What happens at the Purple Prize?

During the Connections Phase, participating teams will have the opportunity engage with a community of esteemed cultural, business, social, and academic leaders and develop skills relating to Native Hawaiian culture, Social Entrepreneurship, technology, business planning, leadership, and financial fundamentals through weekend workshops. At the end of the Connections Phase, teams will complete a concept plan and present at the 2019 Purple Prize Building Phase Kickoff Day in June 2019.

During the Building Phase, participating teams will participate in intensive, skills-building workshops focused on growth and embedding our quadruple bottom-line principles in their business models. Teams will build a functioning prototype of their concept, create a business plan, network, and pitch their enterprize to a panel and the public.

How can we get funding for our startup?

Although the Purple Prize does not disclose seed funding amounts or post-prize follow-on funding, we do offer both when teams exhibit promise and a need. In the past teams have been awarded as much as $16K from winning the Purple Prize.

By participating in our public-facing demo day, workshops, and events, teams will also have the opportunity to connect with investors and other business resources. We are happy to facilitate those connections.

Do we need to write a business plan?

You do not need to write or apply with a business plan, although if you have one, we will gladly accept it.

In the Connections Phase, NO, teams do not create a business plan.

In the Building Phase, YES, teams will be required to create a light business plan as part of the curriculum.

Will you sign an NDA? How do I know you won’t steal my idea?

No, we won’t sign an NDA. No venture firm would at this stage.

You may want to read the first section of Paul Graham’s blog, How to Start a Startup on the value of mere ideas.

Our group has two ideas. Can we submit two applications?

We don’t recommend it. Pick your best one and submit it. We understand that ideas may change during the competition, so if you discover that your idea isn’t feasible, we are unopposed to an idea change or team-hopping as long as the idea and team still meet our criteria.

Will you accept multiple startups working on the same idea?

Yes. Overlap is not uncommon. Even if you tried not to accept competing companies, you’d still get overlap because startups’ ideas morph so much. The way we deal with it is that when two startups are working on related stuff, we don’t talk to one in detail about what the other’s doing.

Why didn’t you accept our application?

Strange as it may sound, the better your application was, the less likely there is to be an answer to this question. So don’t take it personally. Feel free to ask us by emailing purpleprize@purplemaia.org about what the other’s doing.

What are the exact dates for the next Purple Prize?

Feel free to ask us specifics by emailing purpleprize@purplemaia.org.

We’ve already been working on our startup for a while. Is the Purple Prize appropriate for us?

We like experienced entrepreneurs just as much as we like those who are new to the game. In the past, we’ve had teams at varying levels of maturity. All we ask is that teams have been working on their business for no more than two years and that they have not entered into more than one prior funding round. See criteria.

We’ve already raised funding. Can we still apply?

Sure. As long as you’ve only closed one funding round.

What if we’re doing something expensive?

We’ll still work with you, but instead of trying to build something launchable in five months, the goal becomes to build an impressive proof of concept to take to later stage investors to raise more money.

Can a single person apply for the Purple Prize?

Yes. The Connections Phase is partially dedicated to this. We want to match people with great ideas, complementary backgrounds, and similar interests. Join in at the Connections Phase and you can see if you want to grow your team or go it alone.

I have a great idea for a startup, but I’m not technical…

Anyone can apply for the Purple Prize, but if you don’t have a background that can help you build out your prototype, we would encourage you to enter into the Connections Phase so that we can help you find a techie before entering into the Building Phase.

Can we apply more than once?

Yes. If you weren’t accepted in a prior year, feel free to reapply for either phase this year. We actually appreciate the dedication.

If you are a Purple Prize graduate and want to continue learning, contact us at purpleprize@purplemaia.org. We may be able to help.

Can we do it without moving to where you are?

2019 is the first year we are allowing this to occur. We will still expect you to attend the Kick-off Day and Presentation/Demo Day corresponding to the Phase you are entering, but we offer our coaching and workshops remotely for participants who are not based on Oahu. Funding is available to absorb some of the cost of travel to events for off-island participants.

We do place some weight behind participation in the Purple Prize, so we encourage you and your team to attend all of the workshops during your phase.

We don’t want to enter into the Purple Prize, but will you give us advice?

Sure. Email us at purpleprize@purplemaia.org and we’ll try to get back to you.

I’m visiting Oahu. Can I come see the Purple Prize in action?

See our Events page for details about events that are open to the public.

I’m starting a startup. Can I meet with you?

Our goal is to help foster an indigenous innovation sector, globally, but especially in Hawaii. We would love to talk to you about what we do and help you help us achieve our mission. Email us at purpleprize@purplemaia.org and we’ll schedule a time to chat.