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 An application is considered active until the judges have made a decision about it or until it has been withdrawn by the applicant.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 25, 2024.

After reviewing the applications, the judges will select semi-finalists and invite them to submit complete business pitch decks by 12 noon on April 9, 2024.

Semi-finalists will be invited to make a 5-minute presentation to the judges on April 15, 2024.

Finalists will be selected from semi-finalists and invited to a 25-minute meeting with the judges on April 19, 2024.

See recommended guidelines for formatting business pitch decks.

2024 Judges

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.

Meaghan Krupa

Partner, Hinckley Allen

Meaghan Krupa

As a member of Hinckley Allen’s Corporate & Business group, Meaghan has represented businesses in a variety of corporate, capital market and commercial transactions, including mergers, stock and asset acquisitions, venture capital investments and public notes offerings. She routinely advises clients on a range of corporate, regulatory, contractual and governance matters and is a member of the Firm’s Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data Protection group.

Prior to joining Hinckley Allen, Meaghan was a corporate associate at a top international law firm where she represented companies, private equity firms and financial institutions in a variety of capital market transactions, including debt and equity offerings, exchange offers and initial public offerings. She served as a law clerk to the Honorable Sam Glasscock III on the Delaware Court of Chancery following her graduation from Duke University School of Law.

Anthony Mangiarelli

Partner, KLR

Mr. Mangiarelli joined KLR in 2000 and has spent a significant portion of his accounting career in the fields of manufacturing, professional services, construction, distribution and retirement plan auditing. He is responsible for all phases of audit planning, fieldwork, tax preparation assistance and financial statement preparation. Mr. Mangiarelli serves as Director of the Enterprise Solutions Group, Chair of the KLR Emerging and Startup Business Group and Chair of the Employee Benefit Audit Practice Group.

Anthony graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration with a concentration in accounting and then went on to gain his Master of Science in Taxation, earning both degrees from Bryant University. Prior to obtaining his degrees he worked with his parents in the family’s business. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), and the Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants (RISCPA). He has served on the Board of Directors and finance committee of the United Way of Rhode Island and is presently the Co-chair of the RI Business Plan Competition and serves on the Board of We Make RI. Anthony is the Chair of the RISCPA social activities committee and was named 40 under Forty in 2011 by the Providence Business News.

In the past, he has been an adjunct professor at Providence College and at the Alan Shawn Feinstein Graduate School at Johnson & Wales University. He has been a speaker for the National Business Institute and the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition. He has served as a committee member for the MS After Dark Fundraising events and volunteered for Labs4rescue, Bryant University’s alumni shadow program, and the United Way of Rhode Island Young Leaders circle. He is also an Eagle Scout of Troop 6 Cranston, RI.

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, 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.