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FAQ & Guidelines

UpPrize FAQ

What is UpPrize?

The Forbes Funds UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge is designed to transform the way Southwestern Pennsylvania addresses key community challenges. UpPrize exists to improve the lives of our vulnerable residents and the work of nonprofit organizations. In 2016 we have identified two community challenge areas with our partners Bridgeway Capital and BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania.

What is the deadline to submit an idea?

Wednesday, November 30th 2016 at 5 p.m.

Who is eligible?

Anyone 18 years of age or older and resides in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

What ideas are eligible?

Your idea should be one that directly addresses at least one of the two challenge areas in Southwestern Pennsylvania. For more information, check the guidelines section on this page.

What are the prizes for competition winners?

We anticipate there will be 10 finalists that will each receive a $10,000 grant. The BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania sponsored challenge will award up to $300,000 in grants to the most compelling submissions in innovative technology. Bridgeway Capital will award the winner(s) of the food challenge a collective sum of up to $300,000 in flexible debt and grants.

How do I submit my idea for the UpPrize competition?

You can submit your idea by visiting and signing up for an UpPrize account. If you run into difficulty creating an account, you can get help by emailing

What information do I need to submit?

Initially you need to provide basic information about your idea, organization (if applicable), team and at least 1 image for your cover page. Questions with an asterisk (*) on the application are required fields to complete. Leaving the remaining questions blank will not hurt you but will certainly help us better understand your idea. To increase your idea’s potential to advance in the UpPrize competition, we encourage you to demonstrate that you have a direct understanding of the types of organizations your idea benefits or the population or neighborhood it will serve.

Will there be additional documents required for semi-finalists?
If your idea is selected as a semi-finalist, you are expected to provide financial information for your project. For existing projects, financial information can take the form of business, non-profit, and/or personal tax returns. Anyone who owns ≥ 20% of the business will need to share their personal tax returns for the last 3 years. If you have not filed tax returns for the past three years or a portion therein you simply need to state that and the reasons.

Startups or fledgling ideas can provide three years of projections. Additional details and assistance will be provided to the semi-finalists once they are identified.

Why does UpPrize need my tax returns and who will be looking at it?
Due to the substantial monetary reward(s) we have to conduct financial due diligence. The information will only be seen by Bridgeway Capital and BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the challenge partners.

Will there be additional documents required for finalists?
If your idea is selected as a finalist, you are expected to submit a business plan. Forbes Funds will make every effort to connect you with basic assistance if you need help in this area.

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Idea Description
  3. Team/Company Description + Organization/Management
  4. Market Size & Scope of Social Impact
  5. Business/Revenue Model & Social Enterprise Approach

Is a video with my submission required?

A video is not required but is highly recommended. It can be shot on a phone or any device most accessible to you; it does not have to be a professional production. For help, contact us at 412-394-4271 or

What are you looking for in a video submission?

Your video should be no longer than 3 minutes in length (ideal length is 1 minute) and should focus on describing your idea and why it is important. If you don’t have a video already, create a YouTube account to upload your video and share the link in Section 4 of the application. We only accept YouTube video links.

If I am not a nonprofit, do I have to have a fiscal sponsor?

You do not need a fiscal sponsor to apply. If you move forward in the competition, we will discuss this question with you in greater detail.

Can I make changes to my application after I submitted it?

Once you have submitted your application, you cannot make changes until it has been approved by The Forbes Funds. Once it had been approved, you will be notified. You can make changes to your application that won’t drastically change the original submission by signing into your account. If you need to make changes prior to being approved, contact The Forbes Funds at 412-394-4271 or  All changes must be completed by 5pm on November 30th.

How do I ❤ an idea and does it influence the potential of the idea progressing in the competition?

You can ❤ an idea by creating an UpPrize account and then visiting the page(s) of the idea(s) you wish to like. For this iteration of UpPrize, the number of likes an idea accumulates does not influence its competitiveness.

