I just turned 28 a couple of months ago. How flexible is the age limit?
We’re sorry, but the age limit is firm so that we can stay true to our goal of rewarding innovators under age 28 and ensure that we apply our rules fairly and consistently.
I’ll be 27 at the time of the application deadline, but I turn 28 before the end of the year. Am I eligible?
No. Unfortunately, we need to make a clear rule that we apply fairly to all applicants. You must be under 28 as of December 31, 2016.
I live outside of California and am not from California, but we’re piloting our program in California. Am I eligible?
No. While we’d love to reward all the good work happening here, the Westly Prize is limited to California-based innovators, or Californians temporarily at school elsewhere.
I’m still in high school. Am I eligible?
I have a fantastic idea for a non-profit or social business, and some solid plans in place. We’re going to pilot our first program by the end of the year. Am I eligible?
Only if you have already prototyped your idea with users/customers/clients and can convince us in your application that you have valid and feasible plans for implementation in the short term and scale in the intermediate term. This is not a business plan competition. Your application may be stronger after your pilot. You might want to apply next year.
Is it ok that I haven’t won any prizes before or participated in any other incubators or innovation programs?
Yes! Some of our prior winners have participated in these programs before or won other prizes, but we actually prefer to find and reward early-stage innovators.
I’ve already won lots of prizes for my innovation and have significant seed funding from angel investors or institutions. Am I eligible?
Yes, but if you are already well on your way to success and our Prize will not materially affect your trajectory, you may not be the best fit for the Westly Prize. Congratulations on what you’ve achieved!
It’s really hard to convey all the nuances of my innovation in a two-minute video. Can I submit a longer video?
Please do not do that. We believe the most effective innovators can tell their story clearly and concisely. Longer does not always mean better, and we want all our applicants to be judged by the same rules.
I’m not really experienced in shooting video, and I can’t afford to have someone produce a slick video for me. What do I do?
Don’t worry! We’re not looking for high production values. Grab a smartphone and a selfie stick, and tell us your authentic story from your couch.
We work as a team. Can my whole team apply?
Sorry, only one individual from an organization may apply, and the individual must be the innovator. As well, the Prize is awarded to winners as individuals, not to their organization.