The Process  Rules Schedule FAQ

 

Project Flourish

Project Flourish is a competition inviting the best kingdom-minded social impact start-ups to pitch to a panel of judges to win proceeds from a pool of $250,000. Here's how it works:


The Process - 2019/20 Program

Phase 1: Apply (August 18–November 1)

Apply with your idea before November 1, 2019.

Phase 2: Screen (November 2–December 8)
Your idea will be screened according to an objective set of criteria, which you can find in the FAQ below. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application by Sunday, December 8. Semi-finalists will be moved to phase 3.

 

Phase 3: Navigate (December 20–March 1)
Those accepted (semi-finalists) will be paired up with a Navigator who will serve as your main point of contact and will shepherd you, your idea, and team through the Navigation Phase. In this phase, you, through your Navigator, 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.

There will be weekly, Wednesday evening “Labs” designed to accelerate and focus your business plan, pitch preparation and you will attend an "Immersion Day” event 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 (March 2–March 6)

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

  • Project Flourish is gospel-minded. Qualifying projects should:
            - Embody the empathy of Jesus
            - Be holistic in nature and as such, should understand and attempt to tackle the
               root causes of the problem it is trying to solve
            - Be meaningful
            - Be long-lasting in both impact and vision and should create a systemic solution to
               systemic problems
  • Project Flourish is faith-based and Christian values will inform and be applied to
            the screening and judging process.
  • Applicants in all stages of their project, from the idea stage to fully established, are
            welcome. However, weight will be given during the review process to new and
            innovative solutions or programs. Project Flourish is not risk-averse and welcomes
            idea stage ventures.
  • The impact of the proposed idea or program must be local, i.e. within 50 miles of
            downtown Houston. It must benefit the greater Houston community/area.
  • If you are a web-based service, such as an app designer, website, tech platform etc.,
            based in Houston but not explicitly serving the Houston community, you are
            welcome to apply to Project Flourish. However, you will have the added burden of
            showing how your project impacts the Houston community. 
  •  If a project or idea is accepted into the Project Flourish program, that same project
            or idea will no longer be eligible to apply for or receive funds from First
            Presbyterian Church during the 2019-2020 fiscal year.
  • Membership at First Presbyterian Church does NOT provide any preference to the
            applicant and any attempt to use one’s membership at FPC for preference or
            advantage will result in elimination from Project Flourish at the sole discretion of
            the Project Flourish Lead Team.
  • An applicant is not eligible to participate in the 2019-2020 Project Flourish if they
            received funding in 2017-2018. Prior grant recipients can apply again every
            second cycle.
  • Prior applicants who did not receive funding are welcome to apply again.

What we are looking for:

  • How the model has the ability to create a clear social impact
  • How the model has kingdom-minded implications and impact
  • The impact thesis (theory of change) and how the 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

Technical Criteria Categories:

The judges will use the following criteria to evaluate your proposal: 

  • Degree of overall innovation
  • Degree of overall social impact
  • Kingdom-minded Inspiration
  • Personal capacity of individual and team
  • Learning / Problem understanding
  • Time to scalable growth
  • Clear articulation of obstacles and risks
  • Funding model and sustainability plan
  • Degree of Personal Commitment 

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

    Schedule

     

    Aug 18

    Application Portal Opens

    Nov 1 Application Deadline
    Dec 8 Notification of Acceptance for Selected Proposals
    Jan 8 Lab 1
    Jan 15 Lab 2
    Jan 22 Lab 3
    Jan 25 Immersion Day Expo
    Jan 29 Lab 4
    Feb 5 Lab 5
    Feb 12 Lab 6
    Feb 19 Lab 7
    Feb 26 Lab 8
    Mar 2-6 Pitch Week
    Mar 9-11 Finalists Selected and Informed
    Mar 29 Celebration Day

    FAQ

    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 "kingdom-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 six judges made up of members from the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Houston.

    What are the criteria for a successful application?
    Initial applications through the screening process will be reviewed and evaluated on the following: feasibility, problem understanding, and innovation. 

    After making it through the initial screening process, our panel of judges will be looking for pitches that demonstrate a clear problem understanding, a thoughtful theory of change, and an explicit commitment to innovation - solving a problem in a new way.

    Pitches will be technically evaluated according to the following categories:

    • Degree of overall innovation
    • Degree of overall social impact
    • Kingdom-minded Inspiration
    • Personal capacity of individual and team
    • Learning / Problem understanding
    • Time to scalable growth
    • Clear articulation of obstacles and risks
    • Funding model and sustainability plan
    • Degree of Personal Commitment 

    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 20, 2019.

    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 projectflourish@fpchouston.org.