NIU Actionable Business Plan Competition​

NIU Actionable Business Plan Competition

Actionable and feasible business ideas


NIU is offering its first actionable business plan competition to catalyze a culture of innovative, actionable problem-solving at NIUand encourage ethical, socially responsible business development in Uganda and beyond. This will be an annual event. This competition is being sponsored by an American company whose owner has ties to Uganda, Kidesa Microventures. The company is currently focused on investing in micro and small business startups in Uganda.


All business teams must include one or more NIU students who play a primary role in the business and hold equity, if equity has been distributed. In addition, alumni or non-students may also serve as members of teams.

Key steps and timelines

1. Activities

  • 30th September, 2019 – Call sent out.
  • 31st December, 2019 – Round 1 Submission deadline
  • 28th February 2020 – Selection for Round 2
  • 30th, April 2020 – Round 2 submission deadline
  • 29th May 2020 – Selection for prize winners

2. Q & A Session

NIU will host an online Q and A session allowing students and their business team members to submit questions (live on Zoom) regarding the competition and receive answers from the current sponsor and NIU faculty involved in managing the competition.

3. Mentorship / Training / Guidance

NIU faculty will be available to address any questions that students have about developing a business plan. In addition, several courses at NIUprovide students with the skills to develop actionable business plans, including our MBA programmes.

Round 1. Business Concept Paper Submission

The first step of the competition will require student business teams to develop a business concept paper of two pages or less. The concept paper must, at a minimum provide answers to all the question in the business concept paper template (Draft Template for Business Concept Paper). This is one of the most important steps of the competition and should lead to all business teams having a feasible business concept. We encourage teams to propose socially responsible businesses that offer a net positive social impact on the communities in which they will exist. The deadline for the business concept paper is December 31st, 2019.

Judging of the Business Concept Paper

A panel of judges will assess the business concept papers and determine which ones should proceed to the next round. All entries will receive scoring and feedback from the judges regardless of whether they make it to the next round. Teams will receive points for having business concepts that provide a net positive social impact. The business concept paper scorecard is available to all participants. (add link) We will select participants for the second round of competition by 28th February 2020.



Round 2 - Actionable Business Plan Submission

All business teams selected for the second round will be required to submit an actionable business plan. Unlike the typical business plan, this business plan should account for the real life factors that will increase or decrease the likelihood of the business startup succeeding. Financial calculations should be as realistic as possible. Teams will be required to analyze the social impact of their businesses and work to develop a plan that results in a net positive social impact. The business plan must, at a minimum, meet all the business plan requirements in the business plan template for the competition. The deadline for the business plan is 30th, April 2020.



Judging of the Actionable Business Plans

All business plans submitted will be scored by a panel of judges. The top three winners will receive a guaranteed prize and have the potential to receive an equity investment to help with the starting of the proposed startup company. Teams will receive points for having business plans that provide a net positive social impact. The business plan scorecard is available to business teams. (add link)

Prizes and More

The top three winners will receive a monetary award as indicated below. This award can be used for the business or for any other purpose. It will be divided among team members as indicated in the business plan that is submitted. In addition, teams will meet with one or more investors and discuss possible equity investments in the company. Teams are not required to take on any equity investments from investors.


Guaranteed Prize

Optional Equity Investment








500,000 UGX


Statement on Intellectual Property

Intellectual property rights of business teams will be respected and maintained by competition administrators. Any intellectual property arising from work being done with university support will be subject to negotiable terms of use by the university and the business seeking to use the intellectual property.

Questions / Inquiries

For inquiries, please contact by email: