“3×3” Idea Pitch and Learn Competition!

  • $333 First Place Awards
  • 333 Seconds (90 seconds to pitch; 243 seconds — 4 minutes — for Q & A)
  • 3 Slides


Fathom 3

HEI sponsors a “3×3” idea pitch and learn competition, a sales pitch and learn experience and a  “7×7” investor pitch and learn competition.

Why do we call this a 3×3?

  • $333 1st place award
  • 333 Seconds (90 seconds to pitch; 243 seconds — 4 minutes — for Q & A)
  • 3 slides:
    • Customer and Problem
    • Solution and Unique Value Proposition
    • Validation (Market Desirability, Technical Feasibility, Business Viability [includeds Scalability])

While there is prize money available (at least $333 in each division), it is the experience that is most valuable to the students.  While we seek to judge the students’ ideas and give feedback on their presentations, the ultimate goal is to help students discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling.  Judges play a critical role in creating this value.


The CFL Incubator Idea Pitch and Learn is placed within a student’s semester-long inductive learning experience in LDRS 231.  LDRS 231 is a course built to engage students in the first two of the The Four Steps to the Epiphany.  The first two steps are Customer Discovery and Customer Validation.

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

At this stage in their journey students are engaged in Customer Discovery.  Here students are looking for advisers and feedback on their ideas.  Therefore you, as judges, are playing the role of potential advisers.

Later in their journey (semester) students will be pitching their solutions to a small group of judges playing the role of potential customers to get their feedback.  This is the HEI Sales Pitch and Learn ExperienceNext, students will be pitching their business ideas to a small group of judges playing the role of investors in the HEI Investor Pitch and Learn Competition.

Some students will be invited to be HEI Awardees.

LDRS 231 is one of the first stages in the process of helping student determine if entrepreneurship is their calling.  While no calling is more prestigious than another, here are some of our HEI Heroes, those students who have continued through the entrepreneurship gauntlet.


In the 3×3 idea pitch students have 333 Seconds (90 seconds to pitch; 243 seconds — 4 minutes — for Q & A) to get a potential adviser interested in having a follow-up conversation.  The students’ pitch should include the following outline; their slides should be visual and limited in terms of words.

  • Opening: Greeting (“Hello, we are __________.  Here is our story….”)
  • Customer and Problem (Slide 1): a story of customers — could be autobiographical — and the pain they are experiencing (“Consider __________ who gets frustrated when _____________.”) and how they are currently solving the problem
  • Solution and Value Proposition (Slide 2): a story of the proposed solution alleviates the customer’s pain (“Our idea addresses this frustration by __________.”) and  how the proposed product is different from the status quo (how customers currently solve the problem) and why it is better than the competition (Positioning) (“Our solution is like ___________ , except it is better because _____________”)
  • Validation (Slide 3): evidence information regarding market desirable, technical feasibility, and business viability.  (“Here is some proof of our concept….Here is how we know customers will purchase our good/service….Here is how we will make money….”)
  • Closing: Next Step (“Please connect with us after this competition if you are interested in learning more about our idea.”)

Fall 2014 Raechel


Judges for HEI Idea Pitch and Learn should not expect the student to have exhaustively thought out their business; nor should they expect the student to “tell you everything” in their 333 Seconds (90 seconds to pitch; 243 seconds — 4 minutes — for Q & A) session.

Students present their idea pitches in teams.  After the competition, students meet with the judges to hear what was good or what could be improved about their idea and their pitch.  Judges and students will also have more time to learn about the idea and give feedback.

It is important for judges to remember that this is a “teachable moment” — they can influence student entrepreneurs.  Use their idea pitch presentations to help students think more broadly or deeply, to consider alternative ways to pitch their solution.

Judging Criteria

A very important consideration is validity.  Validity can be addressed in 3 crucial areas:

  • Market Desirability: Does the market want it?  How do you know?
  • Technical Feasibility: Can we do what the market wants?  How do you know?
  • Business Viability: Is it a sustainable business idea?  How do you know?

We seek to enable students to present their solution clearly, succinctly and with appropriate passion.  Some students will be more passionate and skilled than others.  That is OK.  Passion comes from both the excitement of the idea and the excitement of being an entrepreneur.  Skill may be related to passion.  We are good at the things we are passionate about and passionate about the things we are good at.

Passion and skill are important considerations because the purpose of all CFL-sponsored activities is to help students discern their gifts — how they might best employ the gifts God has given them for his glory — and calling — what, when, where God may be calling them to use their gifts.  We must encourage students to keep testing their gifts and calling.

Thank you for participation!

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