Beginning June 2, 2010, we welcomed college students, alumni, and other members of the community to submit ideas for ventures, whether they were in the planning stages of starting a for profit business, non-profit, or social enterprise, or in early stages of operating one. We were particularly interested in business ventures that had the potential to make a significant social impact in the community, or be scalable regionally and/or nationally.
Entrepreneurs whose business ideas met our initial evaluation criteria were asked to complete an X-LAB questionnaire that requested more information about the business candidates were proposing. If their idea passed the questionnaire evaluation criteria, they were selected to meet with a panel of experts for a 30-minute interview. If the idea then passed this stage of the competition, the entrepreneur was invited to campus for a 60-minute interview with another panel of experts. This was the final stage of screening, designed to determine which entrepreneurs were selected as the winners of the 2010 X-LAB Competition.
The 7-Step Selection Process
Registration - Participants could register from June 2, 2010 to midnight of July 7, 2010. They registered using our on-line registration form. Participants were able to submit more than one idea, but each registration/entry was independent of any others.
Initial Evaluation - A 2-person panel completed an initial evaluation of the idea(s) that were submitted. If an idea passed the initial evaluation criteria, the participant would be scheduled to receive a questionnaire for further details about the idea.
Questionnaire Submission - If an idea passed the initial evaluation criteria, a questionnaire was sent for the participant to complete. The intent of the questionnaire was for us to learn more about the idea. Those who received the questionnaire had a maximum of 2 weeks to complete the form.
Questionnaire Evaluations - Questionnaire responses were assessed by a 2-person panel of business experts. If an idea passed this step, the entrepreneur was invited on campus for a 30-minute interview. All of the questionnaires received needed to be assessed for all the entrants before we selected the candidates that were invited to the next step of evaluation process. This meant that participants did not know their results until July 30, 2010.
30-Minute On-Campus Interview - On August 19 and 20, 2010, we met with the candidates that were selected from among those that submitted a questionnaire. We conducted a 30-minute, on-campus interview with each candidate. The intent of the 30-minute interview was for us to learn more about the participant as a potential X-LAB entrepreneur, and more about their idea. These interviews were conducted by a 2 or 3-person panel of business experts. Upon the conclusion of the interview, the panel completed an assessment. We then selected our finalists based on these assessments. On August 23, 2010, entrants were contacted informing them as to whether they were, or were not, selected as a finalist.
60-Minute Interview & Discussion - On September 13-14, 2010, we met with each finalist. The purpose of this step was for both the candidate and the X-LAB representatives (a 2 to 3 person panel of business experts) to decide whether this would be a good fit for both parties. Participants were asked to answer some final questions, but the finalists also had the opportunity to ask their panelists some questions. This step was more of a conversation rather than an interview. Once the interview was completed, the panel would complete a final evaluation. When all the interviews and the evaluations were completed, we selected the first X-LAB winners.
Announcement of the Winners - On September 16, 2010, we announced the winners for the first X-LAB competition. All the finalists were invited on-campus for the selection ceremony. Once the winners were announced, we met with them to discuss next steps in the X-LAB process.