RESEARCH AND INNOVATION PRIZE CATEGORY SUMMARY                                                              

Purple Prize 2019

UH Research and Innovation Prize Category

“Exploration is the engine that drives innovation. Innovation drives economic growth. So let's all go exploring.”

-Edith Widder, Oceanic Research and Conservation Association

We recognize the most game-changing innovations are rarely products of imitation, so in addition to incentivizing the creation of place-based, indigenously-rooted technology startups, we are supporting the progression of innovative research   in alignment with our core principles.

Researchers from the University of Hawaiʻi are invited to participate in the Building Phase of the Purple Prize to learn how to conceptualize and pursue the commercial application of their research.

Teams have a chance to win a monetary prize if they are successful.

The Building Phase

The Building Phase is a 3-month, mentor-driven innovation competition geared toward helping mission-driven startups optimized for community abundance and regeneration build their product, launch their business, go to market, and become investment ready.

Watch the video HERE!

Download the timeline HERE!


We understand the demands of being a student but want to help you to explore the opportunity to commercialize the research you are working on and to realize the impacts you aspire to achieve.

The Building Phase is highly flexible and is customizable based on the needs and interests of teams, but it is also fast-paced. Participating teams can utilize our suite of valuable and robust support services as much or as little as they'd like. We're here to help.

  1. Workshops

During the Building Phase, we provide three optional workshops on business, intellectual property law (IP), and pitching for investment.

  1. Mentorship

Mentors serve a key role in the Building Phase of the Purple Prize. We have an extensive network of mentors who are able to answer questions and offer advice when needed. Several mentors have also committed to supporting one team over the course of the Building Phase.

At the start of the Purple Prize, we match each team with one mentor based on the needs of the team. We have mentors with the following backgrounds and areas of expertise:

  1. Advisory Services

The core team behind the Purple Prize has deep expertise in tech, business development and starting up, startup financing, and Hawaiian culture. Each of us are determined to see Purple Prize teams succeed. We are always available to offer advice and make valuable strategic connections.

  1. Support Funding

Teams participating in the Research Commercialization Prize Category will have the ability to request up to $2,000 for research, business development, travel, and operating costs throughout the Building Phase of the Purple Prize using this form.

  1. Free or low-cost access to business or tech-development products - Wonder is new kind of research service that provides access to the intellect and fact-finding skills of a distributed network of researchers around the world. They provide a beautifully simple way for anyone – from individuals up to Fortune 500s – to access knowledge when they need it most.

AlgorithmHub - Local end-to-end cloud development house supporting Purple Prize teams.

Graphic Design Services and Contact Marketing - consultant.


Must be currently enrolled or employed by the University of Hawaiʻi.

How to apply

If you are interested in participating in the UH Research Commercialization Category of the Purple Prize, please email A representative from the team will contact you.