Initial Eligibility Guidelines

  1. Impactful Technology—Products and solutions that will improve nonprofit service delivery and/or the lives of vulnerable populations in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
  2. Healthy Food—Products and services that will increase access to affordable healthy foods for vulnerable and underserved communities.

Eligibility. To be eligible to apply:

  1. You must be 18 years old or older.
  2. The submitting nonprofit, business or individual must be based in one of these counties in Pennsylvania: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington or Westmoreland.
  3. You must not have been a Finalist (received a $10,000 grant) in last year’s Challenge.
  4. You must ensure that your participation does not violate employer’s policies or procedures, or any other third-party rights or obligations (e.g. noncompetition agreements).
  5. You, and your immediate family members, must not be employed or affiliated with BNY Mellon or Bridgeway Capital (UpPrize sponsors), or The Forbes Funds (that’s us), or any of their/our parent and affiliate companies.

Applying is Easy. To enter UpPrize, you will need to do six things:

  1. Fill out a form about your organization;
  2. Provide some information about your product or service;
  3. Upload a supporting video up to 3 minutes in length (conforming to our Terms and Conditions);
  4. Provide a short, one-sentence description to go along with the video;
  5. Provide a companion photo; and
  6. Agree to our Terms and Conditions

Timeline. Submissions can be made between October 3, 2016 and November 30, 2016. This is called the submission period. In case you're curious, here's the full timeline:

  1. Submissions can be made via our website at beginning October 3 until 5:00pm ET on November 30, 2016.
  2. From December 1 through 15, we will screen applications and review submission videos.
  3. By December 21, semifinalists will be selected.
  4. By January 25 (we're in 2017 now), semifinalists will pitch in person.
  5. From January 1 through February 7, we will conduct due diligence on the semifinalists. Kick the tires, so to speak.
  6. On February 10, the finalists will be selected. Each finalist will be eligible for a $10,000 grant.
  7. From February 15 through March 15, we will continue to support finalists, and host private meetings between finalists, judges, and sponsors. It gives everyone a chance to learn more about each other.
  8. We will host a final event in March to showcase the finalists' products and solutions and announce the top recipients. Pending completion of all necessary transaction agreements and final screening, of course (more tire kicking). Winners will be selected in advance of the final event, so you'll have plenty of time to write an acceptance speech.
  9. In April, there will be more meetings with the winners, mostly to complete transactions and do additional promotional and support activities. We want to share your success with the world and inspire others.

How We Select the Awardees. At each selection round, panels of judges — selected by us and the sponsors — will consider how your product or solution makes an impact on the intended social issue and the strength of your idea, business model and team. We will work with the judges to make the final decisions in all selection rounds. The challenge partners reserve the right to make the final decision. We reserve the right to change who the judges are at any time, and for any reason. Potential recipients are required to sign a few documents (some of the best things in life require signatures). Decisions cannot be appealed or disputed.

The Awards. The awards will be a combination of grants and investments up to $700,000. For submissions addressing technology advancements, we will award up to $350,000 in grant. For submissions addressing affordable healthy food issues, we will award up to $350,000 in a combination of grants and convertible notes (a form of investment). Expect additional support from our partners, tailored to the needs of the winners, including mentoring, market research, business development consulting, marketing support, and other good stuff. Prizes can’t be transferred or substituted, obviously. And winners are responsible for any taxes or fees.

