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Check out important information below. All participants must follow the guidelines provided. 

Thanks to Our Event Sponsors



Who Can Participate? Eligibility

The Business Plan Competition (“Competition”) is available to high school students within the Spokane, WA region. This includes students from high schools located within the counties of Spokane, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Whitman, and Kootenai (Idaho). Students must be enrolled in their Sophomore, Junior, or Senior year.

Team Requirements

Teams must consist of between 3-5 members (unless required for accommodation purposes). Each team member must meet the eligibility requirements listed in the previous sections. Business proposals submitted outside this requirement (e.g., more or less than 3-5) will not be considered (subject to reasonable accommodation requests).


The Competition intends to provide entrepreneurial opportunities to high school students to design, create, manufacture, and sell products. The program's emphasis is to increase interest and promote careers in manufacturing. Whereas there are several careers and pathways within manufacturing, the competition seeks students from all areas to create new ideas for business pursuits.

Judging Criteria

The following criteria will be used as guidelines when reviewing business plans, pitches, and presentations. Specific criteria may vary among judges according to their background and experience. However, we’ve done our best to clarify the standards used for determining winners.


Does the product solve a problem, meet a need, or demonstrate high chance of success? Is it needed? Does it solve a real problem? Will it work as a new product or business?


Team Orientation

The plan clearly requires the entire team in its development. It shows the application of team strengths to successfully launch the business (and doesn’t depend on one person).

Plan Completeness

The business plan provides all the information needed for reviewers to understand the product and business, how it will operate, and what steps are needed to launch it.


The plan clearly demonstrates how the proposed product will be profitable (not just generate revenue). The greater the demonstrable profit, the higher it scores.

Attention to Detail

The plan and explanation are clear, details about the product are included, and the plan is professional in appearance.

Business PartnershipThe plan outlines partnerships with one or more local business(es) to support and sustain growth over time. Endorsements from those businesses increases scores.

Industry Relevant

The proposal solves a problem or launches a product in manufacturing or a closely related field.

Overall ProfessionalismJudges are allowed discretion to add or subtract points based on the plan’s or team’s overall professionalism in submissions, presentations, and interactions.

Business Plan Design

There is no specific model or design that must be followed. There are many formats of business plans that can be used. The following sections outline criteria that will be considered as the judges review the plan submissions. This should NOT be considered an outline for your business plan. However, the following information should be easily identified by the judges as they review your plan.


  • Overall plan design – Does it convey the business idea and related details?

  • Product - Does the plan clearly describe the product to be made?

  • Professionalism - Is the plan professional in appearance and does it convey information to potential partners, investors, clients, and stakeholders?

  • Model – Does the plan follow an easy-to-follow business model?

  • Mechanics – Is the plan free of typos, grammatical errors, and other fundamental writing issues that would typically disqualify a business document from consideration?

Purpose and Goals

  • What are both the short-term and long-term goals of the business?

  • What is the purpose of your business? Why do you want to start it?

  • What problem does the product solve? What need is met by the product?

  • What do you hope to accomplish by starting the business?

  • If your team wins, what will your team do? What is the next step?


  • How did you decide on the product?

  • What research was conducted?

  • Who did you talk to?

  • How did you establish there is a demand for the product?

  • How do you know it will be successful?


  • Who is the primary target market for the product?

  • Who are the other stakeholders?

  • How did you define the market?

  • How do you know the product will meet their needs?

  • What research was done to establish market demand?


  • Are there 3-5 people on the team?

  • Are all team members eligible?

  • Do they all take part in the plan preparation?

Overall Plan

  • The plan defines the process to design and refine the product through market study.

  • The plan defines the initial start-up process, launch, and operations.

  • The plan outlines initial operations and a model to sustain the business through the first 12-24 months.

  • The plan is realistic to launch by the team, with the resources available and has practical application to the manufacturing industry.

  • The plan provides ideas to obtain funding to launch, maintain, and grow business operations.

Skills Development

  • The plan identifies the soft skills (e.g., communication, leadership, innovation) used by team members in the business launch and operations.

  • The plan identifies the technical skills that team members will utilize.

Bonus Points

Extra consideration may be given to plans that include the use of:

  • CNC (metal or wood)

  • Lean manufacturing processes

  • Welding, fabrication, metal forming, metal work

  • Machining

  • Other use of tooling, measures, and industrial-related processes.

Expected Competition Rounds

We want you to come up with an idea to start a business - something that designs, makes, and sells products to be sold for a profit. While we prefer something that includes the trades (e.g., welding and production), there are many kinds of companies you can use. We want to see what you come up with that can work. Here is what to expect.

ROUND 1: Written Business Plan

  • Form a team of 3-5 people.

  • Develop a concept for a business. What will the business do, make, and sell to manufacture a profitable product?

  • Prepare a written business plan to explain the business concept including details about your product, operations, customers, and everything else.

  • Be sure to include financial information about start-up costs, product costs, materials, employees, sales, and other important figures.

