Peter Farrell Cup

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the form of the application documents should be? Can it be PowerPoint?

For the 45 teams selected after their online application is submitted via RamenLife, the next submission will be a pitch deck (presentation slides) sent via email to the organising committee by 12PM on 17 September.

Even if you use PowerPoint to create your deck, you should save and submit the final version as a PDF. This is because we want your slides to appear exactly as you intended when we put them on screen at your Pitch Fest event. Because you will be saving your slides as a PDF, there’s no need to waste time worrying about animations like fancy star wipes or clapping sound effects!

Note: Whilst your presentation slides should contain minimal text, you may submit slides with detailed appendices (e.g. financial models, budgets, forecasts, project plans, drawings or designs, etc.). These slides will not be on screen at your Pitch Fest event but may be considered by judges or the organising committee if necessary in determining the Top-10 finalists.

Is it necessary to bring the product model in person while in competition?

No – it’s not necessary. Not all of the ideas in the competition will be for products (and not all products can be built very quickly, easily or cheaply), so we do not require this. However, it would demonstrate great traction to have built a prototype or even the real thing! If you have a product, demo or design to show the judges, make sure you bring it along to add to the “realism” aspect of your pitc

Are we allowed to participate in the PFC if we've participated in a founders program (which gives grant money)?

No – your startup would be considered too advanced for this particular competition. Some parts of the Founders Program offer prize or grant money (e.g. Founders 10x accelerator, Founders Grow pre-accelerator, New Wave prize-winners, etc.). If you have received money from a program, including the Founders Program, you are doing great (keep it up!) but the PFC is not for you. Come and see us in Coach & Connect any time, all year round! The PFC is seeking out “new business ideas” that often come from very newly-formed teams.

Can we see the trophy?

You can see it at the finals – preferably as a finalist! ;)

Just wonder if that’s possible to have the business targeting at a specific country, not globally and not Australian based either?

Yes – in the PFC, your startup can propose an idea targeting anyone and based anywhere. As long as you meet the other criteria (e.g. at least 1 cofounder being a current UNSW student), you’re fine. However, it may prove more difficult for you to validate your most critical assumptions (e.g. by interviewing 100 potential users or customers) if your market can’t be easily accessed during the competition. Remember, the highest-weighted judging criterion is traction!

Hi, I have an idea of a business, and never done the course in business studies but am associated with people who has done it, who can I share my idea to?

It sounds like there may be a concern around relevant skills and experience here. You don’t need to have studied business to apply for the PFC. It’s open to students from all faculties and you will receive support on how to validate and present your business ideas. If you get through to the Top-45 teams, you will also be matched with a mentor who will have business experience. However, you do need a team of between 2-5 people in order to apply, so you may want to recruit someone with a business background as well! Just make sure you trust them and think they will commit to the idea as much as you have.

Can social startups apply?

Yes – the PFC Winner in 2013, Conscious Step, was a great example of a social enterprise. Make sure you research and present plenty of compelling information on the social impact your idea could create, how that could be measured and why organisations or people would want to support your cause. You still need to present everything else a purely for-profit startup would, including but not limited to: descriptions of the problem, solution (product/service), market size, competitive landscape, marketing plan, financials (e.g. budgets and forecasts) and – of course – what you need from the audience. See the judging criteria for further guidance.

Worried about my IP being stolen. How is it protected along the way?

Please consider everything you say, write or submit during the PFC to be in the public domain (e.g. pitches will be viewed by audiences and livestreamed across the world). If you are uncomfortable with this, please either adjust what you plan to reveal in your submissions (e.g. if there’s patent potential, do not reveal the technical details of your idea or any of the innovative/inventive steps; instead talk about the possible business opportunity) or do not enter. Outside of patents, if you are referring to IP more generally, this is one of the realities of doing business – ideas can be stolen and often the best defence is to move more quickly than the competition!

Should we find all team members before submitting the initial proposal online?

You can save and return to your online application on RamenLife, so you can start an application and finish it later. By the time you submit it, you should have at least 2 and no more than 5 team members listed on your application. You can then recruit more team members to your startup (if necessary) throughout the competition and could pitch this as an example of your traction.

Is there a limit for amount of applications you can make?

No, there isn’t – however, it does reflect less commitment or passion for any one of your ideas. When compared to an applicant that submitted 1 very strong, well-researched, clear and articulate application, this might make you seem less persuasive. You could still get into the Top-45 with one of your ideas, but we’ll leave your game plan up to you!

What if the idea is actually impossible to do. Can the winner have a product that cannot exist?

No, lol – this is a competition for real business ideas and the challenge is to make as much real-world progress as you can during the competition. It’s not likely the organising committee or judges would find a pitch very persuasive at all if it is actually (or currently) impossible. It would also be difficult to pitch in a genuine and honest manner!

What if the idea requires some industry specific knowledge to properly understand how useful the product will be?

This is why learning how to pitch an innovative idea effectively (i.e. in such a way that different audiences can understand, relate to and even become excited by) is such a big part of the competition. With a very technical audience from your field, this may not be so challenging or take much time. With a more general audience, it may take quite a lot of time. Learning how to adapt a message for different audiences (e.g. business mentors, investors, politicians, general public, etc.) is certainly not impossible – it’s one of the greatest transferable skills of entrepreneurship.

Catch-22: Extra points for traction, disqualified for having revenue. How's does that make sense?

This competition is simply looking for “brilliant new ideas” and the highest-weighted judging criterion is traction. If you can develop, launch and sell a new product or service (i.e. achieving first revenue) during the competition, it would most likely be highly regarded by the judges! If your startup has revenue before applying for the competition, you’re just too advanced for this particular opportunity. The great news is, UNSW Entrepreneurship offers much more support for your startup (and we want to meet you!), which you can explore here: http://founders.unsw.edu.au

Since only one person has to be a student in NSW, can another person participate from another part in the world or do they have to be in Sydney?

No, they don’t – they can be anywhere! To be clear, at least one current student needs to be at UNSW. Beyond that, your team can be spread around the world – just as they could be in any real business. This isfor real businesses, after all. If you plan on scaling your idea globally (especially to the city/country your team member is in), you would probably include this as one of your team’s great advantages!

Are there any particular idea categories PFC is particularly interested in hearing about?

No – we are interested in “brilliant new ideas” for all sectors and industries. A compelling pitch can come from anywhere. UNSW startups come from all thematic areas, including but not limited to: FinTech, MedTech, HealthTech, EduTech, AgTech, SpaceTech, all the “-Techs” really, Internet of Things, Software-as-a-Service and many more!

Can I come with a team or do I have to compete by myself?

Yes, the PFC is a team activity. You are required to have at least 2 people on your team at the time of submitting your application and no more than 5.

Who do I contact if I need anything during the competition?

You can contact Phil Doran (email: phil.doran@unsw.edu.au) regarding your submissions, event dates, logistics and any team issues. You can also contact Shahe Momdjian (email: s.momdjian@unsw.edu.au) about accessing any of the Founders Program support available here: https://www.founders.unsw.edu.au/ 

Can exchange students participate?

Yes, all current UNSW students are welcome to apply online via RamenLife.

Can early research careers also attend the completion (graduated in PhD within the last 3 years)?

No, at least 1 current UNSW student must be on the team. However, it sounds like your startup would qualify for a lot of other support from the Founders Program at UNSW Entrepreneurship. Support is available for alumni startup founders up to 5 years out of graduation. Explore the support here and feel free to get in touch: https://www.founders.unsw.edu.au/