*PLEASE NOTE: THE 2017/18 APPLICATION PERIOD HAS ENDED. PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR DETAILS ON THE 2018/19 PROGRAM.
Project Flourish is a business plan competition inviting the best start-ups to pitch to a panel of judges to win proceeds from a pool of $250,000. Here's how it works:
Phase 1: Apply (April 22–Nov 19)
Apply with your idea before November 19, 2017.
Phase 2: Screen (nov 20–dec 10)Your idea will be screened according to an objective set of criteria evaluating the concept, maturity, and problem understanding. Additional details below and in FAQ below. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application by Dec 11. Semi-finalists will be moved to phase 3.
Phase 3: Navigate (dec 10–Feb 4) Those accepted (semi-finalists) will be paired up with a "Navigator" who will serve as your main point of contact and will shepherd you and your idea through the "Navigation Phase." In this phase, you will have access to "Skills Coaches," individuals who have acute domain knowledge and who are willing to provide their support to you at no cost. You will attend an "Immersion Day" with other accepted teams and there experience hands-on consulting support, critical pitch help, business and strategy planning assistance, etc. The point of this phase is to prepare you for "Pitch Week."
Phase 4: Pitching (feb 5–feb 9)
"Pitch Week" will be your opportunity to finally pitch your idea to a group of judges who have the job of awarding funding from a pool of $250,000 to the best pitches and ideas. Note: Making it to the pitching round does not guarantee that you will be funded.
Eligibility & Rules
- Applicants can be individuals or teams
- The individual (or one team member) MUST reside within 50 miles of downtown Houston, Texas
- Awards are open to both for-profit and non-profit ideas
- The idea needs to have some development, and founder commitment must be evident. If the idea is still an "idea," we want to see evidence of market testing, research, and problem understanding. We'd prefer ideas where attempts at implementation have clearly begun.
What we will be looking for
- How the model has the ability to create a clear social impact
- How the model has "gospel-minded" implications and impact
- The impact thesis (theory of change) and how impact will be measured (specific outcomes)
- How the model is innovative in character
- A thorough understanding of the problem being tackled as well as the landscape of others working on the same issues
WHAT You Will Get
- A chance at receiving awards from a pool of $250,000
- Access to mentorship and Skills Coaches
- Prayer Partner support
- Business plan development and pitch practice
- Labs designed to facilitate community, fellowship and the integration of your venture and faith
- Community and networking opportunities with other entrepreneurs
- Potential partnership possibilities with First Presbyterian Church of Houston
Application Portal Opens
|Nov 19||Application Deadline|
|dec 11-12||Notification of Acceptance for Selected Proposals|
|dec 10||Navigator Pairing|
|jan 3||Lab 1|
|jan 10||Lab 2|
|jan 17||Lab 3|
|Jan 20||Immersion Day Expo|
|Jan 24||Lab 4|
|Jan 31||Lab 5|
|Feb 5-9||Pitch Week|
|Feb 12||Finalists Selected and Informed|
|Feb 18||Project Flourish Event|
|Late Feb||Awarding Period to Distribute Awards|
|Feb 25||Congregational Celebration Day|
How do I apply?
Click the "Apply" tab on the navigation bar above to fill out the application.
Do I need to be an organization or incorporated entity to apply?
No. The challenge is open to individuals or teams – anyone with a new, innovative, "gospel-minded" idea for renewal.
What does "gospel-minded" mean?
A gospel-minded idea has four major characteristics:
- Holistic in conception and design
- Meaningful in approach and execution
- Lasting in effect and outcomes
- Empathetic in context and character
Applicants will be asked to describe how their idea carries and embodies the gospel of Jesus Christ to Houston and the world.
Who decides on winners and the awarding of funding?
A group of seven judges made up of covenant partners from the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Houston.
What are the criteria for a successful application?
Initial applications will be reviewed and evaluated on feasibility, how compelling of an idea it is, and the degree to which it is an FPC fit. Those who make it to the "Pitch Week" will be scored against five criteria: impact, innovation, gospel-minded inspiration, learning, and capacity.
How much money is available?
We may award any amount of a $250,000 pool to finalists.
How many different ideas can I submit?
You may submit as many ideas and proposals as you would like. Note: more submissions will not improve chances for selection.
How soon will I hear the decision on my application?
You will hear back from us with news on whether your application is selected by December 12, 2017.
If my proposal is not accepted, will I know why?
We expect to receive a large volume of applications and are unable to comment on each one. We will be unable to share the exact reasons for the declination of your project.
What are the intellectual property terms of the Project Flourish Initiative?
You will own your intellectual property.
What types of applications don't you accept?
While we accept many types of applications, we do not look for academic projects, research initiatives, or project proposals from long-standing organizations looking for new program funding.
Is there anything that Project Flourish cannot fund?
First Presbyterian Church of Houston will support all selected projects excluding activities prohibited by law.
What is involved/required for the labs?
These labs are optional evening sessions which will include fellowship and community development with other accepted entrepreneurs, and we will be using content developed by Praxis Labs to discuss key topics related to Christian entrepreneurship. The labs are very low key and informal, but hopefully good opportunities to network and learn from each other.
During Pitch Week, will we only be pitching one day? Will we get to choose the day and time?
Yes and yes! You will have a 10-minute pitch with 10 minutes of Q&A from the judges. We will develop a schedule and work with all applicants to determine the most convenient time that works for them and the judges, but you can expect it to be in the evening of that week.
What is the Immersion Day Expo? What does it involve?
This will be a day-long event at the church with a speaker, different workshops (pitch practice, etc.), access to Skills Coaches, and booths of partners, etc. We may allow applicants to set up their own booths as well. This day will give you a chance to network, with more details to come on specific details.
What if my question is not answered in the FAQ?
Please submit additional questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.