About Making Business Happen & Eligibility

Who can participate in the competition? 

There are two important points: you must live in the UK and you, and all team members, must be over the age of 16 on September 1st, 2018.


What if I have never written a business plan? 

Now’s a good time to start. A business plan demonstrates that you have thought through the critical issues related to launching a business. See Business Plan Guidelines. Also, take a look at the resource links that we have made available to assist you in writing a plan in the Help and Advice section.


Who will be judging the awards? 

All Making Business Happen award categories will be judged by a combination of industry experts and experienced members of the academic team from the University of South Wales Business School.


Can my school or college get support and advice for students interested in entering the Award? 


The Awards have been designed to fit easily with a range of related enterprise activity that schools and colleges might be covering for the syllabus of a number of level three qualifications. If you would like to find out more about any aspect of the Awards please email us at makingbusinesshappen@southwales.ac.uk.

Through our schools and colleges outreach programme it is also possible to book a number of enterprise, business and marketing related outreach sessions which can be delivered at your school or college by an experienced member of Academic staff from the University of South Wales Business school. This will also provide an opportunity for students and staff alike to take advantage of the change to discuss the Awards and get a ‘judges perspective’ on things.

See our ‘schools and college resource‘ section to find out more.


Do you need a business background to compete? 

No, but you will need to communicate business principles.


How can I keep up to date about the Making Business Happen Awards during the rest of the year? 

You can check our Making Business Happen website regularly and sign up to receive updates. Registered entrants will also receive emails from us, usually sent to the team leaders. You can also follow us on Twitter ‘@USWAwards’.

My Business Idea

Can a business proposal enhance an existing, revenue-generating business? 

Yes. However, your business or business idea must be your own. Franchises or subsidiaries of existing companies are not eligible.


Can my plan be a social venture? 

Yes. But keep in mind that it will be judged by the same criteria as other plans. See what judges look for in a plan.


Can we submit a business plan for a business idea that is or may become a nonprofit / social business in the future?

Yes. The Making Business Happen awards are open to all types of business ideas.


Will I get feedback on my application/plan? 

No. Unfortunately, the judges do not have the time to provide individual comment on each proposal.


Will the judges sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA)?

No. Requiring the judges to sign an NDA would overwhelm them with legal requirements that would severely inhibit their ability to participate in the competition. You should take appropriate steps to protect your intellectual property, just as you would if you were approaching institutional investors.

Most judges are alumnus, or friends of the school, interested in supporting the awards from an educational standpoint.

This is a great opportunity to get feedback on your idea from professionals who wouldn’t otherwise have the time to look at it. We would encourage you to take advantage of it.


Can my team have more than 6 members? 

No. In order to ensure fairness across all entries the maximum number of team members per entry is six.


Can I submit a business plan that has been previously entered into another business plan competition?



Can a business plan be submitted that has received institutional, angel or other financings?



Can I look at other business plans submitted for this competition? 

No. All entries submitted to the competition are considered confidential. But, take a look at the resource links that we have made available to assist you in writing a plan, which contains excellent advice from experienced entrepreneurs and business owners: see Help and Advice section.


Do proposals have to focus on technology? 

No. Entries may be submitted for any type of business or business idea. See what our judges look for in a plan.


Can I submit a plan if I have had contact with an organisation with which a judge is affiliated?

Yes. However, you will risk disqualification if you attempt to approach a judge or have someone do that on your behalf, specifically in connection with the Making Business Happen awards.


What if my/our situation changes after submitting an application but before judging is completed?

Let us know of any significant changes by email (makingbusinesshappen@southwales.ac.uk) as soon as you learn of them. These include receiving financing from another outside source, a change in business focus or plans, and/or other material events.


How do I know if I have a good business idea? 

While this is a very tough question to answer briefly, here are some initial things to consider.

Talk to as many people as possible! Speaking with individuals who you are close with as well as entrepreneurs or individuals in your industry of interest will provide you with key points of concern that you will need to work through as you learn to articulate your idea.

Do your research!

Ask yourself what problem you are solving: good entrepreneurial ideas can often be framed as a problem that your venture would somehow eliminate or alleviate.

The Online Application Process

What sort of questions will I be asked in the application form? 

The application form focuses on three main parts – your basic information, your business plan and a creative (some categories will also require further specific information):

Basic information: This is the real ‘need to know’ stuff- such as your contact details and team members

Business plan: This part will ask you for the detail of your business plan. We have broken it up into separate sections – each will have a word limit.

The creative: This is your opportunity to enhance your entry using a short video or creative (see guidelines in the Help and Advice section).


Can a student submit plans for more than one team?

You are allowed to participate in the Making Business Happen awards in more than one team. It can be a logistical challenge to do, but it is possible.


Do I have to complete my application in one sitting?

No – you can take as much time as you like to complete your application – as long as you submit the completed form by Monday 29 April 2018.


Do I apply by submitting a completed business plan?

No. You apply by completing an application online, which has sections for you to upload your business plan. We also require a short video creative and some specific details depending on the award you are entering – so please read the category overview before submitting your entry.


Why can’t I apply by submitting a complete business plan instead of completing an online application form?

We use an application in order to provide a level field for all applicants. Asking all applicants to answer the same set of questions ensures that the judges get the same input from each applicant. If everyone was asked to apply by submitting a completed plan, there likely would be a wide range of plans submitted and many would likely fail to include the key answers to questions. This would likely be especially true for those who haven’t written a business plan before. The short creative is an opportunity for you to bring the plan to life and add passion to the words.


