Skip to main content

Cardinal Challenge Competition Format

The Cardinal Challenge will showcase teams’ presentation savvy in two formats: Business Plan Presentation and Fast Pitch over the course of the competition. Cash prizes are given to the winners and determined based on the number of teams presenting.

This competition is free for teams to participate.


Teams submit to enter the competition and your category is determined based on your business concept and at the discretion of the Forcht Center team.

  • Traditional Cardinal Challenge
    Graduate students from the UofL IMBA or GMBA compete in teams of 2 or more on a program-long academic development of a innovative new business idea from the ground up. Utilizes things learned inside the classes, student teams develop everything needed in the startup world. Graduate teams compete in a series of rounds to see who’s business concept rises above the rest.
  • Social Impact Innovation HUB Category
    By partnering with the Hub, you tap into a wellspring of innovative ideas and solutions aimed at addressing critical health and social equity challenges. It enriches the competition by infusing a powerful social impact perspective, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration, and creating opportunities for students to engage in real-world, transformative projects. The partnership not only benefits the university community but also advances the university’s commitment to making a positive and lasting impact on the wider community, underscoring the importance of social responsibility in entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • Corporate INTRA-prenuer
    (MBA 680) with Dr. Anne Zwerg
    This Hackathon style course will put all your MBA learnings to the test as you develop a business proposal for a real-life sponsoring organization.  During the class, you will work in teams to research the issue and prepare your strategy. Then, during the Cardinal Challenge, you will compete against the other teams as your present your solutions for the original corporate problem proposed to the class.
    Corporate category format will be determined by Dr. Zwerg.

 Once your team is selected to compete, The Forcht Center will provide all rules and presentation information.


During the Friday morning sessions, teams will participate in the Business Plan Presentation competition. Conducted simultaneously, the tracks will include 15 minutes for each presentation followed by (up to) 15 minutes of Q&A from the judges. 

Based on the judges’ selections, each track will produce one winner, with those teams competing in the afternoon finals. Judges will score each team on its written business plan and oral presentation. Written business plans are submitted prior to the competition date.

Written plan judging factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Executive summary
  • Market analysis
  • Product or service
  • Operating strategy
  • Critical risks
  • Pro-forma financials
  • Company overview
  • Uses of funds
  • Offering

Oral presentation judging factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Presentation creativity
  • Concept viability
  • Business plan
  • Visual aids

Winners after both rounds will be announced at the awards reception and celebration on Friday evening.


Teams will participate in the Fast Pitch competition, where one member of each team will present its concept to the judges in 60 seconds.

Made without visual aids or follow-up Q&A, the Fast Pitches will be judged on passion, completeness, relevance, and style.

Winners will be announced at the Friday evening awards reception and celebration.