[Skip to Content]

Official Rules of the Pitch for Purpose Competition  
(“Award Rules”) 

Pitch for Purpose is a startup pitch competition presented by the Digital Empowers, a program of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, with support from Tata Consultancy Services. Pitch for Purpose recognizes social entrepreneurs and mission-aligned, early-stage technologies striving to make a positive impact on the world through innovative tech-driven solutions. 

Digital Empowers will invite the six highest scoring, eligible founders to Washington, DC where they will compete in a live pitch competition, receive access to development resources, and funding opportunities. 

Eligibility for Entry: 

To be eligible to apply for the Pitch for Purpose Competition (the “Competition”): 

  1. An Applicant must be represented by the respective startup’s founder and part of its current executive team. 

  1. Founder and startup must be based in the United States, but its work may have an international focus.  

  1. Startup must have raised less than $1 million in total funding. 

  1. Startup does not need to be a registered business or nonprofit. The startup must be focused on building solutions to social, cultural, or environmental issues. 

  1. Applicant must agree to all the Award Rules, including participating in the Pitch competition on October 9, 2020, which will be part of the 2020 Digital Empowers National Summit (“Live Pitch Competition”), if chosen. 

Employees, officers and directors of Sponsors and any affiliated entities, and their respective immediate families (parents, spouse, children, siblings) or individuals residing in their household (whether or not related) are not eligible Applicants. 

Application Procedure: 

Applications may be submitted by Applicant using the application form on the OpenWater Awards Management Software beginning June 1, 2020. Applications will be valid only if the form is fully completed and submitted online any time before 11:59pm PDT on Friday, August 5, 2020 (“Applications”). 

Criteria for Selection of Preliminary Finalists: 

An independent Finalist Selection Committee, including representatives from the public and private sector, will choose six (6) Preliminary Finalists from among all eligible Applications. 

The Finalist Selection Committee will evaluate applications against the following criteria:  

  • To be eligible for consideration, applicants must have completed the questionnaire and uploaded a 60-second pitch preview video, uploaded as either a digital file upload or URL, and submitted along with the application via the OpenWater platform; 

  • The strength of applicant’s responses will be based on the following considerations: 

  • Innovation: What is new or innovative about your proposed solution?  

  • Execution Plan: What is the marketing and sales strategy and how will you scale your offering?  

  • Social Mission: What positive impact does your business have on society or the environment?  

  • Business Model: How do you generate revenue and how big can your startup become?  

  • Progress: What is your traction and key milestones to date? (product development, partnerships, sales, downloads, website traffic, etc.)  

  • Team: What is the expertise of your team? 

All Applications will undergo one initial review by no less than three external judges from the Finalist Selection Committee. Scores will be awarded by a point system. An Applicant's final score will be based on the average number of points awarded by the judges. 

Odds of being named a Preliminary Finalist depend on the number of eligible Applicants received by 11:59 p.m. PDT on August 5, 2020. 

Preliminary Finalists will be notified on or before August 26, 2020 through the contact information provided in the Application. 

Preliminary Finalists will need to enter into a Preliminary Finalist Agreement confirming their eligibility for entry, confirming that they will supply information as to their qualifications as requested, and otherwise representing that they have read and understand the Award Rules and agree to the terms and conditions of the Award Rules, within fourteen (14) days of notification. If such notification cannot be made or the Agreement is not executed and timely returned, the Finalist Selection Committee will be free to nominate another eligible Applicant until there are six (6) Preliminary Finalists who meet these requirements. 

Selection of Competition Winner and Audience Favorite:  

Sponsors will hold a Live Pitch Competition on October 8, 2020. Preliminary Finalists must agree to participate in the 2020 Digital Empowers National Summit and Pitch for Purpose Competition which will take place virtually, and confirm and supply information as to their qualifications, and otherwise abide by the terms and conditions of the executed Preliminary Finalist Agreement and the Award Rules.  

Prior to the Competition, Preliminary Finalists must participate in a pitch prep session Sessions to be scheduled based on Preliminary Finalists’ and Mentors’ mutual availability.  

Each Preliminary Finalist will present during the 2020 Digital Empowers National Summit. Preliminary Finalists must participate fully in, the Live Pitch Competition to be eligible for Competition Winner.  

Preliminary Finalists will be evaluated by the Winner Selection Committee, an external panel of judges for the Live Pitch Competition. 

Each Preliminary Finalists’ pitch will be limited to three minutes. The Winner Selection Committee will follow each Preliminary Finalists’ pitch with three minutes of Q&A. Should the Live Pitch Competition take place in Washington, DC, only a single representative of each Preliminary Finalists may complete the pitch and Q&A and cannot be joined by a co-founder onstage at any time. 

