Overview

Participants in the Diamond Challenge prepare and submit written concepts for new businesses and social ventures. They also prepare and deliver 5-minute pitches. Each written submission and pitch is evaluated by multiple judges to provide a reliable and valid assessment.

Entrepreneurs, business professionals, university students, and community leaders are invited to serve as judges. Most judging can be completed remotely via the Diamond Challenge competition portal. A total time commitment of 2-4 hours is generally required. Companies and organizations are invited to offer judging as a volunteer opportunity for large groups of associates.

To begin the process of becoming a judge, please complete and submit the form below. You will then be contacted by a Diamond Challenge representative to provide additional information pertaining to your background, interests and availability.

View the Judging Overview Packet

Rules and Judging Criteria

General Rules
  1. Business concept and social venture written submissions are strictly limited to 5 pages, not including a cover page. If a submission exceeds this limit, only its first 5 pages will be evaluated. Submission must maintain 1-­inch (2.54 cm) margins and use 12-­point font.
  2. Presentations will be strictly limited to 5 minutes. Teams are free to use presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint and Keynote) as well as display boards, prototypes, and anything else they believe will enhance the impact of their presentations. They are also free to determine how many members will participate in the presentation. Responses to the question will be strictly limited to 3 minutes.
  3. To eliminate the potential for judging bias, teams will be assigned a registration number, which should be listed on the cover page for the written submission and the first slide of the presentation. Participants must avoid listing or disclosing the names of the schools they represent on their written submissions and during their presentations unless the school per se constitutes a critical element of their business concept. Questions about whether the school constitutes a critical element of the business concept should be directed to info@diamondchallenge.org prior to submission. Failure to abide by this non-­disclosure rule will result in a deduction from the team’s score.
  4. Teams must be comprised of 2-­4 high school students (9th – 12th grade/form) and one teacher or other adult advisor who is in a position to provide the opportunity to participate and is broadly available. All members of a team must be actively enrolled for the duration of the Challenge and in good academic standing at their school.
  5. Only concepts that have been conceived by the members of the team may be submitted to the Challenge. If a concept is being submitted that has been conceived also by members not participating in the Diamond Challenge, their names must be disclosed upon registration so as to avoid conflicts of interest among early-stage concepts. Businesses and social enterprises must not have generated more than $100,000 in total revenue prior to the submission deadline for the written concept.
  6. The Leadership Team for the Challenge shall be the arbiter of all rules and rule clarifications. The team reserves the right to disqualify any participants who violate these rules or the spirit of the competition. Rules questions and inquiries should be submitted to info@diamondchallenge.org

Disclaimers: The Diamond Challenge includes open session presentations and external review of business concept and social venture submissions. Participation is voluntary, and as such, participants are responsible for determining whether to disclose proprietary or sensitive information in their submissions and presentations. The University of Delaware and all other partnering organizations assume no liability for accidental or voluntary disclosures of proprietary information or intellectual property.

Video Rules

Virtual Track is an option for high students from all around the world who wish to participate in the competition but who don’t have a preliminary round in their country or region. The submission is required to follow the same rules mentioned above, in addition to the following:

  1. Video pitches are strictly limited to 5 minutes of recorded video. Teams are free to use their creativity: words, image, and sound as they see fit to best portray their concept. Teams are free to use presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote. However, final pitch decks must be in either PowerPoint or PDF format to ensure compatibility will all laptops) as well as display boards, prototypes, and anything else they’d like to include in their pitches. Teams are also free to use creativity in editing their video pitches by using images, sounds, motion graphics, etc.
  2. Teams are free to determine how many members will participate in delivering the pitch.
  3. During the final round, teams will give a “live” pitch to a panel of judges. Following the team’s 5-minute pitch, judges will have up to 3 minutes to ask questions about the team’s social venture. The question and answer session will be strictly limited to 3 minutes.
  4. The Horn Program in Entrepreneurship’s Director and Manager, Youth Programs shall comprise the rules committee for the Diamond Challenge and serve as the final arbiters of all rules and rule clarifications. The committee reserves the right to disqualify any participants who violate these rules or the spirit of the competition. Rules questions and inquiries should be submitted to info@diamondchallenge.org
Judging Criteria: Business Concept

All written business concepts and presentations (including responses to a question) will be judged based on an equal weighting of perceived feasibility and growth potential as well as taking “wow factor” into consideration.

