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Entrepreneurs have deferred to governments, big corporates and non-profits to fix the problems of the world for far too long.

Creating a truly brighter future will require the collective efforts of organizations of all kinds and sizesThere are no excuses - the time has come for every company to do their part to help make progress. That is why today, the Founder Institute is proud to launch the Pitch For Progress competition.

The Pitch For Progress competition aims to elevate impact entrepreneurs building startups that make progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

In this free and open pitch competition, any entrepreneur or team building an impact driven business (with less than $1M USD in funding) can submit a 60-second pitch video for a chance to be invited to pitch in the Online Demo Day, judged by top venture capitalists and broadcast live to thousands of global attendees. 

The top-ranked pitch from the Online Demo Day will be declared the Pitch For Progress Champion, receiving an Expo Booth at one of the world’s top conferences for impact technologists, ChangeNOW 2022. The crowned Pitch For Progress Champion will also receive Fellowships to attend any Founder Institute accelerator program worldwide, $5,000 worth of PR services, 90% discount towards HubSpot for Startups, access to the Shopify for Startups program, 10+ dedicated Office Hours with top Impact VCs, and more. 

Apply to the Pitch For Progress competition today or visit PitchForProgress.com to see the latest entrants and vote for the businesses you think can have the greatest positive impact in the world.

Applicable businesses include any startup whose impact initiative is aligned with at least one of the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, as outlined in the Founder Institute's simple For Progress impact framework

The Final Deadline to submit your 1-minute pitch video and enter the competition is Friday, May 28th at 11:59pm PT, and the Online Demo Day will take place on Wednesday, July 14th at 10:00am PT. Online public voting will factor into the selection process, so the sooner you submit your pitch, the better your chances are of being selected!

Contest Full Details:

In order to be eligible for the Pitch For Progress Competition, you must: 

  • Have an impact startup, or business idea, with less than $1M USD in funding.
  • Business must, in the sole discretion of the Founder Institute, be creating products or indirect impact to positively shape the future of society by aligning with one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Submit a public, 60 second video adhering to our best practices to PitchForProgress.com before May 28th, 2021 at 11:59pm PT. In addition, we will give strong preference to companies that also submit, in private, a pitch deck that will be requested shortly after the public video submission. Guidelines and tips will be provided to applicants for this pitch deck submission process.

Selection Process:

The Voting Deadline is on Friday, June 4th 2021 at 11:59pm PT.

Public voting will play a large, but not sole, role in our selection process.

  • Semi-Finalists: On Friday, June 18th 2021, we will use the criteria outlined above to select 10 Semi-Finalists for the competition, notifying both the selected and non-selected companies via email. The semi-finalists will then be asked to submit additional pitch videos, and join mandatory pitch practice and feedback video calls with Founder Institute leaders to improve their pitch.
  • Finalists: On Wednesday, June 30th 2021, the Founder Institute will select, in its sole discretion, the 3 Finalists for the competition. Both the selected and non-selected companies will be notified via email. These companies may be required to attend additional pitch practice video calls with Founder Institute leaders to prepare for the Online Demo Day.
  • Online Demo Day: On Wednesday, July 14th at 10:00am PT, the 3 finalists will each present a 3-minute video pitch (with slides) to a panel of venture capitalist judges and a public viewing audience. At the end of each pitch, each judge, and the public viewing audience, will be asked to submit a numerical rating of each pitch. The numerical rating is 1-5, with 5 being the best, but with no 3s allowed! After all 3 companies present their pitch, the ratings of the pitches will be compiled, and the company with the highest numerical rating will be crowned the Pitch For Progress Competition Champion. If the ratings have resulted in a tie between 2 or 3 companies, then the public audience will determine the winner through a timed online vote.

As with any online event, there is a possibility for technical or connection issues. If technical or connection issues arise for any finalist, finalists agree that there will be no “make-up” date for this Online Demo Day.


The competition winner will receive:

  • $5K worth of PR services
  • A fellowship to attend any Founder Institute accelerator program
  • A free Expo Booth at ChangeNOW 2022
  • 10+ dedicated Office Hours with top impact VCs
  • 90% Discount Hubspot for Startups
  • Access to the Shopify for Startups program
  • And more

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Graduates of the Founder Institute are creating some of the world's fastest growing startups, having raised over $950M in funding, and building products people love across over 200 cities worldwide.

See the most recent news from our Grads at FI.co/news, or learn more about their stories at FI.co/journey

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