Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California (2018-19)


The Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California honors the talent, creativity, daring, and humanitarian spirit of young social entrepreneurs. We're looking for creative leaders who are early in their journey, and have not yet received major recognition or substantial outside investment, but show great potential. These are the innovators for whom a cash award of this size is most meaningful.


The Foundation will award up to three Grand Prizes of $40,000 each to individuals or teams of up to four members. Grand Prize winners who applied as individuals will receive $40,000; winners who applied as teams will split the $40,000 award amount among the team members. Honorable Mention winners will receive $5,000, to be split in the same manner.


Please complete all sections of the application for all applicants, upload your resume(s), and provide the link to your YouTube video before submitting the application. You can preview the application hereYou must submit by 11:59 pm Pacific Time on October 15, 2018 to be considered for the Prize this year. Out of fairness to all applicants, we will not consider late applications.

We will select finalists by December 14, 2018, and will select the Grand Prize and Honorable Mention winners at the end of a Demo Day in Silicon Valley on January 26, 2019. 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 prize@westly.org.



Innovators may apply as individuals or as teams of up to four members. If you are applying as a team, at least 50% of the team must meet ALL eligibility requirements (i.e., at least one member of a two-person team, and at least two members of a three- or four-person team).

  • Age: Under age 28 as of December 31, 2018 (born after December 31, 1990) 
  • Residence: Live, work, or attend school in California, or come from California and attend school elsewhere
  • Role: Creator/founder or co-creator/founder 
  • Geographic scope of innovation: Any
  • Issue Focus: Any, so long as the innovation addresses a community challenge and is grounded in a strong social purpose
  • Stage of organization: Early-stage, but must have a working prototype
  • Form of organization: Any, so long as social purpose is central
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