Eia Hawaiʻi, he moku, he kanaka. He kanaka Hawaiʻi ē. He kama na Kahiki

In the emerging “(k)new” economy, place matters and indigenous cultures matter. Companies should be grounded in the local cultural history and physical environment. Innovators who join the Purple Prize must be able to articulate their cultural grounding in Hawaiʻi and/or in another place that is the center of project work.

Participants should recognize a responsibility to learn about, amplify, and perpetuate the indigenous cultures and lifeways of their place through technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Purple Prize competition takes place in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. We welcome neighbor island participants as well as participants from around the world who align with our criteria. Limited funding will be made available for travel costs. For Oʻahu-based participants, we require that you be present for Purple Prize Kick-off events and Demo Day. Provision will be made for off-island participants to remotely participate in training events. Oʻahu-based participants are highly encouraged to attend events in-person. Please see FAQ for more information.


Participating teams and individuals in the Connections Phase of the Purple Prize may simply have an idea, however, we encourage participation in this level of the Purple Prize to all.

Participating teams/companies in the Building Phase should have a concept already baked out, be less than two-years old, and have entered into no more than one prior funding round. Participating teams/companies in the Connections OR Building Phase do not need to have demonstrated revenue or a functioning prototype.

We’re a technology non-profit, so one of the most important things to us is that every solution must include technology–either new or existing–as a key component.


Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻāina i ka pono

Technology today has the ability to reach billions of people and impact their lives on a daily basis. Such power needs to be guided by cultural values to facilitate powerful, scalable, impact contributions.

Teams should be able to explain and demonstrate how their project is a culturally-embedded technology that enhances and serves sustainable, living systems that provide health and well-being for ʻāina and people, now and into the future.

We expect participating teams to form a technology startup that goes beyond financial returns and is rooted in social and/or environmental responsibility. Part of this is considering balance and context. What contextual factors have been considered in deciding that this project/technology is needed now, will not cause harm, and that this team is the right one to undertake it?

Solutions should be aligned with the mission of the Purple Prize, address at least ONE of the United Nations (17) Global Goals for Sustainable Development, and aim at positively impacting the lives of many.


ʻAʻole pau ka ʻike i ka hālau hoʻokahi

Arguably the most important component of a startup is the team and its advisors. The Purple Prize looks for teams whose experiences are cross-functional, having diverse knowledges and skill-sets in areas like design, cultural practice, engineering, marketing, and capacity building. As much as we appreciate individuals who are experienced entrepreneurs and creatives, we look at the collaborative power of the entire team.

Startups must demonstrate how they interact and collaborate with the appropriate communities in ways that value the knowledge held and maintained by community partners. Interact and don’t impose.


Each year, over 70,000 technology companies across the United States are started. However, about 65% of them will fail within their first four years of operation. In order to be successful, teams must be bold and creative!

Teams that are successful in the Purple Prize build out technology solutions that are innovative, solve a problem and are potentially disruptive. Successful teams are not afraid to take risks to build something great.