Ole Cup

Ole Cup:  Saturday, April 29th, 2023

The Ole Cup is an annual student entrepreneurial pitch competition open to all St. Olaf students conceived by Brad Cleveland ‘82.  In its first five years, the Ole Cup helped launch successful businesses like JonnyPops, Teranga Strings, and the Ole Thrift Shop. The winner of the Ole Cup is awarded a $10,000 prize to help launch their business.


Ole Cup 2023 – Information & Requirements
  1. Any individual or group of First-Year, Sophomore, Junior, or Senior students enrolled at St. Olaf at the time of application.
  2. Applicants must be in good academic standing and have maintained professional conduct as a student.*
  3. At least one member on the team must be between the ages of 19-30 on April 23, 2023.
  4. The idea needs to be economically viable and it cannot violate or infringe on the copyright or intellectual property of another.

*Good academic standing means a minimum GPA of 2.0, not on academic probation or academically dismissed according to the Registrar’s Office. Professional conduct is vetted by the Dean of Students Office.

Ole Cup Timeline and deadlines

There are two major deadlines for Ole Cup:

  1. February 20, 2023 – Executive Summary
    The Executive Summary is a high-level description of your company (elevator pitch). It should be no longer than 100 words, and should include a basic description of your business idea, such as a problem statement and value proposition. Apply now!
  2. March 15, 2023 – Business Plan
    The Business Plan should be between 10-15 pages and include: an overview of your product idea/venture, market analysis, business model, marketing plan, team, operations plan, and basic financial information (include an estimate of start-up costs and 1-3 year financial projections). Apply now!
Preparation resources

View previous Ole Cup competitions, and learn more about past participants, including winners and judges: 2014201520162017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Use this tutorial on presentation fundamentals  and the Business Plan Basics template for additional guidance. More resources and Entrepreneurship workshop recordings are available here.

The winner of the Ole Cup automatically qualifies for the semi-final round of the Minnesota Cup student division where the winner (of the student division) is awarded $30,000, and can compete for the Minnesota Cup Grand Prize of $50,000.

The Ole Cup Social Impact winner automatically qualifies for the final round of the Fowler Global Social Innovation Challenge, where they will compete with teams from all over the globe for up to $50,000 in funding.

Sign up for coaching through Handshake.

2021 Ole Cup Prize Winners

First prize: $10,000 – Gro-Wall (Aidan Schoff, ’21)
Second prize: $5,000 – Pageio (Darlene Radichel, ’23)
Third prize: $3,000 – Joggr (Soua Yang, ’23 & Abdou Ghanim, ’23)
Social Impact prize: $5,000 – Sakha Sive, ’21 (Sivuse Mbingo, ’21)

Watch the 2021 event recording here.

If you have any questions, please contact Meghan McMillan at mcmill2@stolaf.edu