MRD Consulting Christmas Scholarship Contest


Total Scholarship Award: $2,000 

Award Breakdown: $1,000 to a current Delano High School student (ages 16 to 18); and $1,000 to a DHS alum up to age 25 and currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program.

Contest Format: Contestants will be required to write a business plan and submit the plan in PDF format to the MRD Consulting website by 11:59 p.m., December 31st, 2020.   Contestants will receive an e-mail confirming receipt of the entry.

Business Plan Purpose and Format: There are several objectives that MRD Consulting wishes to achieve with this Business Plan Scholarship Contest. 

Overall Purpose

  1. Entrepreneurial Spirit – We want to foster an entrepreneurial spirit amongst aspiring young business minds in the community.  Writing a business plan forces one to contemplate what it takes to own and operate a business.  It causes a person to reduce to writing their dreams and visions of a successful business.  It inspires young minds to want to innovate and create the next great “thing”, the “it”, the “trend.”
  2.  See the Business World in a New Light – When the Contest is complete, we want the contestants to view the business world around them with a new light.  We want them to think about what challenges local businesses are facing and how they might be overcoming those challenges.  We want them to view the products they buy with an eye towards how that product might be improved or how the company might market that product differently to reach a more lucrative audience.
  3.  Perpetual Business Plan – Matt Daly, the owner of MRD Consulting, has owned and operated over two dozen businesses over 2 decades.  The one conclusion that he has drawn is that a business plan never stops evolving.  After the initial plan is formulated, it must be revised, adjusted and reformatted every year.  In order to survive, a business must have a perpetual business plan that adapts to change and seizes new opportunities.


  1. The Business – This is where we want you to have fun!  The business can be something you’ve always dreamed about doing (opening a restaurant or coffee shop, launching a new invention, operating a children’s medical clinic in a third world country, rolling out a new clothing line, developing a mobile app that changes how we interact with each other, building a solar powered whatever, or drone based something or other, the first hotel on the moon!!!….you get the picture.  The business can also be something closer to home such as an off-shoot of the family business like a building contractor, plumbing or electrical business, horse ranch, day care, organic food supply company, family farm.  The point is you can be as practical or as outlier creative as you wish.

  • Key Areas to Cover – while you don’t have to stick to any rigid, published business plan format there are certain areas we would like you to cover such as: a.) Executive summary – in a page or less, summarize the rest of the body of the business plan (the product/service, the business owners and operators, the market for your product and how you intend on capturing it, how much it will cost to start your business, and how much money the business will make) b.) Market – describe the nature and size of the market for your product, who your competitors are and how you will out-maneuver them for customers c.) Management Team – what skills do you and your management team bring to the company, why should the reader believe you’ll be a successful operator? d.) Strategy and Implementation – how will you promote your product (fb, twitter, influencer, Amazon,…), how will you make your product and source your raw materials or coders….? e.) Financial – how much money will you need to start your business and what will you spend it on, how much revenue and profit will you make, how do you plan on funding the start-up (i.e. investment from family and friends, public stock offering, loan from a bank, shady guy in the alleyway????).  The Nov 5th blog  article on the MRD Consulting website on Business Plans provides some background on writing a business plan document.
    1. The Business Plan Document – The overall format and document type is fairly wide open.  Ultimately it needs to be saved in a 5 page or less PDF to be e-mailed before the deadline.  Pictures, charts and graphs strategically placed throughout the document are recommended.  Some ideas include showing a rendering of the product or service, a 5 year revenue graph, images of an imagined factory floor or patented device, an influencer wearing your “got to have it” custom jeans…  The original format can be Word or PPT, it can be single or double spaced.
    2. Judging Criteria – We do not expect or anticipate a professionally produced business plan with complex return on investment calculations or algorithmic market data.  This document will be judged on Creativity first and foremost: how do you plan on using modern technological tools to create awareness and efficiency in your business (i.e. a video blog or YouTube channel with X number of followers demonstrating your product or service, social medial influencers flashing your product to thousands/millions that become partners in your business, donating X percent of your profits to a worthwhile cause that will attract significant attention on social media).  What technology will you leverage to make your product cheaper, deliver it faster or make it more valuable to your customers….?  How about a stadium vendor that delivers hot dogs via drones to your seat at the Twins Games….? An app that can translate dog barking into Russian?  We also want to see that you are Passionate about your business and can demonstrate how your product or service will stand out from the crowd (the best tasting coffee in town, the most innovate electric/hydrogen/wind powered bicycle ever, the finest custom home builder in the state, …). Of course grammar, spelling, syntax and all that good stuff will come into play.  We want to have fun reading about your business and the effort you’ve put into this.  Remember, whether you win this contest or not, this business plan may be the first step towards owning your own business and conquering the world someday.
    3. Fairness and Honesty – Asking for help from teachers, professors, and student aides is ok.  Having your parents, older siblings, or Harvard MBA next door neighbor write this business plan for you is not ok.  Feel free to bounce ideas off of friends and family members but having them write sections of the business plan is not allowed.  Cite your sources when doing research on the product and market.  Most of all have fun and use your imagination.
    4. Award Process – Winners will be announced on the MRD Consulting website on January 10th   and in the Delano Herald Journal on January 15th.  Scholarship checks can be picked up at the MRD Consulting office in downtown Delano.
    5. World Wide Acclaim – Your business plan will also be published on the MRD Consulting website.
  • Your Future – As a person that has hired hundreds of people over the years, I always look for energy, passion, and creativity in the young professionals I would hire.  Use this exercise to show a prospective employer why they should give you an internship.  Crash their doors open with your mind-blowing business plan.  Good luck and Godspeed!


Christmas Scholarship Submission Form

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