Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership

LaunchPadSC Guidelines


The Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership recognizes the need to provide experiences beyond the classroom for budding entrepreneurs, inventors and developers. LaunchPadSC is designed to assist individuals and/or teams in the genesis of ideas for new business concepts and help move them toward the formation of potential new companies. The competition requires that a team complete a one-page executive summary of their business and prepare a five-minute, six-slide presentation as outlined below.

Competitor Qualifications

The competition is divided into two sections:

  • Section 1 is open to all full-time undergraduate and graduate students from Clemson University
  • Section 2 is open to all residents of South Carolina

Applicants can be solo individuals or teams of up to four members.

Nature of Ventures

The competition is for new, independent ventures in the seed, startup or early growth stages that are presenting a new business concept. We particularly welcome HIGH IMPACT CONCEPTS that have the potential to change our entrepreneurial world. The following concepts are specifically encouraged:

  • Social impact projects focusing on the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit)
  • Patented products or technologies licensed from universities or research labs
  • New business concepts that have a unique selling proposition (USP)

Presentation Guidelines

Every entrepreneur has a story. Each entrepreneurial team has exactly five minutes to make its presentation. The format should include the following six slides, but entrepreneurs must provide their own PowerPoint background and story. These are the headlines. Each slide should answer some of the following questions (bear in mind that you have less than one minute per slide).

Slide 1: Title Slide

The title slide should include:

  • The name of your business concept
  • Names of team members
  • Contact details for lead member including e-mail and phone number

To be eligible for Section 1, the team leader must supply an e-mail address with

All other entries will be designated as Section 2 entries.

Slide 2: The Problem

What is the problem, need or desire that you are solving?

The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity!

Slide 3: The Solution

What is your team’s cool product or service that solves that problem? What is your USP — unique selling proposition? How is your cool product or service different?

Slide 4: The Opportunity

  • Who is the primary target customer for the inconvenient problem that you are solving? 
  • Is there a paying market for your product?
  • How big is your market?
  • Who are your competitors? How will they respond to your actions?

Slide 5: Winning Customers

How will you reach your customers? How will you use guerilla marketing and social media to win customers over?

Slide 6: Sustainable Business Model

How do you make money? Is your business model likely to be sustainable (profitable) over the longer term?

What is the current status of your business? Where do you need help?

Judging Criteria and Evaluation Process

Judges for LaunchPad come from a community of entrepreneurs and business leaders. Judging will be based upon the selection of those entities that are most innovative and feasible. Each judge will submit a grading sheet, and awards will be presented to the top three concepts.


$20,000 in prizes! Cash awards will be made for the top business concept in each section as determined by our panel of judges. Those awards are as follows:

  • Section 1 Winner: $5,000
  • Section 2 Winner: $5,000

In addition to the cash awards, the two section winning enterprises will receive the BrightStart™ Bundle of Services offered by McNair Law (valued at $4,750 per enterprise) that includes:

  • Business incorporation
  • Legal advice on how to protect your business concept
  • Marketing tools including the design of company logo and business cards

The two winning business concepts will also be provided an introduction to Angel Capital investors (UCAN) and SCLaunch funding.

Confidentiality and Intellectual Property Guidelines

  • Participants in LaunchPadSC will retain ownership rights of all submitted materials before, during and after the competition except as stated below. Clemson University and the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership will respect the ownership rights of all participants but will not sign nondisclosure agreements because of the open character of this competition.
  • Please refrain from using sensitive information you wish to keep secret in your presentations and summaries as presentations will be open to the public and materials may be used for promotional and educational purposes.
  • Clemson University and the Arthur M. Spiro Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership may make photocopies, photographs, videotapes and/or audiotapes of the presentations including the PowerPoint slides and executive summary. They retain the right to use any and all materials and information submitted during the course of the competition for promotional and educational purposes throughout the world in all languages and media forms. The applicants retain all proprietary rights to their business concepts and designs.

This program is not a vehicle for raising funds and is void where prohibited.

For more information, please contact 864-656-5802 or