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The Proving Ground 2016

Hello and welcome to the Proving Ground 2016, the University of South Carolina's signature entrepreneurial competition to identify and accelerate innovative business concepts with commercial potential. The Proving Ground is a three-month, three-round, points-based competition culminating with a live pitch event on November 17.

If you have not logged in before, please click the LOG IN/REGISTER button and follow the instructions. If you have already registered, please log in using your email address and password.


Complete information about The Proving Ground can be found at the competition web site, http://www.uscprovingground.com.

Each team will be required to submit a business plan for their concept, and the team left standing in each category wins. All submissions must survive the three round elimination process to make it to the prize money awarded at the conclusion of the live pitch event.


2016 Proving Ground Categories

The concepts submitted may be for any business and any industry, ideally addressing an unmet need or solving an existing problem. Do you have an idea for a new app? Do you have an innovative restaurant or retail concept? Do you have a new way to deliver a recognized service? Do you have a product or service to create a market that does not exist today? Any and all of these ideas would be applicable to the Maxient Innovation category or the Avenir Discovery category.

Avenir Discovery

This category is open to University of South Carolina undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni from the past five years (since May 2011).

Maxient Innovation

This category is only open to University of South Carolina undergraduates.

SCRA Fan Favorite

The two highest scoring teams that do not make it into the finals will go head-to-head for this category. The winner will be decided live by the audience on November 17!


Important Dates:

  • September 12- Official Launch of The Proving Ground
  • September 21 at 7 p.m.- Information Session and Idea Evaluation, Leadership and Service Center (Russell House)
  • September 28 at 7 p.m. - Information Session and Idea Evaluation, room 129, Darla Moore School of Business
  • October 29 at noon - Deadline for registration and business plan submission 
  • October 29 - November 3 - First round of judging
  • November 4 - November 10 - Second round of judging
  • November 14 - Information session for finalists (required)
  • November 15 - Dress Rehearsal (required)
  • November 17 - Finalist pitch competition

The deadline for submitting your completed business plan is October 28 at 5:00 p.m. Plans uploaded before that date may be amended up until that time.  The plan is uploaded in the Competition Questions section of this web site.

If you have questions, please contact Dean Kress, Competition Administrator at kress@sc.edu.


Disclaimer: All decisions and/or changes regarding the competition rules, procedures, and processes are at the sole discretion of the managing committee of the entrepreneurship competition. Changes and/or interpretations of these rules may be made by the committee at any time, even though they may be (or may appear to be) in conflict with some previously published information. The decision to award (or not to award) winners in all categories is at the sole discretion of the judges of the competition.

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