Frequently Asked Questions – 2023-2024

What is the Lowell Milken Institute-Sandler Prize For New Entrepreneurs?
The Lowell Milken Institute-Sandler Prize for New Entrepreneurs is a Team Business Plan competition. Each member of the first place team receives $4,000, each member of the second place team receives $2,000, and each member of the winning “New Venture” category team receives $2,500. The competition is exclusively for UCLA students.

Where can I find the Rules?
The Rules are available on the Lowell Milken Institute website.

Who is eligible to compete?
This is a Team competition. Each Team must consist of two to six persons who are Eligible UCLA Team Members and at least one of whom is an Eligible Law Student. Teams of three people or fewer must have at least one Eligible Law Student, and teams of four or more must have at least two Eligible Law Students.

An Eligible UCLA Team Member is a person enrolled at UCLA as a full-time undergraduate or graduate student (including a student in the professional schools) and who is in good standing with his or her school at UCLA.

An Eligible Law Student is: (a) a second or third-year student, currently enrolled in UCLA School of Law, in good standing, and eligible to graduate with a J.D. degree, an LLM degree or S.J.D. degree in May 2023 or May 2024; or (b) a graduate of UCLA School of Law who was awarded a J.D. degree, an LLM degree or S.J.D. degree in 2023. Persons who are not enrolled full-time students at UCLA cannot be on a Team unless they qualify as an Eligible Law Student.

The eligibility requirements will be strictly enforced and Teams will have to make affirmative representations regarding their eligibility.  Any Team found to have members who are not eligible will be disqualified from the competition.

Can I compete if I have already started a business?
Yes.  This Business Plan competition is for a “Startup Business” defined as
i. An existing business or a proposed business that the Team intends to build in 2024;
ii. The business can be for-profit, not-for-profit or public benefit;
iii. The business is in seed or startup stages; it cannot be venture-backed, although friends and family funding is acceptable.

What kinds of business ideas are eligible?
Any type of business idea is eligible including social entrepreneurship. The judges are interested in a business that solves a problem and that is feasible and attractive to investors as well as a Team that demonstrates that the business can be viable and grow. The business can be for-profit, not-for-profit, or public benefit. It can address a social ill or a consumer need or anything else that the Team believes solves a problem.

What is the New Venture category?
New Venture category is for a new venture that was specifically created for this competition, has not operated prior to this competition, and has not won any award in any entrepreneurship competition prior to the date of the Final Round of the Lowell Milken Institute-Sandler Prize competition.

Are there restrictions on how I can use the prize money?
Prize winners may use the prize money as they wish and are not required to apply the winnings to the venture.

How can I find team members?
The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy will hold meetups during Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. The meetups will be open to UCLA students from the college or any of the graduate schools. The first meetup will take place in mid-October and the exact date, time and place will be advertised.

In addition, UCLA has a very robust entrepreneurship community including student organizations at the college and every graduate school with students interested in entrepreneurship.  A list of those organizations is available on the Lowell Milken Institute’s resource page.

UCLA’s many entrepreneurship organizations regularly hold functions in which potential team members may attend. We recommend that you visit for notice of events.

The Lowell Milken Institute-Sandler Prize for New Entrepreneurs’ website also will permit you to put information about your Team and specific needs on a job board.

I am a law student; what role can I have in creating a new venture?
Lawyers often play a significant role in creating a new venture. Sometimes lawyers are the originators of the idea for the venture.  Lawyers also play an important role in forming the entity; analyzing legal, regulatory and operational risks; and developing term sheets for investment. As part of this competition, law students will be provided instruction relating to these important tasks so that the team can benefit from the law student’s knowledge and expertise.

What resources are available to assist me and my team?
There are many resources available.

UCLA has a number of resources available to its students on entrepreneurship, venture initiation and business plan development.  There are many classes offered throughout the campus, including at the Business School, the Engineering School and the undergraduate college.  The Law School has several courses for law students that look at issues surrounding startups including:

Law 391: Venture Capital and the Start-Up Company
Law 446: Entrepreneurship and Venture Initiation
Law 759: Transactional Skills – Lifecycle of a Corporation

UCLA has free resources available to student entrepreneurs. A list of some of UCLA’s resources is available on the Lowell Milken Institute’s website.

The UCLA Blackstone Launchpad has collected a large number of resources, including guidance on how to write a business plan.

Once a Team registers for the competition, it will be assigned mentors who can assist the Team with preparing a business plan and a presentation.  The Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy will assign the mentors to the Teams in the order that the Teams register, so the earlier a Team registers, the earlier it will be assigned a mentor.  The mentors are lawyers, entrepreneurs and investors who work in entrepreneurship and with startups.  The rules governing mentors will be distributed at the time the Team registers.

How will the competition be conducted?
The judges will review each Business Plan submitted by the deadline of Friday, March 22, 2024.  Based upon their review of the Business Plans, the judges will decide which Teams should be invited to compete in the Public Round. In the Public Round, each invited Team will make a presentation to the judges and be available to answer questions from the judges.  The Eligible Law Student must be one of the lead presenters for the Team but need not be the sole presenter.  The Public Round will be open to members of the UCLA community and the public.

Who are the judges?
The judges may include entrepreneurs, investors, lawyers, business people, academics and others.

Can non-UCLA students be on the Team?
No, with one exception: A person who was awarded a J.D. degree, an LLM degree or an S.J.D. degree by UCLA School of Law in 2023 is eligible.

What are the deadlines?
Team registration opens on Friday, October 13, 2023 and closes on Friday, February 9, 2024. The Business Plan must be submitted no later than Friday, March 24, 2023.

Where can I find out more information about the competition?
You may contact Joel Feuer, the Executive Director of the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy at UCLA School of Law, at