Competition sparks innovation and creativity, which are especially important for entrepreneurs. Competitions are carefully planned to allow students to interact and network with a distinguished panels of judges, who provide valuable advice, offer guidance to students in their entrepreneurial endeavors, and sometimes even finance ventures. The Polsky Center also supports Chicago Booth students who participate in entrepreneurial competitions hosted by outside universities and national organizations.
The New Venture Challenge (NVC) is one of the nation's premier start-up launch programs, designed to encourage students to act upon their entrepreneurial ideas within a supportive and highly rewarding environment. Now in its 17th year, the NVC has awarded $800,000 and helped launch more than 85 companies, which have gone on to raise more than $300 million in funding and create several thousand jobs.
The NVC has expanded and now includes four tracks: Traditional, Social, Global, and College, which offer tailored programming to meet the needs of UChicago's diverse student body. The Global NVC is designed for executive MBA students and alumni from the Chicago Booth campuses in London, Singapore, and Chicago to develop businesses through an internet-based platform and customized curriculum. The Social NVC, first offered in 2010 - 11, helps students launch for-profit and nonprofit ventures with social impacts and strong models for financial sustainability, and the College NVC helps UChicago undergraduates craftinnovative and sustainable for-profit and non-profit enterprises.
The Venture Capital Investment Competition (VCIC) is an annual, day-long event coordinated by the Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital student group and the Polsky Center. The purpose of the Chicago Booth VCIC is to give students the experience of thinking and acting as venture capitalists and to identify top students to represent the school at the regional and international VCIC competitions. During the competition, student teams role-play as venture capital firms and have the opportunity to interact with real-life entrepreneurs while being evaluated by actual investors.
The Sterling Partners Investment Thesis Challenge (SPITC) launched in 2011 with the generous support of Sterling Partners. SPITC encourages students to form teams to conceive and propose an original investment thesis. A limited number of teams will subsequently be selected to work with mentors at private equity firms over a span of three months to develop their full investment thesis and recommend an execution strategy.