Youth Network for Reform
The Diamond Challenge has established a new partnership with Youth Network for Reform (YONER-LIBERIA) in Paynesville, Liberia for the Diamond Challenge 2018. Each year, more schools and students participate, and we are hoping 2018 will yield the highest amount of participants yet with the new addition of Youth Network for Reform (YONER-LIBERIA).
Youth Network for Reform (YONER-LIBERA), a Legal Youth Development Organization in Liberia, was established principally to reunite communities and civil war enemies by providing basic services to support child soldiers and child victims of the war who had turned youth, aimed at healing the wounds created by the long 14 years civil war through development and empowerment programs to have them reintegrated into the society as useful and productive citizens. Over the nine years, the organization has held true to its foundation a Mission to undertake actions that nurture and build honest and able leaders to become self-reliant and agents of positive change within their communities. YONER-LIBERIA envisions a just and developed society where all children and youth will live freely and receive support and opportunities to realize their full potential without any form of discrimination.
YONER-LIBERIA’s strategic plan is based on both non-profit and for-profit programs: Giving Back to Our Community Action Initiative and Entrepreneurship Education Initiative. Both programs have been geared towards community development and youth development as well as preparing young Liberian entrepreneurs to drive the next course of Liberia’s growth and development through entrepreneurship and innovation – a global trend for advancement. Currently, the organization is the Lead Organizer of the US Department of State’s GIST Techconnect Viewing Group Event in Liberia, and working towards the establishment of the first “GIST Innovation Hub” in Iberia. Furthermore, the Organization is the “Official Pitch Site Partner of Horn Entrepreneurship’s Diamond Challenge for High School Students” in Liberia, and currently implementing the first Diamond Challenge in Liberia.
BUSINESS CONCEPT LIVE IN PAYNESVILLE, LIBERIA
Live Pitching Event Date
Live National Pitch Event
U.S. Embassy near Monrovia, Benson Street, Central Monrovia, Liberia
Monrovia Vocational & Technical Training Center (MVTC)
72nd Paynesville City, Montserrado County, Liberia, West Africa
All semifinalist teams will receive cash prize awards and an invitation to travel to the University of Delaware to compete in the semifinal round. Top prizes include additional funding that may be used to support the team’s venture or serve as a scholarship for higher education.
Top Prize Awards
A package worth over $11,000 in prizes, including semifinalist award and any travel support awarded
A package worth over $7,000 in prizes, including semifinalist award and any travel support awarded
A package worth over $3,500 in prizes, including semifinalist award and any travel support awarded
Rules and Judging Criteria
Student and Team Requirements
- Teams must be comprised of 2-4 high school students typically between the ages 14-18 (9th – 12th grade/form).
- Teams require one teacher or other adult advisor (18 years of age or older) who is in a position to provide the opportunity to participate and is broadly available for support. You may have more than one team advisor, however, only two hotel rooms will be reserved for the team (which includes the team advisor(s)) if they are traveling to the University of Delaware for The Summit.
- All members of a team must be actively enrolled for the duration of the Diamond Challenge and in good academic standing at their school.
- A student is eligible to submit one concept with a team per competition season.
- Team members do NOT need to be from the same school or location in order to participate.
- Only concepts that have been conceived by the members of the team may be submitted to the Diamond Challenge. If a submitted concept has also been conceived by members not participating in the Diamond Challenge, their full legal 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, pitch deck, and pitch video.
- All information submitted through the Diamond Challenge registration portal must be submitted in English.
- Each team member and advisor email address submitted through the Diamond Challenge registration portal must be a different email address. The submission will not render correctly unless all individuals have a unique and different email address.
- Business concept and social innovation written concept 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. Submissions must maintain 1-inch (2.54 cm) margins and use 12-point font. All written concepts must be formatted as a csv, doc, docx, or pdf file.
- Pitch decks must be no more than 15 slides in length, with a recommendation of 10 slides. All pitch decks must be formatted as a pdf, ppt, or pptx file.
- To eliminate the potential for judging bias, teams will be assigned a submission number, which should be listed on the cover page for the written submission and the first slide of the pitch deck 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 constitutes it as a critical element of their concept. Questions about whether the school constitutes disclosing the school name as a critical element of the concept should be directed to [email protected] prior to submission. Failure to abide by this non-disclosure rule will result in a deduction from the team’s score.
