Judging for the Ag Springboard Competition will be done through two rounds. All five-minute pitch videos submitted before the March 15, 2025 deadline will be judged in the initial round. A finalist round will be on April 2, 2025, when finalist teams will present live to a panel of judges.

Judging in the initial round will be done through the independent assessment of at least two individuals from the following groups:

  • Penn State affiliated entrepreneurs and business owners
  • Faculty members from Penn State University's Entrepreneurship programs
  • Representatives from various "angel networks" in Pennsylvania
  • Select external venture capitalists and other funding providers

From the initial round of ideas, the top ideas will be selected for the second and final round of judging and will be eligible for cash prizes and investment opportunities. Representatives from the selected teams will be required to present their presentation in front of an audience of students, faculty and staff from Penn State University, as well as other members of Pennsylvania's business community. Select entrepreneurs and representatives from various business organizations will judge the final round.

Judging Criteria


  • The team did a good job identifying its initial target market.
  • The team is targeting a significant and attractive potential market.
  • The team showed credible market research data to support its market size claims.
  • The team identified large and attractive secondary markets to serve over the long term.

Product or Service

  • The team has identified a compelling initial product or service.
  • The team has described a robust product/service additions roadmap going forward.


  • The team has identified its initial target customers and has given specific references.
  • The team has articulated a strong hard‐dollar customer value proposition.

Technology / Service / Innovation

  • The team has presented a clear and concise overview of its unique capabilities and state of development.
  • There is very little fundamental technology or development risk left to resolve.
  • The team has a solid Intellectual Property position as well as plans to protect it.

Development Plan

  • The team has outlined a credible and thorough plan for developing its first product or service.
  • The team has clearly identified its resource requirements and these can be reasonably obtained.
  • The team has a plan to derive additional funding from alternative sources such as government grants, friends, bootstrapping, bank loans, etc.

Distribution Plan

  • The team understands and has clearly articulated its business model.
  • The team's sales model is a good fit for its product/service and business model.
  • The team has articulated a plan to attract corporate partners.

Team Composition

  • The team has a strong and complete founding management team or a well-described plan to build such a team.
  • The team has attracted an impressive advisory board or has a well-described plan to develop such a board.
  • The team clearly understands what additional people and skills it needs to build a team.


  • The team comprehensively identified potential competitors.
  • The initial product or service has strong competitive advantages vs. existing alternatives.
  • The team's unique innovations will confer sustainable competitive advantages on its products or services as these evolve over time.

Financial Projections Strongly Presented

  • The team has clearly described its funding needs; these are reasonable and adequate to the task.
  • The team is well-positioned to win initial grants from various federal and state funding agencies.
  • The team has presented attractive and credible 5-year financial projections.

Exit Strategy

  • The team considers a strategic acquisition that has the potential to achieve significant enterprise valuation within 5‐7 years.
  • The team has clearly thought about its exit strategy and has articulated a strong plan to get there.
  • The team has described an attractive list of prospective acquirers as well as reasons they might consider a strategic acquisition.