Rules, Policies, and Guidelines


All Fairfield University students are eligible to participate unless they or their teams violate one of the other conditions below. Non-students and former students are not eligible, though students are free to consult whoever they like. 

  1. Individuals. In order to win a prize, each student competitor must ...
    • Be currently enrolled at Fairfield University and in good standing at the university and the community.
    • Use OrgSync to register for the event where the prize is awarded. 
    • Sign a media waiver allowing Fairfield University to use your name and likeness to promote Fairfield University, the Fairfield StartUp program, and Fairfield StartUp events. Contact information and other FERPA-protected information will be kept private unless express permission is given to share it.
    • Allow the Fairfield StartUp program to store copies of submitted materials for judging and archival purposes. Fairfield StartUp will not distribute copies of any materials without the permission of the authors.
  2. Teams. In order to pitch for funding at the Showcase, each team must ...
    • Be selected at the Showcase Qualifiers in December. Details about what it takes to qualify will be distributed at the Business Model Workshop in November.
    • Register as a team on the website. This will happen on Founders Day in January. 
    • Maintain a team roster of registered competitors. Rosters must have between 1 and 4 student members. 
    • Acquire and then work with mentors as required. Teams that have not actively worked with a mentor by Preview Night in March will not be permitted to continue. 
    • Sign a media waiver permitting Fairfield University to use team photographs, video, and audio for educational, research, and promotional purposes. This includes recording your live pitches for discussion in relevant courses.
    • Complete all required activities, including public pitch presentations that include information about your business ideas and plans.
  3. Businesses. Submitted business models, business plans, and pitches must ...
    • Propose a new seed or startup venture. Proposals for tax shelter opportunities, real estate syndications, existing firms are not eligible. The company cannot be incorporated before the Showcase in April.
    • Be the original work of the teamThe author(s) will retain all rights regarding the use of all submitted business models and plans at all times prior to, during, and following the competition. 

Intellectual Property Policy

Given the public nature of Fairfield StartUp events, Fairfield University cannot guarantee protection of product designs or other potentially-patentable materials and will not agree to non-disclosure agreements that would require such protections.  Further, if the works in question were developed using University resources or as required for University coursework, then the University's IP ownership policies are fully in force. 

Thus, it is up to the competitors to develop and protect their intellectual property. Make sure that you actually own the works in question and that you understand that disclosing your intellectual property will almost certainly be a funding requirement from investors. However, this disclosure need not be in public and certainly not a requirement for participation in the Fairfield StartUp program.

Applicants are urged to mark their work as CONFIDENTIAL. They are also advised not to include any descriptions of technology that would enable the reader to duplicate the technology or invention described. Applicants should also be careful about disclosing senstive details of any 'patentable' concepts in their applications because, although in the United States a patent application can be filed up to one year after the first public disclosure of an invention, this is not necessarily the case elsewhere. In many foreign countries a patent application must be filed before any public disclosure is made.

Guidelines for Mentors

All mentors receive the following guidelines regarding their participation in the competition. Note that while the mentors are expected to provide feedback on the business plans, the documents and the ideas therein belong to the student competitors.    


To assist you in understanding what you can expect to contribute as a mentor the Executive Board has prepared the following guidelines:

  1. StartUp mentors may comment on elements of the business that are strong or weak, but should be careful not to alter the composition and writing of written materials. Since the investors want some assurance that the people pitching actually own the works being pitched, the board wants each team to be the sole author of the plan. Do not give into temptations to develop the business model or plans for them. 
  2. Teams will be asking your guidance regarding the viability of their start-up.  Please feel free to contribute your ideas regarding the industry, competitors and best marketing plans to enable a successful business launch.
  3. The sole ownership of the business is that of the student team and each mentor agrees that the work will be kept confidential and the mentor will not share the student plan to avoid any aspect of impropriety or infringement of the startup plan.
  4. As a consultant you have been paired with a student team to answer questions and provide guidance based on your wealth of practical experience.  Share your experiences so that the team may benchmark from your expertise.
  5. Most importantly, have fun! Imagine how great it would have been if you had at your disposal a mentor like yourself during the onset of your career.  Your advice will undoubtedly have a lasting impression long after the completion of this competition.