One Competition Winner will be selected from among the Preliminary Finalists by the Winner Selection Committee, and one Audience Favorite will be selected among the Finalists by the National Summit attendees and online viewers. Should the Competition not take place in Washington, DC the Audience Favorite will be determined solely by online viewers. Winner Selection Committee will determine a winner based on Preliminary Finalists’ pitch performance, presentation, and business model. 

The Audience Favorite will be based on the popular vote of in-person and online viewers. 

The Competition Winner and Audience Favorite will be announced during the Digital Empowers National Summit, which will be held on Friday, October 8, 2020. 


Each of the Preliminary Finalists will receive: 

  • If the Competition is held in person: 

  • Virtual exhibit space at the 2020 National Summit; 

  • Pre-event pitch coaching and mentorship 

  • Media and promotional opportunities 

  • Access to tech solutions and services from Tata Consultancy Services 

The Competition Winner will also receive: 

  • $15,000 cash prize from Tata Consulting Services;  

List of the Competition Winner’s, Audience Favorite’s, and Preliminary Finalists’ names and state of legal residence will be available after October 9, 2020 at U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Corporate Citizenship Center, 1615 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20062 or through the organization's online presence for a period of two months. 

General Rules: 

All applications must be submitted online (OpenWater platform). Only those applications submitted through the online application process will be accepted. Applications received by any other means will not be considered. No application can be individually acknowledged, returned or withdrawn after submission. Neither Sponsors nor their parents, affiliated entities or agents, are responsible for any illegible, lost, stolen late, damaged, incomplete, mutilated or misdirected Applications or other documents. Applicants are responsible for insuring proper contact information has been submitted and is maintained throughout the Award contest to allow communications about the Award contest. 

Erroneous or false information provided in the application will result in immediate disqualification of the Applicant. Sponsors and the Selection Committee otherwise retain the right to disqualify any Applicant in their sole discretion. 

If, for any reason, the Award contest is not capable of running as planned, Sponsors reserve the right in their sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest at any time. 

By submitting an Application, or by being an Applicant, you understand that there is no joint venture, partnership, employment or agency relation between you and Sponsors arising from any application, Prize, or Award. 

Preliminary Finalists, the Audience Favorite and the Competition Winner are individually responsible for payment of all applicable local, state and federal taxes.  Finalists, Audience Favorite and the Competition Winner will be required to submit taxpayer identification information and any other information required for the reporting of any Award, Prize Pack or other payments made as Prizes or Awards as part of this contest. 

Preliminary Finalists must furnish a digital photograph (of a quality not less than 300 dpi) featuring the entrant’s head and shoulders and taken within the last year (“Qualifying Photograph”). Qualifying Photograph must be submitted as part of the preliminary Finalist’s application. Deliverables requested by Sponsors may also include (if applicable and available) logo, supplemental still images (300dpi) and video footage (MPEG, H.264 or ProRes, HD preferably). 

The Preliminary Finalist Agreement requires that each Preliminary Finalist grant permission to Sponsors to use the Qualifying Photograph, name, likeness, statements, biographical information, including city and state of residence, and the submitted Application information in perpetuity, worldwide, royalty-free in any and all media now known or which may be developed in the future to promote the Award and the objectives the Award seeks to further. 

The decisions of the Selection Committee and Winner Selection Committee are final, and Applicants and Preliminary Finalists specifically agree that the decision of the Selection Committee and Winner Selection Committee and any decision of Sponsors is not subject to review or appeal in any forum whatsoever, including courts of law. 


Any information provided as part of this Contest is provided according to the website Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, as they may be amended from time to time, and as otherwise provided for in these Award Rules. 

By submitting an Application, or by being an Applicant, you agree on behalf of yourself and each of your respective heirs, executors, administrators, legal representatives, agents, successors and assigns (“Releasing Party”) to the Award Rules and the decisions of the Selection Committee and Sponsors, as applicable, and any affiliated entities or persons. By submitting an Application, or by being an Applicant, you release, defend and hold harmless Sponsors, and their affiliates, advisors, agents, licensees, and any social or other media used for the Award, and individuals on the Selection Committee, and any of their respective officers, directors and employees as applicable (“Released Parties”), from any and all causes of action, suits, debts, dues, sums of money, accounts, reckonings, bonds, bills, covenants, contracts, controversies, promises, lost profits, indirect or direct damages, consequential damage, incidental damages, punitive or exemplary damages, judgments, claims and demands whosoever, in law, or equity, whether known or unknown, foreseen or unforeseen, which any Releasing Party has or may ever had, now or hereafter, arising from or related to the Award contest, these Official Rules, any Application materials, including but not limited to any use or non-use of any Application materials, delivery, misdelivery, acceptance, possession, attendance at, travel related to, misuse, and/or use of or inability to use, any Prize, or technical or other failures of any kind. 

The Sponsors of this contest are: 


Corporate Citizenship Center 
1615 H Street, NW 
Washington, DC 20062 



101 Park Avenue 

New York, NY 10178