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Dempsey Startup Competition
May 26, 2022

The Dempsey Startup Competition (Dempsey Startup), organized by the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, provides a real-world experience for student entrepreneurs, promoting student ideas and new venture creation to the entrepreneurial community. Participating in the Dempsey Startup gives students practice in the dynamics of venture creation by developing an idea, putting together a founding team, writing a business plan, and presenting to investors.

The application site will open for submissions on Friday, March 4, 2022 and will be due by 11:59pm on Monday, April 4. The competition begins with the initial online Screening Round between April 7-12, 2022.

There are four competitive elimination rounds (and one non-competitive round) between April 5 – May 26, 2022. The Buerk Center will schedule information sessions, workshops, and office hours with mentors to help participating student teams prepare for each round!

36 teams will advance from the Screening Round to the Investment Round.

The top 36 teams will be asked to submit a video recording of a 60-second pitch.
Teams entering the University of Washington’s Dempsey Startup Competition must have at least one full-time or part-time student on the team who is enrolled in a degree seeking program at an accredited college or university in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, British Columbia or Alaska. If you graduated in Summer quarter of the current academic year or later (e.g., graduated at the end of summer quarter 2019 for the 2020 competition), you are considered a current student in the competition.
The business plan must be developed during the student’s tenure at the university. Students working with outside entrepreneurs must create an original business plan.

Judging Criteria
The Dempsey Startup Competition is comprised of four competitive rounds (Screening Round, Investment Round, Sweet 16, and Final Round) and one non-competitive Coaching Round, designed to prepare teams for the Sweet 16 and Final Round.

- Management team
- Market opportunity
- Competitive strategy
- Go to market strategy
- Traction
- Financials

Key Figures
- 22 years of the Business Plan Competition/Dempsey Startup
- $1.54 million in prize money awarded to 167 student companies
- 5,190 student participants
- 1,648 teams have entered since 1998
- 400+ entrepreneurs and investors who took part in the 2019 competition as judges, advisers, and mentors
Eligible Schools
University of Washington - Foster Business School

Accredited colleges and universities across the Cascadia Corridor – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia, as well as Alaska