Rules and Judging Criteria

General Rules: Social Venture Competition
  1. 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. Video pitches are strictly limited to 5 minutes of recorded video. Teams are free to use presentation software 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.
  3. Teams are free to determine how many members will participate in delivering the pitch.
  4. 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.
  5. To eliminate the potential for judging bias, participants must avoid listing or disclosing the names of the schools they represent on their written submissions and during their pitches/presentations. The only allowable exception to this rule is a situation in which the school per se constitutes a critical element of the social venture. Questions about whether the school constitutes a critical element of the social venture should be directed to [email protected] prior to submission. Failure to abide by this non-­disclosure rule will result in a 25 point deduction from the team’s score.
  6. 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.
  7. Only social ventures 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.
  8. 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 [email protected]
  9. Disclaimers: The Diamond Challenge includes open session presentations and external review of social venture concept submissions. Participation is voluntary, and as such, participants are responsible for determining whether to disclose proprietary or sensitive information in their submissions and pitches/presentations. The University of Delaware and all other partnering organizations assume no liability for accidental or voluntary disclosures of proprietary information or intellectual property.
Guidelines for Submissions & Presentations: Social Venture

Written Concepts: 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.

Video pitches: Video pitches are strictly limited to 5 minutes of recorded video. Teams are free to use presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint) 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.

The best preliminary round social venture concept submissions will tell a compelling story that provides:

(1) a profile of the typical customer and/or beneficiary;

(2) a description of the customer’s and/ beneficiary’s problem or point of pain;

(3) the solution you will deliver to solve the customer’s problem;

(4) an answer to the question, “Why will customers/beneficiaries choose your solution over other solutions currently offered?” (i.e. what is your unique value proposition?);

(5) your plan for the sustainability of your proposed solution (describe the revenue model and what fixed and variable costs you expect, as well as how the solution will continue to be delivered and/or long-term impact);

(6) an overview of your team’s relevant experiences, skills, and resources;

(7) any evidence you’ve collected to validate your claims about the problem, customer, beneficiary, solution, unique value proposition, and sustainability model, and;

(8) plans for how the solution will continue to be delivered and the projected long-term impact.

Judging Process & Criteria: Social Venture Competition

All written business concepts and presentations (including responses to a question) will be judged based on an equal weighting of (1) social impact, and (2) feasibility and sustainability as well as taking “wow factor” into consideration.

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 and 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 and 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.

U.S. and Virtual Timeline

* Exact dates may vary depending on location. To visit a specfic country’s timeline, visit our International Sites page

September 1,
2016

Registration opens*

November 27,
2016

Registration closes*

January 15, 2017

Submission Deadline

Written submission for all participants; written AND video pitches for virtual participants.

January-March 2017

Preliminary Round Events*

Preliminary round events are hosted at regional/national sites; top teams are selected to advance to the semifinal round.

U.S. Pitch Locations

Philadelphia, PA: March 25, 2017, at1608 Walnut Street, 12th Floor, Philadelphia PA, 19103 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Wilmington, DE: March 24, 2017, at Delaware Technical Community College Stanton/George Campus, 300 N Orange St, Wilmington, DE 19801 from 8:30 AM to 2:00 PM

Danville, CAMarch 4, 2017 at the Athenian School, 2100 Mt Diablo Scenic Blvd, Danville, CA 94506 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

February 10,
2017

Virtual Track Semifinalists Announced

Three semifinalist teams are selected to travel to the University of Delaware in April.

April 6,
2017

Semifinal Round at the University of Delaware

Top teams compete in the semifinal round on the University of Delaware campus.

April 7,
2017

Final Round at the Youth Entrepreneurship Summit (YES!)

Finalist teams from each track (business and social) pitch as a featured portion of the 2017 summit.

Prizes

Each semifinalist team will receive a $1,000 prize award. Finalist teams will receive one of the top prizes listed below, which include additional funding for the social venture or as scholarships towards higher education.

Top Prize Awards

1

1st Place

A package worth over $11,000 in prizes, including:

A Microsoft Surface 3 and Type Cover for each team member

$1,000 tuition for Catapult* for each team member

Preferred Partner Fast-Track Application and Scholarship fund for Catapult*

Semifinalist award and any travel support awarded

2

2nd Place

A package worth over $7,000 in prizes, including:

$500 tuition for Catapult* for each team member

Preferred Partner Fast-Track Application and Scholarship fund for Catapult*

Semifinalist award and any travel support awarded

3

3rd Place

A package worth over $3,500 in prizes, including:

$250 tuition for Catapult* for each team member

Preferred Partner Fast-Track Application and Scholarship fund for Catapult*

Semifinalist award and any travel support awarded

*Catapult is a high school summer start up incubuator designed for entrepreneurs around the world.

Registration is open September 1-November 27, 2016 11:59PM EST

Register

Business Concept Competition

The Diamond Challenge offers two competitions – business concept and social venture. If your primary purpose is to generate revenue and profit, then the business concept competition may be the right one for you.

Learn More About the Business Concept Competition