Judging Criteria

  1. All judges will receive and review all information submitted in connection with each application to the Competition.
  2. The judges will rely on the following criteria in judging the Competition:
    • The commercial potential of the business, with high-potential, growth oriented businesses likely to be viewed more favorably.
    • The innovative nature and technical feasibility of the idea.
    • The likelihood that the business described in the pitch deck can achieve a sustainable, competitive advantage.
    • The credibility of the individuals behind the proposal.
  3. All business pitch decks will be treated the same way and judging criteria will be applied equally to all pitch decks.
  4. The judges may disqualify any application they believe violates the letter or spirit of the Competition guidelines.
  5. The judges will not sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in connection with performing their duties for the Competition. It is the applicants’ responsibility to protect their intellectual property. See Protection of Intellectual Property section on our resources page.
  6. Conflict of Interest Policy: Judges agree not to initiate a professional relationship with individuals who have an active application before the Competition. Judges will recuse themselves from discussion about and voting on an applicant to the Competition if the judge has an existing personal or business relationship with the applicant. An application is considered active until the judges have made a decision about it or until it has been withdrawn by the applicant.
  7. The decision of the judges is final, including interpretation of the rules.

Learn about previous Rhode Island Business Competition winners.

What Judges Look For In a Business Pitch Deck

What Judges Look for in a Business Pitch Deck

All good business pitch decks convey a sound business idea. The actual pitch deck can do a lot to help you secure financing, because, when well done, it demonstrates that you have considered the relevant key variables that are important to the success of the idea.

Judges in the Rhode Island Business Competition will be looking for the following:

Viability Is the opportunity reasonable and supported by a sound execution strategy?
Realism Have the assumptions behind the business pitch deck been tested in the market to determine the need for the solution being proposed? Does the pitch deck allow for contingencies?
Competitiveness Have you identified competitors and enumerated your
competitive advantages? Can the business successfully resist competitive pressures?
Maturity Do the business pitch deck authors understand the nature of the
business they are proposing, and are their assumptions, projections, and solutions realistic?
Experience Does the applicant have a management team, or can it assemble one, that has the breadth and depth of experience required to make the plan a success?
Dedication How has the team evidenced the tenacity required to launch and grow a business?

In addition to the above, attention to the following nuts and bolts will help:

Writing style Write for the educated, intelligent layman and avoid jargon. Include a glossary, if needed, for easy reference.
Graphics Graphics should help tell a story. Use them where they make sense.
Edit and re-edit Before submitting your business pitch deck, run it by people who will
give you an honest assessment — about your idea and how it is presented. Typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors should be avoided at all costs.

Read more on preparing your business pitch deck.

Judging Schedule

To participate in the Rhode Island Business Competition, applicants must complete and submit an online application by 5 p.m. Eastern time on March 27, 2023.

After reviewing the applications, the judges will select semi-finalists and invite them to submit complete business pitch decks by 12 noon on April 11, 2023.

Semi-finalists will be invited to make a 5-minute presentation to the judges on April 20, 2023.

Finalists will be selected from semi-finalists and invited to a 25-minute meeting with the judges on April 25, 2023.

See recommended guidelines for formatting business pitch decks.

2023 Judges

Kim Anderson

Socially Responsible Entrepreneur; Impact Investor; Owner, Plant City

Kim Anderson

Kim has been a successful retailer and business leader for more than 30 years, starting in the management and buying departments of Jordan Marsh and Macy’s. She is former owner of the home store Teapots & Tassels, Co., where she was awarded “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 1991 by SBA and “Citizen of the Year Award” in 2005 for her Hurricane Katrina relief efforts by Chamber of Commerce. In 2010 she co-founded, with her 15-year-old daughter, Ava Anderson Non Toxic, the safest full line of personal care and home cleaning products, sold via direct sales. With the support of 20,000 independent sales representatives, the business educated millions of American families about the dangers of harmful chemicals in conventional products for humans and the environment. In 6 years it reached a $60M run rate, was honored by Inc. Magazine, Fortune and Entrepreneur, and was acquired in August 2016. Kim is a board member of Social Enterprise Greenhouse.

Bob Chatham

Director, Slater Technology Fund

Bob Chatham

Bob has been a founder or early employee of nine technology companies, four of which have gone public or been acquired (he learned a lot from the other five). His sales and marketing experience in growing technology companies began at Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN), where he worked on software for R&D, clinical trials, and parallel computing, followed by startups in software tools; financial services (Andera, which was acquired by Bottomline Technologies NASDAQ: EPAY); online advertising and analytics (Visual Sciences NASDAQ: VSCN, acquired by Adobe); and energy (VCharge, acquired by OVO Energy). Bob also served as an industry analyst at Forrester Research, where he covered sales and marketing software and customer experience, authoring over 250 pieces and advising Fortune 500 companies. He was chief marketing officer at four of his firms and loves a good data set, regularly diving into Excel on behalf of prospective Slater portfolio companies. Bob grew up in Europe, Africa, and Asia, and earned a B.A. in Computer Science from Colgate University.