Do I have to record a video as part of my application? 

Yes and No!

This is an opportunity for you to bring your business and idea to life and ‘tell’ us about your business. You can use a video or an animated PowerPoint – it’s up to you. All we ask is that your ‘elevator pitch’ conforms to the length stipulated in the entry criteria for your chosen category, is introduced with your name and the name of the business and does not contain any copyright content (material that other people have made!).

Different types of video content may include:

  • Live action
  • Screen casts
  • Motion graphics/animation
  • Slideshows with voiceover.

See our ‘guide’ to making a ‘pitch’ in the Help and Advice section.


What if I/we have to withdraw from the competition after filing an application?

Let us know by email (makingbusinesshappen@southwales.ac.uk) as soon as possible. This is especially important so that our volunteer judges don’t spend time evaluating a proposal that is no longer active. Only the principal applicant listed on the application may withdraw an application from the competition.


Will you return my plan after the competition is over? 

No. The organisers will endeavour to collect and destroy all copies used by the judges.

About Business Plans

What is a business plan?

A business plan is an essential tool for any business and entrepreneur. Many entrepreneurs will say that they don’t have a plan but prefer to ‘Just Do It’ – which is true until they need to communicate in a formal way to others (banks, partners, customers, suppliers and the workforce) what the business is all about and what value it generates and for whom. So a business plan is a way to formalise the entrepreneurial vision so that it can be shared…like with us for instance when you are entering the Making Business Happen awards! It is also important to just note that when we say formal we don’t mean that your plan should be devoid of passion and spirit…quite the opposite – a formal plan allows you to share your enthusiasm about the business in a way that is ordered and coherent – definitely not boring!

The business plan will clarify your business idea and define your long-term objectives. It provides a blueprint for running the business and a series of benchmarks to check your progress against. It is also vital for convincing your bank – and possibly key customers and suppliers – to support you.


What should a business plan contain?

A business plan as outlined above is a pretty valuable document to have if you are serious about business – but the plan needs to be flexible and fluid in order to enable the business to make the most of opportunities as they arise, which means that you need to refer to the plan on a frequent basis and update it regularly. It’s a very worn cliché but think of your venture as an adventure, a journey and the business plan is the map – it helps guide you and others…but you need to refer to it often otherwise you will have to backtrack and that will waste resources.

The process of building your plan will also focus your mind on how your new business will need to operate to give it the best chance of success. Your plan should include:

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Market strategies
  • Competitive analysis
  • Design and development plan
  • Operations and management plan
  • Financial factors


Why do businesses use business plans?

There are many benefits to creating and managing a realistic business plan – so says Business Wales:

Even if you just use it in-house, it can:

  • help you spot potential pitfalls before they happen
  • structure the financial side of your business efficiently
  • focus your efforts on developing your business
  • work as a measure of your success

Many people think of a business plan as a document used to secure external funding. This is important because potential investors, including banks, may invest in your idea, work with you or lend you money as a result of the strength of your plan.

The following people or institutions may request to see your business plan at some stage:

  • banks
  • external investors – whether this is a friend, a venture capitalist firm or a business angel
  • grant providers
  • anyone interested in buying your business
  • potential partners

You should also bear in mind that a business plan is a living document that will help you monitor your performance and stay on track and will therefore need updating and changing as your business grows. Regardless of whether you intend to use your plan internally, or as a document for external people, it should still take an objective and honest look at your business. Failing to do this could mean that you and others have unrealistic expectations of what can be achieved and when.


Is there a suggested length for a business plan?

Yes. The SimplyDo entry form has sections that have word limits – so make sure that you are aware of these before you submit your entry.


What defines a social venture?

A social venture needs to have a primary focus on some social or environmental mission. There are naturally some grey areas in which very profitable businesses may include an important social mission.


Can social entrepreneurship ventures make a profit? 

Yes. Just make sure to differentiate this in your entry.


Further information and links: 

The following links are a valuable business planning resource – however, there is a lot of information contained in these links, much of it will cover the same subjects but from a different angle. The list is not meant to convey any of our preferences but we hope that it will be of use not only for your successful entry into the making Business Happen awards but also for your future business development.

General business plan advice and templates:

Some video case study presentation examples:

Examples of business plans:

And finally – what it should all be about:

The Making Business Happen Awards Showcase & Prize Package

Where and when will the awards ceremony take place?

The awards showcase event will take place at our Pontypridd Campus in early July 2019. 


How quickly will we get our prize money if we win? 

All monetary prizes will be distributed to the various award winners as soon as possible following the prize giving at the showcase event in early July.


If I win, do I have to invest the prize money in my business/business idea? 

We would like you to. Our aspiration is that you invest the prize money into ‘Making Business Happen’ and could be both business and/or personal development.


Do I have to accept the full support package? 

No. The support package is on offer as a supplementary package to the cash prize. However, the support is of a significant value to both the business and you and you may want to accept some of the offers if not all. No cash equivalent will however be offered.


If I win a place to compete in the showcase event, what cost elements are covered? 

The University will provide all members of shortlisted teams plus their teacher/guardian with paid for accommodation for one or two nights  (as required). Lunch and dinner will also be provided to all showcase attendees.

In general, entrants are required to pay for their own travel expenses, but the University will consider individual applications for contributions towards costs associated with attending the showcase events. More details will be provided when the successful entrants are notified following the initial judging process.

Are you an aspiring entrepreneur with a great business idea? You can enter the Making Business Happen Awards.