The Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship

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Guidelines and Rules


  • To enter the UH Venture Competition, the designated team leader should complete the online registration form by the registration deadline. You will not be able to save and resume the form once you have started. If you close the form before it has been submitted, your responses will not be recorded and you will need to start over. It is recommended that you review all of the questions and prepare your proof of student status before you start. Further, it is recommended that you compose your responses in a separate document and copy/paste them into the form.


  • This competition is intended for University of Hawai‘i students. All teams must have at least one full-time or part-time student who is currently enrolled in a degree seeking program in any of the 10 community college and universities within the University of Hawai‘i System. Proof of student status (copy of valid student id card or registration receipt) will be required. 
  • Students must play a major role in developing the venture, composing the business plan, and giving the oral presentation. 
  • Students must have an ownership stake in the business or the potential for equity or employment.
  • All teams must have at least two but not more than five members. The team may consist of graduate and undergraduate students from any major. 
  • Individuals may only be a member of one team per annual competition.


  • All entries must be for new companies or existing companies less than one year old. Businesses may be either for-profit or not-for-profit.
  • Submissions that previously advanced to the final round may not be submitted again in subsequent years.  
  • All entries must be original work of students. Copying of third-party business plans or any other unauthorized use of third-party confidential or proprietary information will not be tolerated.
  • Proposals for buy-outs, real estate syndication, tax shelters, franchises, merger/acquisitions, consulting projects, or licensing arrangements will not be considered.
  • No entry may be submitted on the condition that organizers, judges, coaches, reviewers, audience members, or staff members sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs).
  • Participation in the Entrepreneurs' Bootcamps, which are held in conjunction with this competition, is highly recommended. Participants must register separately for the bootcamps. 


  • Make sure to meet all key deadlines which can be found on the competition timeline.


  • A competition message board is set up for you to find a team or find other team members. The board is updated regularly and all messages are subject to editing.


  • First place: $10,000 Hawaiian Electric Companies and HEI Charitable Foundation first place prize, plus in-kind prizes
    Second place: $5,000 plus in-kind prizes
    Third place: $2,500 UHVC Award in Honor of Pioneer Billy Richardson by HiBEAM, plus in-kind prizes
  • These awards are taxable. 
  • The check will be issued either to the teams’ legal business entity or to the student team members. Payments will not be made to non-students. 
  • Each team winning a prize will have sole responsibility for deciding how to allocate or otherwise use its prize proceeds. The organizers of the competition will not become involved, either voluntarily or by request, in a team's decision concerning the allocation or use of prize proceeds. The prize recipients will be required to provide appropriate documentation to receive the award payments which may include W9, WH1 or W8BEN forms.


  • Semi-final teams will be paired with a coach. Coaches are volunteers from the business community who are generously giving up their time and expertise, therefore competitors are expected to be respectful of their time. The coach will help mentor teams to gain traction by: 
    • Making introductions so that the team can conduct customer interviews;
    • Focusing the team to develop product/market fit; and
    • Providing feedback on the team’s business plan and pitch.


  • Competition judges will be drawn from a pool of volunteers with a variety of backgrounds, including venture funding, law, accounting, marketing and general business.


  • Participation in the competition does not qualify for academic credit at this time.


  • The University of Hawaii Systemwide Student Conduct Code applies to all participants of the UH Venture Competition. UH expects students to maintain standards of personal integrity that are in harmony with the educational goals of UH; to respect the rights, privileges, and property of others; and to observe national, state, and local laws and University policies and procedures.


  • If you feel that significant confidentiality issues will arise in the course of preparing your plan, you should have a thorough understanding worked out with your team members in advance. While every effort will be made to preserve the confidentiality of each submission, it is suggested that highly sensitive material be excluded from the entry if a team is concerned about the confidentiality of such material. Note, however, that teams will be making presentations to a public audience and that the competition may be broadcast via media including radio, television, social media, and the internet. Any data or information discussed in the presentation should be considered information that may enter the public realm. Of course, technical drawings and formulae need not be shown in the presentations, or even included in the submission. All reasonable measures to ensure the protection of intellectual property introduced and associated with the competition will be taken. The University of Hawai‘i and the organizers of the UH Venture Competition cannot take further responsibility to protect the intellectual property or other rights of the competitors. Protection of such rights is ultimately the responsibility of each competitor. Competitors are urged to mark as "CONFIDENTIAL" any portion of their entries which they consider to be confidential.


  • All team members agree to allow the University of Hawai‘i and the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) to record all public sessions of the competition. Entrants understand that recordings may be copied and distributed for the purpose of marketing the competition in future years.
  • The judges’ decisions are final, and teams may not make appeals or complaints against the judges, organizers, sponsors, the Shidler College of Business, or the University of Hawai‘i.
  • The competition rules may be amended at any time. The then-current rules will be posted to the competition website.