All innovation is not created equal. Do you have a product that can make the world better?

The Competition


UpPrize applies a new approach to community problem solving by supporting entrepreneurs whose products have the potential to meaningfully impact one of three key challenges. Identified through a research process with more than 100 nonprofit organizations, the 2015 UpPrize challenges were chosen for not only their impact and relevance in the greater Pittsburgh region, but also because they are experienced across the globe and across multiple segments of the broader marketplace.


Designed in partnership with more than 100 nonprofit organizations, UpPrize challenges invite entrepreneurs to change the world for the better. The 2015 UpPrize challenges asked for innovative ideas improving issues around Independence, Coordination, and Access.


UpPrize awards include grants, technical assistance, and investments with preferred terms. The 2015 UpPrize awards of $1 million in grants, investments, and support were awarded to three winners, and eight finalists.


UpPrize is open to all entrepreneurs, innovators, students and start-ups. Any stage organizations are welcome to apply. In 2015 we received 111 applications from a range of entrepreneurs including start-ups and established firms.

2015 Competition Timeline


How it works


UpPrize helps harness the innovative thinking of regional entrepreneurs in the greater Pittsburgh region for solving some of the most pressing problems in our region. In-depth research produces three key areas where innovation will help our communities thrive. UpPrize was created by BNY Mellon and the BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania in partnership with The Forbes Funds to enlist entrepreneurs and innovators for solving these community challenges.


Issue Discovery 

Through a rigorous research phase involving key nonprofit leaders in the community, we identify a set of high-impact opportunities for purpose-driven innovation. Bringing new technologies to these areas will also provide significant cost savings to nonprofits who will be able to achieve their missions more effectively and efficiently.



We challenge the entrepreneurial community to submit their products and ideas as potential solutions. Any entrepreneur or business in the greater Pittsburgh region is welcome to submit an idea during the application window. In 2015 we received 111 applications.



There are three rounds of competition. After the first round of initial screenings of submissions, semifinalists are contacted for further information and make their pitch before a panel of experienced entrepreneurs and investors. Selected finalists then receive grants and personalized support in preparation for their final pitches.



Announced at the UpPrize Final Event, 2015 UpPrize winners cumulatively received approximately $1 million in grants, technical assistance, and investments with preferred terms.

Judging Criteria


Our talented team of advisers evaluates UpPrize submissions with regard to two equally-weighted aspects: potential for financial success and potential for positive social impact.