Guidelines & FAQs

Initial Eligibility Guidelines

UpPrize accepts solutions that will improve nonprofit service delivery and/or the lives of vulnerable populations in southwestern Pennsylvania.

To be eligible to apply:

  • You must be 18 years old or older.
  • 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.
  • You must not have been a Finalist (received a $10,000 grant) in last year’s competition.
  • You must ensure that your participation does not violate employer’s policies or procedures, or any other third-party rights or obligations (e.g. non-competition agreements).
  • You, and your immediate family members, must not be employed or affiliated with BNY Mellon (UpPrize sponsor), or Innovation Works (that’s us) or any of their/our parent and affiliate companies.



I have many ideas. Can I submit multiple applications?

No. You may only submit one application. 

What do you mean by “solutions that will improve nonprofit service delivery”?

Your solution can help nonprofits save on costs and/or complete tasks more efficiently (like BlastPoint and Application Verification).

What is considered a vulnerable/marginalized population?

This population may include but may not be limited to economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, the uninsured, low-income children, the elderly, the homeless, those with health conditions, including severe mental illness.

I’m not sure whether my solution fits the UpPrize scope. Is there a way I can be more certain?

Contact us! We’re most easily reached at 

I am a nonprofit/for-profit/b-corp entity. Can I still apply?

Yes. We welcome ideas from the individual to an organizational level as long as they fit within the scope of the competition. If you are not yet incorporated, we require that you incorporate if you become a semi-finalist. Don’t worry – we’re here to provide resources and assist you with the process. 


I need help using the F6S platform.

Check out our resource page for assistance.

If you still need some help, let us know.

Benefits of using the F6S platform. We are also scheduling UpPrize Virtual Office Hours here to provide time for you to ask questions.

By applying on F6S you gain access to accelerator and incubators all over the world and can apply to multiple accelerators and incubators at once. Qualified applicants can also become eligible for exclusive deals and access to startup events.

Can I save a draft of my application and return to it later?

When using F6S, our application platform, your answers are automatically saved.

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.

What are you looking for in a video submission?

Your video should be no longer than 60 seconds in length and should focus on showing us your solution. If you don’t have a video already, create a YouTube account to upload your video and share the link on application. We only accept YouTube video links. If you aren’t tech-savvy, instructions are available on our resources page

How do I make sure my application is successfully submitted?

You will receive a confirmation email. Check your spam folder in case it is hiding there.

I submitted my application. What now?

Fantastic! We are excited to review it. We will reach out if we require any additional information and will announce those who moved forward in the competition per the timeline on the website.


Who will be judging my application?

Applications will be reviewed by a community-based panel selected by the funder, BNY Mellon Foundation of southwestern Pennsylvania.  The panel consists of local subject matter experts in social innovation, start-ups and technology.  While Innovation Works is powering this year’s UpPrize, IW will not be involved with the application review process. 

I’ve never pitched before. Should I not apply?

Apply! We provide pitch training.

Will there be additional documents required for semi-finalists/finalists?

Those who advance to the semi-finalist round will be required to submit documentation required for due-diligence. Please see the terms and conditions for additional information on the due-diligence process. Competition finalists will be required to submit a lean startup business plan. Don’t know how to write one? We will be offering a couple of classes as part of our Education Series.