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General Questions
Grant Questions
Student Submission Questions
Onsite Event Questions

General Questions

Will e-Fest be held in-person this April 2022?

At this time, we are planning to return to an in-person event for April 2022. The three-day event will be held at the University of St. Thomas in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Who are the Judges?

Our main criterion is that judges are able to provide thoughtful and expert evaluations of entrepreneurship projects and submissions based on the judging criteria. Judges are spread across North America with a good representation from the Midwest (we’re based in Minneapolis). Their experience is typically as an investor, an entrepreneur, and/or a VP+ level in a business. Many have MBAs and have started successful ventures. Perhaps half of our panel have judged other business plan competitions before. And, as volunteers (no arm twisting on our parts to recruit), each of them really wants to be involved and is enthusiastic about e-Fest, working with student teams, and understanding the ventures.

Does our team advisor have to travel to Minneapolis, if we’re a finalist team?

Yes. Your advisor, or a substitute faculty or staff advisor, will need to accompany your team to Minneapolis. It’s an expenses paid trip for the whole team, and we have a program for both students and advisors. It’s a great experience!

Grant Questions

Who can apply for the development grant?

Faculty members or Center Directors/Program Managers from a four-year college or university in North America. Schools may apply for the grant yearly; regardless of if they received money the prior year.

What are the grant conditions?

There are only two conditions.

  1. The grant should be used towards student entrepreneurship related programs, activities, and/or the development of an e-Fest team. The grant is given in good faith, and no follow-up documentation needs to be submitted following the receipt of grant funds.
  2. Schools receiving the grant must develop at least one student team for e-Fest. The student team only needs to submit their concept to the online round, and does not need to make it into the top 25.

When will my school receive the funds?

Once approved, it may take up to 6-8 weeks for processing, cutting the check and mailing it to the address indicated in the application. Checks will arrive from the Schulze Family Foundation.

Student Submission Questions

What do teams submit?

  • Up to a 7 minute pitch video
  • A slide deck of up to 15 slides (not including a title slide)


  1. Get Started
    by picking one team member to create the submission: https://eixefest.wpengine.com/submit/
  2. Invite the Team Advisor
    plus any other team members to be able to view and edit the submission. Note: Only the team advisor should complete the approval question. *
  3. Upload the video & Slides
    What is a good video? and more questions are answered below.
  4. * Approve the Submission
    This question in the submission form must be completed by the Team Advisor, who must be a faculty or staff person at the college or university.

What is a good video?

There are no creative constraints on the video; teams have total freedom. When planning your video as a communication tool, the fundamental questions are: What do you want to show, and What do you want to say? It can help to create a video script or outline in order to plan the messages and have a good To Do list. Or, just turn on the webcam and go for it! 🙂

This being said, of the nine judging criteria, only one criterion deals specifically with the video (presentation). The other eight criteria focus on the merits of the venture. So, a good video, fundamentally, will thoroughly describe the venture. At the same time, don’t rule out the ability of creativity to capture the judges’ attention and interest.

We have more tips for students: https://eixefest.wpengine.com/category/students

Can our team be just one person?

No, the minimum team size is 2 undergraduate students. One of the goals of e-Fest is to promote entrepreneurial networking as well as effective communication. The right team can help make a big difference!

Can our team have graduate students? Or graduated undergraduates?

No. Undergraduates only, but having graduated in December of 2021 is allowed.

Is it OK if our venture already has sales?

Yes, but early stage is the critical consideration and qualification for e-Fest. Getting the first deal or two can help validate the ideas and product. Ventures without any sales can still be highly competitive with good research (last year’s champions were still working on the prototype!). But, if your venture has been in business a while and/or is making money, we reserve the right to disallow your submission to offer the fairest playing field for all teams.

Team ventures cannot have more than $25,000 in all time sales, as of the date of their e-Fest submission.

If we are selected as finalists, can we change our presentation from what we provided for the first round?

Yes. Your first round performance earned you the chance for a live pitch during the e-Fest championships rounds. For the final round, you can update or change your slides. You can have more than 15 slides. However, live presentations are limited to 15 minutes. The judges will have 5 minutes for Q&A.

Onsite Event Questions

What is the dress code?

There is not an “official” dress code for e-Fest. We would encourage participants to treat the Pitch Slam on Thursday evening and the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge on Saturday morning as important business events, so dress in business or business casual attire. Friday is more casual with workshops and the Innovation Challenge.

Do we have to stay at the preferred event hotel?

While a block of rooms will be held at the DoubleTree Hotel adjacent to University of St. Thomas’ Minneapolis Campus, where e-Fest takes place, you do not need to stay at this hotel. Regardless of where you choose to stay, teams (advisors) are responsible for reserving the number of needed hotel rooms for their team (we plan for single occupancy for advisors and double occupancy for students, with no mixed gender room assignments). Travel stipends are provided to all team advisors to pay for hotel, travel and other related expenses.

Can we bring a product prototype, sample, or other props for our live presentation?

Yes. However, do not bring anything that could make a mess, or which is potentially dangerous or hazardous. If TSA lets you fly with it, it is likely OK to use as a prop in your presentation. Keep in mind, you have 15 minutes to set up, present, and wrap up.

Are there any meals that are NOT provided during e-Fest?

We provide either full meals OR heavy hors d’oeuvres throughout most of the event, starting Thursday evening and continuing through a dessert reception early Saturday evening. If you like having snacks around, there are plenty of local places to buy some! We also try our best to make accommodations for any special dietary needs.

Is Wi-Fi Available?

Yes. The University of St Thomas has an open wi-fi network. Details will be provided. The open network times out every 3 hours, so plan to refresh your connection periodically.

If we win a prize, how is it paid and are there any equity considerations if we accept the money?

Prizes are paid in cash (paid by check with a bit of processing time, to be exact), with no equity consideration for e-Fest. However, team award funds (Pitch Slam and Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge) are paid to the individuals on the team, split evenly among team members who participate in e-Fest, and will be reported as income. All award recipients will be required to provide an IRS form W9 or equivalent before being issued their cash award.

Does my entire team need to be at e-Fest?

Preferably, yes, all team members should be present at e-Fest. Each team must have at least two registered team members present at the event. If a team member is unable to attend, please notify us as soon as possible.