As a team, we have seen hundreds of pitches and worked with scores of judges. We hope that the insights shared through Judge Better will help you make the competition a valuable learning experience that encourages participants to continue on their entrepreneurial journey.
Judge Better is a guide with lessons and strategies to help facilitate more learning through your entrepreneurship competition.
If you are a school, university, accelerator, or hub wondering how to improve the experience for both participants and judges in your next pitch competition, this FREE book is for you!
Entrepreneurship pitch competitions often follow a certain formula: pitch, win a prize, and hope for success. When participants take the stage, the pressure to perform is on!
But what if you could create more value for the entrepreneurs through your pitch competition?
Drawing from 12 years of running the Anzisha Prize, a competition to identify the best of Africa’s youngest entrepreneurs, we have compiled a set of principles for designing, running and adjudicating an entrepreneurship competition to improve learning outcomes.
Here’s an overview of Anzisha’s five Judge Better Principles:
- Principle 1: Define – and defend – your principles
Know your organisation’s [DT1] [LVDP2] values or principles. Be prepared to explain why they matter to your organisation, and how they are relevant to the judging process. With clear standards in place, judges will better understand your priorities.
- Principle 2: Be transparent about the process and criteria
Communicate clearly and consistently the principles, process, and criteria to contestants, judges, and coaches. Transparency will help ensure comfort with and understanding of the eventual decisions.
- Principle 3: Coaches must score – just like the judges – to inform and improve the judging outcome
Simulating the pitches ahead of the final presentations gives coaches a deeper understanding of the nuances and complexity of deliberation, allowing them to offer better feedback to contestants. Practiced pitches are beneficial to the contestants, their coaches, and, ultimately, the judges.
- Principle 4: Avoid devices when judges are scoring!
The Judge Better approach of scoring on paper and not devices is geared at focusing attention fully on the contestants and the rubric. Avoiding devices is one way to prioritize the contestants (over an app or the internet or the form of presentations).
- Principle 5: The final decision must be unanimous
The scores serve as strong indicators of the outcome. Deliberation surfaces the nuances. The judges must discuss their scores until they all agree on each of their selections.