Workshop 4: Delivering Your Rocket Pitch

On March 14, 2024, from 5:00 – 7:00 pm, Rist DifferenceMaker Institute held its fourth workshop series session at the Saab Center, Perry Atrium, North Campus. The guest presenters for the evening were Professor Cathy Levey, College of Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and Professor Kevin Willett, Manning School of Business.

Semi-finalist teams attended this session to learn about delivering their rocket pitch for the Preliminary Pitch-off on April 3rd. At this event, teams have a chance to advance to the $50,000 Idea Challenge Final event. The semi-finalist teams who will be pitching at the Preliminary Pitch-off are: 

Accessible Assistive Devices





EV Guardian





IntoGreat Pocket Trainer 

Irradiant Wind

Mirrored Image



RAVI (Robot for the Visually Impaired)



Shay G Productions (TBD)

Sober Solutions

Socket Tech Solutions


SparkCell Technologies

Thought Tracks 





To start off the workshop, Rist DifferenceMaker Fellow, David Vatalaro provided a recap of the past workshop sessions, which addressed topics such as Identifying Problems, Assessing Opportunities and Value Proposition, and Developing Business Models.  

Then, Professor Cathy Levey opened and discussed the content that should be addressed during the DifferenceMaker pitch presentation: the problem, opportunity, solution, needed resources, as well as being prepared for judge questions. She also spoke about additional considerations to look out for during and after the rocket pitch session. 

She then showed videos of past teams, including III Point Stick and BioBubbler pitching their idea so students would have an example to follow after learning about what makes an effective pitch. This allowed students to compare what they just learned to an actual pitch presentation that occurred. Students can watch and learn from other past pitches that are on the DifferenceMaker YouTube page, which can be utilized while practicing for the Preliminary Pitch-off.

Professor Levey speaking about developing a pitch.

To conclude the night, Professor Kevin Willet spoke about the challenge of presenting an idea. To tackle this, he discussed being confident and sharing your topic with lots of energy and passion. He also talked about having relevant pictures on each slide, as well as limiting the words per slide, which helps keep the audience engaged.

Professor Willet showing an example of a pitch from a past team.

Thank you to everyone who attended Workshop 4! Good luck to all teams pitching at the Preliminary Pitch-off on April 3 at the O’Leary Library, Mezzanine. Register for the Preliminary Pitch-off here.

Additionally, the 2024 12th Annual DifferenceMaker $50,000 Idea Challenge will take place on April 10 at University Crossing, Moloney Hall, Room 260. Register for the $50,000 Idea Challenge here.

To revisit the topics discussed, watch our video, Spring Workshop Series 4: Delivering Your Rocket Pitch.

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