The Cengage 1st Annual National Business Plan Competition

Posted By


Palo Alto Software has been actively involved in the business planning space for 20+ years. LivePlan, our flagship software, provides a low-cost planning software to students of business and business planning courses. LivePlan is an effective tool to help instructors teach students how to pitch to investors, write a bullet-proof business plan, and keep track of as well as be able to forecast financials. Streamlining the grading process by using a consistent format for business planning assignments is an extreme time saver. LivePlan is a great tool for focusing on Lean Startups.

Why this competition?

  • It is an exciting and memorable event that will help stimulate the learning environment
  • Familiarize students and instructors with the LivePlan software and the “lean planning” approach while also giving them the opportunity to win cash and prizes.
  • Further educate about cloud-based collaboration tools and how to produce actionable/trackable business plans for each customer/student, that can be used in future learning and even beyond the classroom.

Benefits for All Instructors

  • Motivated student engagement
  • Structured format for key topics: Pitch, Lean, Planning, etc.
  • Future potential for businesses to develop outside of classroom/after course completion
  • Longer-term development of strudents and course materials
  • Save time by using LivePlan to avoid Word & Excel time-sinks
  • The only investment is being a current LivePlan customer through Cengage!

Why LivePlan?

Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Also Software, shows why LivePlan is a great fit for any academic setting:

YouTube video

Eligibility for entry into the competition:

Exclusive to customers who purchase LivePlan with:

  • MindTap
  • CengageNow
  • Coursemate
  • Enrolled in Fall 2015 courses
  • Current customer in US

2 Winner Placements:

  1. Best Pitch Page – Intro to Business course student
  2. Best Lean Plan – higher level course student

Submissions will be judged based on:

  • Completeness of entry
  • Quality and clarity of communication
  • Perceived feasibility of forecast elements
  • Strength of communication of the unique challenges and solutions
  • Clarity of plan

Calendar of Events:

  • August 15, 2015 – OPEN FOR ENTRY
  • September- Webinar #1: “Learn how to create a 1-page business plan (the Pitch) in under and hour”
  • December 4, 2015 – ENTRY DEADLINE (Midnight)
  • December 15, 2015 – Final Winner Announced, wrap-up educational webinar with announcement

Prizes Include:

  • $1000 cash from Palo Alto Software for the best written lean plan
  • $500 cash from Palo Alto Software for the best written pitch page
  • Free LivePlan account for 1 year to each placement winner ($240 value)
  • Media release announcing each placement winner in the winner’s own region ($1000 value)
  • Instructors of the best written pitch and best written plan winners will receive prizes and recognition as well (final prizing TBD)
  • Additional prizing TBD

Judging Panel will include members of the Palo Alto Software Executive team and Cengage



Mike Allen 2


“Instructors looking for a great tool to help students develop business plans need to look at Live Plan.  The step by step process walks students through the entire process from Pitch to Financials.  As the Instructor you can also have online access to their plan and provide feedback and comments as the plan develops.” ~ Mike Allen, North Idaho College


Like this post? Share with a friend!

Christa Carter

Join over 1 million entrepreneurs who found success with LivePlan