Competing Virtually: Video Rules
Competing virtually is an option for high school students from all around the world who wish to participate in the competition but don’t have a business concept and/or social innovation preliminary round event in their country or region. The submission is required to follow the same rules mentioned above, in addition to the following items:
- Recorded video pitches are strictly limited to 5 minutes of recorded video. Teams are free to use their creativity as they see fit to best portray their concept, which includes presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote), as well as display boards, prototypes, images, sounds, motion graphics, etc. All video pitches must be formatted as an mov, mp4, or mpg file.
- The recorded video must be a recording of team members pitching their concept.
- Teams are free to decide which members present.
- All team members must be visible from at least the waist up in the recorded video.
- Teams should consider making sure the pitch deck slides are visible in the video pitch recording. This task can be accomplished through a screen share or other technical means.
Competing Live: Pitch Rules
Competing live is an option for high school students from all around the world who wish to participate in the competition and have a business concept and/or social innovation preliminary round in their country or region. The submission is required to follow the same rules mentioned above, in addition to the following items:
- Pitches are strictly limited to 5 minutes. Teams are free to use their creativity as they see fit to best portray their concept, which includes presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint, Keynote), as well as display boards, prototypes, images, sounds, motion graphics, etc.
- Teams are free to decide which members present.
- Responses to the judges question(s) will be strictly limited to 3 minutes.
- Disclaimer: If you are invited to pitch live, and if you choose to use video/audio in your live pitch, not every pitch site will have the ability to project sound. Not all aspects of your presentation may be available to viewers as a result.
Judging Criteria: Business Concept
All written business concepts, pitch decks, and presentations (including responses to question(s)) will be judged based on an equal weighting of perceived feasibility and growth potential as well as taking “wow factor” into consideration.
Semi-finalists will be determined by averaging judges’ scores and equally weighting these criteria. Finalists will be determined by adding the feasibility, growth potential, and “wow factor” scores, thereby giving equal weighting to each of these factors.
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 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?
- 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 Innovation
All written social innovation concepts, pitch decks, and presentations (including responses to question(s)) will be judged based on an equal weighting of perceived social impact, feasibility, sustainability, and taking “wow factor” into consideration.
Semi-finalists will be determined by averaging judges’ scores and equally weighting these criteria. Finalists will be determined by adding the social impact, feasibility, and sustainability scores, thereby giving equal weighting to each of these factors.
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:
- 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?
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:
- 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 innovation and how much will they benefit?
- Does the social innovation 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?
- Awarded for creativity, ingenuity, persistence, passion, storytelling and any other intangibles that are deemed likely to influence the feasibility and potential of the social innovation.
- The Diamond Challenge includes open session presentations and external review of business concept and social innovation 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.
- Incomplete submissions and/or submissions that do not adhere to Diamond Challenge rules, judging criteria, and terms and conditions will not be judged or considered.
- Not all students are guaranteed to pitch live or qualify for succeeding rounds beyond the submission round.
- If invited to a succeeding round, you are not guaranteed the pitch site location you select. There may be times where invited participants are asked to pitch at another nearby location.
- If you are invited to pitch live in the preliminary round, semifinal round, or final round, and if you choose to use video/audio in your live pitch, not every venue will have the ability to project sound. Not all aspects of your presentation may be available to viewers as a result.
- The Leadership Team for the Diamond 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. Rule questions and inquiries should be submitted to [email protected]
Emmaline S. Wilson
Mongai S. Gussin
Partners and Sponsors
For the implementation of “Horn Entrepreneurship’s Diamond Challenge pitch site for high school students” in Liberia, YONER-LIBERIA is partnering with the United States Embassy-Monrovia to focus on seven of the UN SDG goals: to include zero hunger, quality education, good health & well-being, industry, innovation & infrastructure, affordable & clean energy, clean water & sanitation & peace, justice & strong institutions in order to solve some of the major challenges in Liberia through a sustainable business model.
Nationally styled, “Liberia’s First High School Entrepreneurship Competiton-2018”, is an Entrepreneurship Competition for high school students in Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia, and has brought together 40 students, forming 20 Teams from 10 high schools within Paynesville, Monrovia, Brewerville, and Gardnerville cities. The project is supported and funded by the U.S. Embassy, Monrovia, the University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship Program, Ministry of Youth & Sports, R/L, the Liberia Broadcasting System, TAMMA Corps and REOCOMM Groups.