  • Consider your customers and market, and why you think this will be successful.

  • Prepare a formal business plan document that includes all relevant information. Include anything the evaluators will need to know about your business. (Only information submitted in writing will be considered.)

  • Submit all plans and documents by the due date and time.

ROUND 2: The Pitch

  • Business plans will be reviewed by the selection committees.

  • The top 10 teams will be selected to return in early January 2024 to give a 3-5 minute “pitch” to a judges panel. This will follow a “Shark Tank” model where teams must “sell” their project to one or more judges to sponsor.

  • Judges will collaborate to select the top 3-5 teams who will return for the final presentation in February 2024.

ROUND 3: Final Round

  • Finalists are invited back for a final round to “close the deal.”

  • Teams have 15 minutes to share how to launch their business, make their products, sell them profitably, and keep the business going into the future.

  • Judges will make decisions according to contest criteria, but ultimately, they’ll ask if the plan can work, if it will make a profit, and if the team can pull it off.


  • The winning team will be sponsored to launch their business (in part or whole) as a part of the 2024 Production & Manufacturing Institute.

  • Winners will also receive (a) a small grant to fund preparations, (b) mentoring, and (c) other resources to begin preparations.

  • Winners will present their plan at the Annual Conference for the Northwest I-90 Manufacturers’ Alliance in May 2024. (This is attended by many regional manufacturers who may be looking for future talent...time to impress!)

  • Prizes and valuable rewards will be available to top teams.

Other Guidelines

To Participate

Each team must complete the registration form in its entirety and submit the business plan by the established due date. All subsequent dates must also be adhered to for continued eligibility.


  • Start Date: Submissions will be accepted starting November 27, 2023.

  • Submission Due Date: All proposals must be submitted no later than Wednesday, January 3, 2024, by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time).

  • All materials must be submitted through the submission page through the Submissions Page

Important Dates & Info

Please note the dates and details listed within the materials and throughout the website.


Start Date

Submissions will be accepted starting November 27, 2023.


Submission Due Date

All proposals must be submitted no later than Wednesday, January 3, 2024, by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific time). 

Program Eligibility

The program is available to all students 15 years and older currently enrolled in high school within the Spokane region as a sophomore, junior, or senior. Program eligibility is dependent upon team members maintaining satisfactory grades, school attendance, and overall performance.


Submissions will be reviewed by judges designated by the program sponsor(s). Evaluators may include (but not be limited to) business professionals, teachers, and others. Submissions may be evaluated at any time following submission, so there is ONLY ONE (1) submission per team (no revisions after the initial submission). Independent evaluators from industry, education, and workforce agencies will review submissions according to program selection criteria. Winners will be selected from among those received by the deadline.

Manufacturing Focus

Proposals are limited to business launch ideas within manufacturing, aerospace, and related industries. The goal is to demonstrate a plan to create a sustainable business that makes something to sell (profitably). While any manufacturing or aerospace production business is eligible, proposals focused on industrial manufacturing will be favored.


Materials must be submitted as a single document. It is recommended that submissions be provided in PDF format to retain formatting; however, MS Word is also acceptable. Other formats may be acceptable provided judges can open and review the documents using standard office software. Submissions should be professional in nature, paying attention to detail, and sharing all pertinent information in writing. Any information shared via video link will not be considered as part of the evaluation. Only written content submitted will be considered for the contest.


Participants agree to the following:

The Manufacturing Business Plan Competition (“The Competition”) is offered as an extracurricular program that promotes career exploration, preparation, and launch activities. We want to promote creativity, problem-solving, teamwork, networking, and entrepreneurship. We are providing an opportunity to interact with members of the local business community and provide a platform to share real business solutions that can contribute to the local economy. The Competition aims to provide a fun competition among high school students. At the same time, we recognize the need to provide additional details about the competition rules, terms, and conditions that apply to all participants, sponsors, judges, volunteers, and other individuals involved in the program.

The Competition and all related programs and activities are run independently as a program associated with the Manufacturing Institute. All activities, programs, competitions, communications, and engagements are intended to support and promote this program as a workforce and educational promotional program. Neither this program nor its related activities, meetings, programs, prizes, awards, contributions, media, or any other product, promotion, communication, etc. is meant to represent any of the identified sponsors, participants, members, directors, volunteers, supporters, or any other intended or unintended stakeholder.

The Competition is provided and promoted as a voluntary extracurricular activity and is not affiliated with any school, academic program, or formal employment relationship. Participants recognize that participation is voluntary and that submission of any and all ideas, information, and content provided as a part of this program and subsequent presentations and activities is done so freely and without restriction. Participants and their parents or legal guardians recognize and release all rights and claims of ownership and privacy to ideas, intellectual property, information, content, materials, and other related programs, processes, and data participants provide through this program. Specifically, no non-disclosure agreements shall be allowed as a condition of submission by any participant.