  1. To be eligible to receive an award through UpPrize, the business or entrepreneur must reside or have its principal place of business in one of the following counties in Pennsylvania: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington or Westmoreland; and (2) are at least 18 years old at the time of entry. UpPrize is NOT open to (i) an employee of BNY Mellon Corporation, The Forbes Funds or any of their respective corporate parent or subsidiary companies; or (ii) a member of the immediate family of an employee of any of the foregoing corporate entities.
  2. Individuals must be able to participate in UpPrize without violation of any third-party rights or obligations, including without limitation an employer’s policies or procedures. To the extent an individual’s participation is within the scope of his or her employment as an employee, contractor, or agent, the individual must have notified his or her employer or principal for whom that Individual is working at the time of entry of participation in UpPrize, including without limitation the potential receipt of a prize. For the avoidance of doubt, individuals who are employed by a university must meet the requirements of this paragraph.
  3. UpPrize semifinalists will be eligible to compete for $700,000 in grants and investments as well as significant additional benefits and support.
  4. These initial Eligibility Guidelines are subject to the full Official Rules, available at here at on or before March 31, 2017. To the extent there is any discrepancy between these initial guidelines and the Official Rules, the Official Rules control.

Terms and Conditions

We promise to be brief, but this is important. The following Terms and Conditions Apply to All Applicants and Applications.

Ownership of Intellectual Property. Applicant will not lose ownership of any intellectual property (business concepts, business plans, or product or service ideas) by virtue of submitting an UpPrize application, participating in our selection rounds or receiving prizes. Applicant will retain ownership of all Applicant’s intellectual property.

Consent to Publicity. UpPrize will share all applications, videos and photos Applicant submits via a website created for the Social Innovation Challenge. We also want to share Applicant’s success with the world. By entering, Applicant consents to letting us and the UpPrize sponsors brag about the Applicant. We will use Applicant’s name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, hometown, videos, descriptions and commentary for promotional purposes. This could go worldwide, so Applicant’s consent extends to any media outlet.

Video and Photographs. Applicant acknowledges that Applicant has obtained permission from all people participating in the creation of all submitted videos and photographs. Applicant guarantees to us that Applicant has the right to use any elements of text, graphics, videos, music, photos, designs, trademarks, or other provided materials and agrees to indemnify us against any and all claims arising from the use of submitted videos and photographs.

Public Domain. Applicant’s videos, photographs and application materials will be placed in the public domain. It is the responsibility of the Applicant to ensure that making these materials public does not adversely impact the commercial potential of the project.

No Joint Venture or Employment. Applicant acknowledges that by submitting an application to UpPrize, we are in no way offering Applicant employment, entering into a joint venture with Applicant or otherwise becoming obligated to Applicant. Applicant acknowledges that application materials are provided voluntarily and without expectation of remuneration or any future business relationship.

Release: Applicant agrees to release and hold harmless The Forbes Funds, BYN Mellon Foundation, Bridgeway Capital, sponsors, administrators and their respective, affiliates, suppliers, distributors, advertising/promotion agencies, and award suppliers, and each of their respective parent companies and each such company’s officers, shareholders, directors, members, employees, licensors and agents from and against any claim or cause of action, including, but not limited to, personal injury, death, or damage to or loss of property, arising out of participation in the Challenge or receipt or use or misuse of any prize.

Liability. We will not be liable to Applicant or any third party for damages, including, but not limited to lost profits, physical or financial injury, or other incidental, consequential or special damages arising out of any aspect of the Challenge, even if Applicant has advised us of the possibilities of such damages.

Disqualification. We reserve the right to disqualify any applicant for any reason. We reserve the right to seek damages against those that deliberately undermine the legitimate operation of the Challenge.

Modification, Suspension or Cancellation of Challenge. The UpPrize sponsors reserve the right to cancel, suspend and/or modify the Challenge, or any part of it, for any reason whatsoever and will not be held liable to Applicant for any related damages.

Additional Terms. If any provision of these Terms and Conditions is found to be unlawful, void, or for any reason unenforceable, then that provision shall be deemed severable from these Terms and Conditions and shall not affect the validity and enforceability of any remaining provisions. The validity of these Terms and Conditions, the construction and meaning of its terms, and the rights of all the parties involved will be governed by the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Any court action based on these Terms and Conditions or participation in the UpPrize Challenge must be brought in the courts found in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.