The competition is segmented into tracks largely so that the most appropriate judges can be recruited based on their expertise. Many teams could be in multiple tracks. For example, a technology company with a social mission, or a traditional business model with some scientific discovery as part of the product. Teams may indicate their preferred track, but organizers have the right to put teams in the track deemed most appropriate based on the applicant pool that year. Last year's tracks were: 1) Social/Sustainable; 2) Commercial (Hi-Tech); 3) Commercial (Low-Tech); 4) Faculty/Staff/Alumni.
A social venture needs to have a primary focus on some social or environmental mission. There is naturally some gray area in which very profitable businesses may include an important social mission. Most teams that indicate a preference for the social track on their application will be put there. It is the team's responsibility to convey to the judges why they should be considered a social venture, given their specific focus or mission.
Yes (just make sure to differentiate this in your pitches and business plans).
No, but to win the finals you will need someone on your team who can communicate business principles, and if your team lacks that skill, it will reflect poorly on your ability to assemble a winning team. We encourage any team to compete in the Elevator Pitch Round. If you get through that round, you might consider adding more teammates with specific skills to help you win future rounds. See rules.html about adding teammates.
It depends, but we recommend between 15-25 pages. Some ideas are complicated and require a lot of explaining. Others are easier to communicate. LONGER IS NOT BETTER. If you find yourself longer than 25 pages, it should be for a good reason, not just to fill space.
While this is a very tough question to answer briefly, here are some initial things to think about.
With a great idea, a lot of hard work and a bit of luck. See judging criteria. There is a clear correlation between the amount of time teams spend on preparation and competition success- pitching a business idea is no easy feat!