Participants recognize that this program promotes career development and ongoing pathway exploration, preparation, and launch. It is not meant to be a promise (formal, implied, or otherwise) of employment, compensation, rewards, or any other monetary or other exchange for program participation or outcomes. Participants agree to release all submitted contents (e.g., there is no expectation for materials to be returned during or after the competition).

Participants recognize that business plan submissions will be reviewed by outside, independent volunteer judges. Participants also agree to abide by the judges’ opinions and decisions. By agreeing to participate in the competition, participants agree to maintain professionalism in all behavior, communication, correspondence, and engagements.

It is understood that sponsors provide support in the form of financial and in-kind contributions that may include promotion, services, labor, financial contributions, etc. However, sponsors are neither responsible nor liable for any harm (intentional or unintentional) that may result from this program. Participants (and their parents or guardians if under age 18) agree to hold harmless of liability all sponsors, volunteers, other participants, directors, employees, coordinators, stakeholders, community members, and all others, their families, their organizations, their owners, and related individuals who may be involved directly or indirectly in the program.

Participants understand there is no guarantee of acceptance, winning, prizes, awards, etc. Acceptance of plans, judging, and all program decisions are at the discretion of program administrators. If no submissions are accepted as winners based upon the criteria outlined and judges' decisions, program administrators may cancel the program with or without formal notification to participants or the public. If fewer than three submissions are provided, program administrators may, at their sole discretion, award prizes (or no prizes) as they deem appropriate.

Prizes may include several valuable and non-monetary awards and prizes. Financial awards may be distributed through gift cards, subsidies, checks from third-party entities, and other forms of value. The program coordinator determines the prizes, which are subject to change at any time. 

Participants further understand that media may be present to capture events, information, and images of meetings and people involved in the program. Participants acknowledge and give full permission and release to Manufacturing Institute, Wagstaff, Inc., East Valley School District, and other media sources to capture pictures and promote images and information about participants and their projects via standard media (including social media) and other print, video, or other productions.

Participants understand that discriminatory, unlawful, and unprofessional behavior will not be tolerated and may result in immediate disqualification from the Competition. The Manufacturing Institute and its sponsors promote access to career pathways for all students and encourage all eligible individuals to participate. Complaints regarding any violation of these or related rules should be submitted in writing to OTD via the email address provided in the Competition information.

It is our hope and expectation that participants will have fun, engage with others, and find new opportunities through this program. Participants should not expect automatic qualification for advancement to future rounds of consideration, prizes, awards, or any other consideration. The Manufacturing Institute and its sponsors retain the right to make all decisions independently and make adjustments to rules, terms, and conditions as deemed necessary at any time either with or without notification to all participants. While it is not anticipated that changes to program terms shall take place, any applicable program changes will be listed via the program website, and all registered participants will be notified as practical as possible.

All participants must be registered through the official website to be eligible to participate. All submissions must be received by the stated deadline to be considered. Decisions by judges shall be final. Any requests for accommodation or special consideration must be made in writing and submitted to OTD no later than December 15, 2023. OTD reserves the right as the program director to make final accommodation determinations.

Any other questions, considerations, terms, and conditions not expressly outlined or defined shall be under the sole discretion and determination of the program coordinator (OTD). While we will do our best to answer questions and find mutually beneficial solutions, OTD reserves the right to make the final decisions regarding all Competition terms and conditions.

Have a question? 

Below is the contact information for the Competition. If you do not get a response within 24-48 hours, please contact us again.


Phone: 509-219-9997

Program Director:    Dr. Wade Larson

                                     Director of Workforce Development (Wagstaff)

                                     President, Optimal Talent Dynamics (OTD)


Additional Information

All participants agree to abide by the rules and regulations outlined within the Competition Information provided in the Competition Flyer and on the website ( While the program organizers have done their best to outline all necessary information and to make the necessary arrangements for due dates and events, there may be situations that require changes to the terms and conditions of the competition including, but not limited to, due dates, event dates, event locations, specific prizes and awards, sponsors, and other related information. All changes will be made known on the Competition webpage and highlighted in the program information details. Participants understand and acknowledge that Competition coordinators may make these adjustments at any time, with or without notification (though we will do our best to make notifications of changes in a timely manner on the Competition webpage). 

Though general information is provided above on this page, additional information related to the competition, its guidelines, terms, and conditions are also explained on the other two pages (the General Information Page and the Submission Page). Participants are encouraged to read all information and details. However, regardless of compliance with reading all rules, judges will abide by these guidelines and expectations in their evaluations and outcomes. Judging decisions are final at all stages of the Competition. 

The Manufacturing Business Plan Competition is an independent program run as a function of the Production and Manufacturing Institute. The sponsors, coordinators, beneficiaries, participants, and all others related to the program are not responsible for any information, content, activities, or outcomes related to the program. Participants, their families and guardians, and all others who participate in the program in any manner agree to release the Production and Manufacturing Institute and all associated parties from all liability that may result from the Competition or related activities.  

Any specific or additional information about the Competition may be obtained by emailing

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