Margaret Farrell

Partner, Hinckley Allen

Peggy focuses her practice in the area of corporate and securities law with extensive experience in organization, acquisitions, sales, mergers, recapitalizations and other reorganizations of both publicly and privately-held corporations, partnerships and limited liabilities companies, and in personal and business tax planning. She has extensive experience in handling equity and debt securities offerings, both fully registered public offerings and exempt private placements and venture capital financings, ongoing SEC regulatory compliance and reporting, and investment company, investment adviser and broker-dealer registration and regulation. Peggy has in-depth knowledge of financial institution regulation and has experience in computer and other high technology law, including software licensing and copyright and trademark protection.

Katharine Flynn

Executive Director, University of Rhode Island Business Engagement Center

Katharine was named to lead the URI Business Engagement Center in 2013 while continuing to serve as executive director of corporate and foundation relations for the University of Rhode Island. She also spends part of her time working for the Governor of Rhode Island's Executive Office of Commerce. Before joining URI in 2012, she was director of business development for the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation for eight years. Katharine has extensive experience evaluating and coaching emerging businesses and has been actively involved with the RI Business Plan Competition for nearly 10 years. She earned a bachelor's degree in mathematical economics from Brown University.

Steven Hughes

Director of Sales, Northeast Region, Cox Business

Steven Hughes

Steven is currently the Director of Sales for the Northeast Region for Cox Business where he has been employed since 2005. Prior to this role, he has held several sales positions working for Cogent, Dialout, and Teligent. He serves on the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Rhode Island.

Anthony Mangiarelli

Partner, KLR

With more than 15 years of public accounting experience, Anthony has worked with clients in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, professional services, distribution, and employee benefit plans and chair’s KLR’s Emerging and Start Up Business Services Group. Named to the Providence Business News 2011 class of “Forty under 40,” he frequently speaks at business forums across southern New England, Anthony is a member of Betaspring and the Cambridge Innovation Center, and serves on the United Way of Rhode Island Finance Committee and as an advisory board member of Community College of Rhode Island. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and a Master of Science in Taxation degree, both from Bryant University.

Aidan Petrie

Founding Partner, NEMIC

Aidan Petrie

Aidan is a founding Partner and Managing Partner of New England Medical Innovation Center and a Fellow of the Provost at Rhode Island School of Design focused on intersections between user-centered design and healthcare. He is a member of Cherrystone Angels and a mentor and adviser to many startups.
Aidan's passion for innovation and design has helped bring hundreds of products to market that range from simple drug compliance aids to wearable therapeutics and from home monitoring products to complex surgical systems. Aidan was the founding partner of Ximedica, one of the world’s leading medical device developers. Ximedica integrates regulated devices with connected systems to provide the next generation of healthcare solutions. Aidan remains the Chief Innovation Officer Emeritus and holds over 100 patents.

Jennifer Rousseau

Director of Strategic Initiatives at Delta Dental of Rhode Island

Jennifer Rousseau

Jennifer is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at Delta Dental of Rhode Island and manages the corporate venture initiatives for the company and its sister companies. She analyzes emerging industry trends and recommends expansion opportunities, partnerships, and business process improvement. Prior to joining the team, Jennifer was the Executive Director of Cherrystone Angel Group and remains on its Steering Committee. She also serves on several boards including the RI Business Competition and the Chamber's Innovation Providence, while also mentoring for the MassChallenge and Social Enterprise Greenhouse programs. Jennifer graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bryant University with a B.S. in Finance and a minor in Legal Studies. She received the Delta Sigma Pi Scholarship Key, awarded to the graduating senior with the highest cumulative academic average, as well as the Jack H. Rubens Leadership in Finance Award.

Annette Tonti

Managing Director, RIHub

Annette Tonti

Annette is Managing Director of RIHub, Rhode Island’s Innovation Hub. Over the past 20 years she has founded 3 high-tech startups and raised over $30M from Venture and Angels in our region. She is a pioneer in the online advertising and mobile markets. Early in her career she worked with Fortune 1000 businesses, ran a global program for the MIT Media Labs and headed up operations for a global telecommunications consultancy. She is a recognized leader at the intersection of technology and business model possibilities. Her strengths include customer growth, online advertising and marketing, leveraging emerging technology for new product development, and Software as a Service (SaaS) innovations.