preferred method of communication and to review their team’s Round 1 business plan content.
  • Mentors may choose to leave comments directly on the LivePlan template, email teams their feedback, or set up a phone call or Zoom meeting. Please be proactive about responding to any feedback or setting up a meeting time per a mentor’s request.
  • Team members should receive a notification whenever a comment is left on their team’s template. Please also plan to check in on your LivePlan template regularly to ensure that you are continuing the conversation with your mentor(s).
  • View mentorship as a two-way street. Ask thoughtful questions or for clarification when you need it. Showing your mentor that you value the mentorship process is important to building the mentor/mentee relationship.
  • Your mentors may attend the competition. Make sure to connect with them and thank them for their contributions during networking opportunities throughout the day.

At the end of the mentorship window, teams will be prompted via email to complete Round 2.

Round 2: Full Business Plan (deadline March 30, 2022)

Return to your LivePlan template to complete Round 2: Full Business Plan.

  • We strongly encourage teams to start early on their Round 2 submissions. This round is lengthy and detailed in order to prepare teams to deliver their pitches effectively in Stage 2.
  • In Round 2, teams will provide detailed background on their venture, including a market analysis, marketing and operations plans, and details on costs and financing.
  • Teams should consider their mentors’ Round 1 feedback when crafting their full business plans.

Teams that do not complete all sections of the Round 2 LivePlan template will not qualify to move onto Stage 2 - Competition Day.

A variety of on-campus resources, including the Center for Leadership Education, FastFoward U, Social Innovation Lab, and TCO Labs, are available to assist students in crafting their business plans and preparing their pitches. Learn more about available on-campus resources.

Mentorship Window 2 (April 1 – April 11, 2022)

Mentors will again have two weeks to review Round 2 submissions and provide feedback to their assigned teams. Teams should make every effort to check in regularly with mentors throughout these 2 weeks to ensure they are responding proactively to mentors’ questions and feedback.

On April 4, teams will be notified via email about whether they will move on to competition day.

 

STAGE 2 - Competition Day (April 22, 2022)

Teams advancing to Competition Day will receive detailed instructions on March 31 for submitting their Round 1 video pitches. Video pitches must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on April 11, 2022 in order to participate in competition day. Teams that do not submit video pitches by the deadline will be eliminated from competition and unregistered from the event. Please see the guidelines below for more information on submitting video pitches.

Please note that invitations to the event website will be sent via email on April 20. Competitors must log into the site to take part in competition day activities, including the networking session and live final round presentations.

Round 1 (Asynchronous)

  • For Round 1, teams will pre-record a three-minute video pitch WITHOUT an accompanying slide deck. Teams are welcome to incorporate a single image in their presentation, but the speaker(s) should be the video’s central focus.
  • Images can include a photo or drawing of a prototype, a PowerPoint slide, or a word document or PDF serving as a visual aid to the presentation. Please note that simple is best. We advise against overloading your audience with a densely packed document full of details or a Slide with a lengthy list of bullet points. The image should aid your presentation, not distract or overwhelm.
  • No animations or video clips should be used in pitch videos.
  • Competitors will receive an email in advance of Competition Day with the guidelines for submitting their video to HopStart staff. Unsolicited pitch videos will not be considered.
  • Resources for improving presentation skills can be found on our Resources page.
  • The deadline to submit Round 1 videos is Monday, April 11 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Judges will review and rate presentation videos in asynchronous sessions on the morning of Competition Day.
  • At 12 p.m. on Competition Day, finalists will be announced live on Cvent, our event platform. At that time, competitors will receive an email with a list of finalists, a link to their category session, and assigned presentation times.

Round 2 (Live)

  • During the final round of competition on Friday, April 22, finalists will deliver live, 8-minute presentations with full slide decks on our virtual event platform.
  • Teams must arrive at their category’s session at least 5 minutes before their scheduled presentation time. Failure to do so will result in disqualification.
  • Slide decks should model the template teams completed in LivePlan during Stage 1 – Round 2.
  • Timekeepers will notify presenters when they have 1 minute remaining, and when their time has expired.
  • At the conclusion of each team’s presentation, judges will have 5 minutes to ask each team questions about their venture.
  • Judges will deliberate to select 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners, which will be announced during the awards ceremony.

Awards Ceremony

  • 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category will be announced during an awards ceremony immediately following the conclusion of final round presentations and judge deliberation.