Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California 2017-18 (Grand Prize of $30,000)

Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California 2017-18 (Grand Prize of $30,000)

Deadline: October 15, 2017

Young innovators from California who want to make the world a better place are invited to apply for the 2017-18 Westly Prize. Since 2012, cash prizes have been awarded once a year to young innovators in California with novel solutions to community challenges. The award is looking for creative leaders who are early in their journey, and have not yet received major recognition or substantial outside investment, but have prototyped their solution and show great potential.

Because inventive problem-solving is valued, no restrictions are placed on the types of social issues innovators choose to address. Non-profits, for-profits, and hybrid organizations are welcome, so long as the innovation is grounded in a strong social purpose. Whether you’re an entrepreneur working out of a garage or intrapreneur in a big organization, if you’ve built something that could make the world a better place, you could be one of the next winners.


  • Grand prize winners will receive $30,000 — thanks to the generous support of the David & Lucile Packard Foundation — and honorable mention winners will receive $5,000.


  • Applicant should be under age 28 as of December 31, 2017 (born after December 31, 1989);
  • They should live, work, or attend school in California, or come from California and attend school elsewhere;
  • Be the creator/founder or co-creator/founder (note that the Prize is awarded to individuals, not teams, even if the innovation is a team effort);
  • Geographic scope of innovation can by any;
  • You can focus on any issue, so long as the innovation addresses a community challenge and is grounded in a strong social purpose;
  • Your organization should be at the early-stage, but must have a working prototype;
  • The organization can be in any form of organization, so long as social purpose is central.

Selection Criteria

Candidates would be accessed based on the following:

  • New Idea: The innovator’s work represents a novel advancement over existing solutions to a community problem (for example, in education, health care or the environment).
  • Significance: The innovator has a working prototype of the solution that has been tested with some success and has strong potential to scale.
  • Innovation Leadership: The innovator has an entrepreneurial mindset and resilience.


  • Sign up and submit your application.
  • Please complete all sections of the application, upload your resume, and provide the link to your YouTube video before submitting the application. Your application must be submitted by 11:59 pm Pacific Time on October 15, 2017 to be considered for the Prize this year;
  • Finalists will be selected by December 15, 2017, and the Grand Prize and Honorable Mention winners will be selected at the end of a Demo Day in Silicon Valley on January 20, 2018. You must be present at Demo Day to be eligible to win an award. Finalists will receive Demo Day instructions in December.

If you have questions or need help, contact us at [email protected]

For more information,see FAQ or visit Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California.