UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge Opens Applications for Program to Support Social Innovation

PITTSBURGH – April 25, 2024 –  The UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge, an annual competition to promote entrepreneurship that makes a lasting community impact in Southwestern Pennsylvania, will open applications for a seventh cycle on May 2. Powered by Innovation Works and funded by the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the competition provides financial assistance and educational resources to help nonprofits, local entrepreneurs, and other competitors bring their ideas from concept to reality.

Since its founding in 2015, the UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge has allocated more than $3.1 million in investments, grants, and educational assistance to local nonprofits, entrepreneurs, and other participants.

“Over the course of the last seven cycles, UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge participants have reaffirmed what we know to be true that innovative ideas come from everywhere, address problems that make the most vulnerable people more resilient, and make our communities stronger and more equitable,” said Ven Raju, President and CEO of Innovation Works. “Innovation Works is committed to helping the next generation of visionaries in their pursuit of ideas that further the common good and help to strengthen our community- the core tenets of UpPrize.”

Applicants should focus submissions on how their ideas are addressing a range of social equity concerns through technology. The top three finalists will receive a combined $300,000 in prize monies and accelerator assistance to launch or expand startups using technology to address social inequities.

●     First Place: $125,000

●     Second Place: $100,000

●     Third Place: $75,000

Additionally, finalists will join the inaugural UpPrize Masterclass cohort, tailored to focus on customer discovery, beginning in January 2025. They will also enjoy access to Innovation Works' networking events and ongoing support.

“BNY Mellon is committed to furthering innovation and giving back to the community. The UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge continues as a platform for investing in breakthrough ideas from rising entrepreneurs to address critical social needs in southwestern Pennsylvania,” said Eric Boughner, Chairman of BNY Mellon Pennsylvania.

Applications are open from May 2 through July 8, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. A launch event will be held on May 2,2024, at 6 PM, at The Assembly in Pittsburgh. Interested applicants are invited to attend to learn more about the resources available through the program and ask questions before applying. RSVPs are required.

UpPrize Social Innovation Challenge is administered by Innovation Works and fully funded by the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania.


About Innovation Works

Innovation Works (IW)is one of the most active early-stage investors in the country and the most active early-stage investor in the State of Pennsylvania. To date, IW has invested in over 700 companies that have gone on to raise $3.3 billion in follow-on funding. IW portfolio companies have generated and retained over20,000 jobs in the State of Pennsylvania. IW is part of the Ben FranklinTechnology Partner Network (BFTP). Over the last 30 years, the BFTP has catalyzed economic growth by providing access to capital and networks that help to foster innovation and technology-based economic development in Pennsylvania.



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