Important Lessons for Young Entrepreneurs

With NVC’s intent to compete deadline right around the corner, February 13, we at NVC got to thinking about what components make up a winning pitch.

In our search for a better understanding of what incentives help innovators to bring their ideas to business plan competitions (besides the inherent motivation investment capital), we came across a textbook example of success featuring a college student.

One year ago, Alex Loijos earned his Master’s in Technology and Policy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and to accompany his graduate studies, he competed in various business investment competitions. The knowledge he gained and time he spent formulating his business plan in preparation to compete ended up being well worth his time investment.

Loijos and his teammates took each competition seriously because they hoped to launch their business as quickly as possible. The numerous competitions provided his team with motivation to continue polishing their business pitch and this became incredibly relevant to his venture’s future success.

Now a proud co-founder of LinkCycle, Loijos used his invaluable experience from business plan competitions to launch the start-up company that he and co-founder Sahil Sahn developed while studying at MIT.

Loijos and Sahn competed in several business plan competitions during their time at MIT and won the following awards in three competitions sponsored by MIT:

Granted, not every hopeful entrepreneur can study at MIT, but they can learn from the basic elements of Loijos’ experience as he worked to develop LinkCycle. Loijos attributed most of his success to MIT’s entrepreneurial program, which emphasizes three fundamentals required for success: feedback, viable business plan, and good mentorship.

If you’re interested in competing in a business investment competition, chances are you have a business plan ready to pitch. If you’re intending to or have already registered for NVC 2012 in Portland, then don’t sweat the feedback portion- we’ve got you covered.

NVC provides a panel of business professionals who evaluate your plan and offer their suggestions and provisional mentor advice. This leaves us with the last element in completing the equation: mentorship.

Adam Toren, writer for, outlined 8 steps in his article “Mentors: A Young Entrepreneur’s Secret Weapon” to getting the right mentor for you. The steps provide a great beginning blueprint to help guide you in the right direction to finding a mentor that’s right for you. Good luck and we hope you choose to let NVC develop your plan and guide your path to success!

Erin Suss

Want to learn more about what makes or breaks new business ventures? Take a look at Business Plan Competition Offers Insights.

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