Feasibility

Feasibility refers to the degree to which the concept can actually work as well as the team’s ability to execute the concept and establish a defensible position in the targeted market(s). Several issues can be expected to influence feasibility ratings, including:

  • To what extent are the customer segment(s) and their problem(s) identified and validated?
  • To what extent does the team’s proposed solution appear to solve the problem and deliver superior value in comparison to existing alternatives?
  • To what extent are the sales process and other business model components specified, validated and financially viable?
  • To what extent does the team possess the skills and resources needed to execute the model or appear likely to succeed in securing necessary talent and resources?
Growth potential

Growth potential refers to the likely ease with which the business can be scaled and the ultimate size (in terms of revenue and profitability) that the business may attain. Several issues can be expected to influence growth potential ratings, including:

  • How large is the served available market?
  • What share of the available market may ultimately be served by the business?
  • To what extent does the business possess an unfair advantage that will enable it to defend its position against emerging competition?
  • To what extent can the business model be quickly and efficiently scaled?
Wow Factor
  • Awarded for creativity, ingenuity, persistence, passion, storytelling and any other intangibles that are deemed likely to influence the feasibility and growth potential of the business.
Judging Criteria: Social Venture

Panels of judges will score all written social venture concepts and video pitch presentations on two criteria: (1) social impact, and (2) feasibility & sustainability. Semi-finalists will be determined by averaging judges’ scores and equally weighting these criteria. Selection of the three finalist teams will involve a third factor – audience vote. Scores for the audience vote factor will be a function of the total number of votes/likes received for each semi-finalist video pitch while it is posted on the Diamond Challenge website for public viewing. Finalists will be determined by adding the social impact, feasibility & sustainability and audience vote scores, thereby giving equal weighting to each of these factors. 

Social Impact

Social impact refers to the extent to which an organization’s actions have a positive effect on beneficiaries and the surrounding community or environment. Several issues can be expected to influence social impact scores, including:

  • To what extent does the team demonstrate a rich understanding of the problem(s), and that it is informed by direct engagement with beneficiaries, payers/customers and others?
  • To what extent does the team’s proposed solution appear to solve the problem and deliver superior value (to beneficiaries and payers/customers) in comparison to existing alternatives?
  • To what extent are other business/social impact model components, especially the beneficiary engagement and selling process, specified, validated and financially viable?
  • To what extent does the team possess the skills and resources needed to execute their business/social impact model or appear likely to succeed in securing necessary talent and resources?

Feasibility & Sustainability

Feasibility refers to the degree to which the concept can actually work as well as the team’s ability to execute the concept and establish a defensible position in the targeted market(s).

Sustainability refers to “the extent to which the venture’s revenues can be expected to be sufficient to maintain or expand operations and continue to deliver positive social impact for the foreseeable future.” Several issues can be expected to influence feasibility & sustainability ratings, including:

  • How many people and communities are affected by the problem(s) and how severe are the adverse impacts? (i.e. How big is the “market” of beneficiaries, payers/customers and how bad is the problem if not solved?)
  • How many people and communities may ultimately be served by the social venture and how much will they benefit?
  • Does the venture deliver unique, meaningful benefits – both immediate and longer-term – to people and communities in a way that cannot be easily copied?
  • To what extent is the solution scalable and cost effective?

Wow Factor

  • Awarded for creativity, ingenuity, persistence, passion, storytelling and any other intangibles that are deemed likely to influence the feasibility and potential of the venture.

Become a Judge

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