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Competition for USA Nonprofits to Create Innovative
Solutions to Assist Small Minority-Led Businesses

Truist Foundation Inspire Awards

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Truist Foundation and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - MIT Solve

Conf. Date:

03/11/22

Deadline Date:

05/16/22 12 PM (Noon) EST

Description:

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Competition for USA nonprofit organizations to create innovative solutions to assist small business owners. The purpose of the competition is to generate initiatives that support racially diverse and women-led small businesses. Competition finalists will receive training and mentoring to support their efforts.

The Truist Foundation is especially interested in supporting solutions in, or with plans to expand to, at least one of the following 18 markets in which Truist operates: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Texas, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., New Jersey, Delaware.

The Truist Foundation and MIT Solve are thrilled to be partners in launching the inaugural Inspire Awards to identify innovative nonprofit-driven solutions that provide support to grow, develop, and sustain racially diverse and/or women-led small businesses in the United States. The Challenge is seeking organizations driving a new frontier for entrepreneurship across the United States. Truist Foundation and MIT Solve welcome bold solutions with transformational potential that span across a range of challenges faced by small business owners, including:

  • Connecting small business owners and key stakeholders such as investors, local policymakers, and mentors with the relevant experience to improve coordination, collaboration, and knowledge bases within the small business ecosystem
  • Advocating for and shaping policy that supports small business owners and/or place-based efforts in their geographic areas, including increased access to resources, removal of structural barriers, and access to infrastructure (i.e. broadband)
  • Offering focused guidance/professional development for building specific functional skills for internal staff such as strategic planning, human resources, process improvement, and research and testing products/services
  • Assisting with access to capital, capital campaigns, and/or financial education and information
  • Supporting and fostering growth to scale through comprehensive and relevant technical support assistance such as legal aid, fiscal management for sustainability, marketing, and procurement. 

The Challenge will consider solutions in the Pilot, Growth, or Scale stages of development. See definitions in FAQs, in Pre-Application Information, below. 

All finalists will participate in a 5 month tailored support program run by MIT Solve and the Truist Foundation that will include:

  • A comprehensive needs assessment to determine what resources and support are most appropriate to accelerate their impact.
  • Access to a network of resource partners, mentors, and coaches across industries and sectors.
  • Learning and development modules aimed at refining business model, theory of change, and plans for scaling.
  • Invitation to participate in Solve’s annual flagship Solve at MIT event held in May each year.
  • A monitoring and evaluation track to support finalist teams in building their impact measurement practice.
  • A peer-to-peer network to build a community of practice with dedicated spaces to convene throughout the duration of the support program.
  • “Solveathon” workshop focused on refining the finalist solutions and pitch consultation to help finalists prepare for the event.
  • Wraparound services including an invitation to a two-day Truist Leadership Institute Retreat in 2023. 

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 201981

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Semifinalists who don’t advance to the finalist stage will receive $10,000 each.
- $250,000 for the First Place Winner
- $150,000 for the Second Place Winner
- $75,000 for the Audience Favorite
- $25,000 for each runner up team

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Inspire Awards are open to nonprofit organizations that meet the following requirements:
- Hold a registered 501(c)(3) status with the IRS.
- Headquartered and currently deployed in at least one U.S. state.
- The organization is operating at least at a Growth Stage of Development: A registered 501(c)(3) organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in one or, ideally, several communities, which is poised for further growth in multiple communities or countries. Organizations at the Growth Stage should have a proven track record with an annual operating budget - see Organization vs. Solution for more information.
- The organization’s solution is at least at the Pilot Stage of Development: a product, service, or business model that is in the process of being built and tested with a small number of beneficiaries or working to gain traction - see Organization vs. Solution for more information.
- Team Lead must be 18 years or older to apply: The Team Lead should be the CEO, Executive Director, Primary Investigator, or other key leader for your solution. If your solution is selected as a semi–finalist, this person will be expected to present the solution to judges during an interview session, and if selected as a finalist for the Inspire Awards, they will be the lead participant in the support program.

The Challenge will not consider organizations in the Idea or Early Stages. See FAQs, in Pre-Application Information, below, for definitions.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Info Session: Truist Foundation Inspire Awards
12:00PM - 1:00PM ET
March 11, 2022
Event Details: https://solve.mit.edu/events/info-session-truist-foundation-inspire-awards
Register: https://mit.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_OxELA1kwTUC7CFwWHdfy3A

This informational session is your opportunity to learn more about Truist Foundation Inspire Awards. Join to learn more about the application, timeline, eligibility requirements, available awards, and more.

Pre-Application Information:

Challenge Timeline:
- February 16, 2022: Challenge Opens
- May 16, 2022 12pm [noon] EST: Deadline for Applicants to Submit a Solution
- June 21, 2022: Semifinalists invited for Interview Session with Judges
- July 1, 2022: Finalists Announced
- July-November 2022: Finalist Support Program
- October 20, 2022: Pitch Event for Finalists and Winner Announcement

Once the submission deadline passes, judging will begin. After an initial screening by MIT Solve staff and community reviewers, Challenge judges will select a group of 15 semifinalists with the most promising solutions. The semifinalists will participate in an interview session with Challenge Judges who will then select a cohort of seven finalists. Finalists will be awarded funding and participate in a five-month wraparound support and capacity-building program. Toward the conclusion of the support program, finalists will be invited to pitch their solutions at a pitch event, where judges will then select the award winners.

FAQs: https://solve.mit.edu/challenges/truist-foundation-inspire-awards/custom/faq-1#challenge-subnav-offset
How to Apply: https://solve.mit.edu/how-to-apply-to-a-challenge

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit a Solution: https://solve.mit.edu/login?selected_challenge_id=130

Inquiries, contact Sara Monteabaro: sara.monteabaro@solve.mit.edu

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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