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Parity Project Innovation Challenge 2024

Win a seat on Base 11’s cross-country showcase! Propose an idea for how science or technology can achieve economic parity for Black America.

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stage:
Won
prize:
$10,000

This challenge is closed

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Updates14
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About the Sponsors
Meet the 2024 PPIC Winners
Summary

Overview

We need your bold ideas to answer one BIG question:

How can technology help achieve economic parity for Black America? 

 

Submit your vision by March 12, 2024, for your chance to win cash prizes and a once-in-a-lifetime travel experience with global leaders on the Base 11 Grand Prize Showcase!

The Parity Project Innovation Challenge was created by Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (The Boulé) and Base 11 to showcase the talents of innovative and diverse innovators, and they want to hear about your vision for the future—so submit your challenge entry now! 

Ready to participate? Hit the “Solve This Challenge” button above, create your HeroX account, and read through the rest of this page to learn how to participate.

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Learn more about the Challenge Sponsors: Sigma Pi Phi and Base 11.

 


Guidelines

Your Mission

Identify a major form of inequality that impacts Black America—then investigate what science or tech-based solutions can address the disparity. How can your passion for science or technology provide a helpful solution?

Think boldly and be creative with your proposal! If you need some inspiration, here are a couple of examples:

  • Could a tool like Artificial Intelligence help fight the statistical discrimination Black Americans face when seeking a mortgage by removing human bias from the loan application review process?
  • Could we leverage Blockchain to help Black Americans have more ownership over their medical data and reduce skepticism around medical research?   
  • Is there a new device you would like to prototype, in order to solve a particular need that Black Americans experience.

Who Can Participate?

  • Age: We welcome participants from junior year of high school (grade 11) up to 34 years of age. If you are under 18 years old, your parent/legal guardian must create a HeroX account to submit the idea on your behalf and communicate with the Challenge Sponsors. You should still be the primary creator of the submission and should describe yourself in any ‘about me’ sections.
  • Geography: To participate, you must also be a legal resident or citizen of the United States, the United Kingdom, or the Bahamas.
  • Individual Entries: You may only submit one entry as an individual, not as a team—but you are encouraged to draw upon the knowledge and guidance of others while developing your idea!

How to Participate

  1. Submit your solution before the final challenge deadline, or submit by the early deadline to receive feedback and improve your final submission.
  2. Next, all eligible submissions will be scored against the judging criteria listed below to determine up to ten challenge finalists. 
  3. All finalists will be asked to develop a 3-5 minute pitch presentation that they will present on a virtual call with the challenge’s judging panel, followed by a brief Q&A. 
  4. After the pitch sessions have concluded, the final prize rankings and showcase invitation will be determined.


Timeline

(Final pitch session dates and time will be determined in conjunction with the finalists)


Prizes

Challenge winners can receive cash, connections, and an incredible travel experience! 

  1. Win a portion of the $10,000 prize pool! 
  2. Win an invitation to our Base 11 Grand Prize Showcase, including visits to New York City, Washington DC, and the Grand Boulé in San Diego. 
  3. Connect with esteemed global leaders who will help you take your idea—and your career—to the next level. 
  4. Receive invaluable feedback on your vision by presenting your idea to business executives, government representatives, and more! 

 

In total, up to $10,000 will be awarded across the following participant groups:

 

High School Juniors and Seniors 

(Grade 11 & 12)

College and University Students*

Early Career Adults and Entrepreneurs*

1st Place

$1,750

$1,750 +  Grand Prize Showcase

$1,750 + Grand Prize Showcase

2nd Place

$1000

$1,000

$1,500

3rd Place

N/A

$500

N/A

Judges’ Choice

$750 awarded at Judges’ discretion

up to age 34

† Final prize determinations and invitations to Base 11’s Grand Prize Showcase are subject to the discretion of the Challenge Sponsor. Additional invitations to the Grand Prize Showcase may be added to this challenge, and have been in past years of competition.

Please see the Official Rules below for more information. 


Base 11 Grand Prize Showcase

Perhaps most notably, the top challenge winners will receive the opportunity to travel, meet powerful global leaders, and present their ideas to investors, mentors, and industry experts. This year’s Grand Prize Showcase includes all-expenses-paid travel to: 

On this trip, you will bond with your fellow 1st Place winners, learn from the Base 11 and Boulé members traveling with you, and make memories as you visit these historically important cities.

Building Connections

Best of all, winners will have the opportunity to present their proposals to leaders from the ELC, JP Morgan Chase, the Boulé, and more! Past winners have received insightful feedback, discovered recruitment opportunities, and even found partners and sponsors for their projects. Winners have an incredible opportunity to network with industry leaders who are eager to meet and connect with innovative young people.   


“It was such a thrill to be able to share my passion and vision on stage in front of such a prestigious organization as the Boulé. After presenting, I received an astonishing amount of support from potential investors, mentors, and other advocates for what our team is building. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity!” 
- Kiante Bush, Parity Project Innovation Challenge 2022 Winner


Judging Criteria

Judges will evaluate submissions based on the following criteria to determine which entrants will be named as finalists and invited to the pitching round of the challenge. As you create your submission, aim to meet these criteria to maximize your score.

Judging CriterionDescriptionMaximum Score
Problem AnalysisThe chosen economic disparity addressed by the competitor is well-informed with research and/or sound reasoning.25
Proposed Solution

How effectively does the competitor’s proposed solution address the problem?

Does the competitor’s idea use science or technology to address the problem in an innovative way?

30
Planned OutcomesHow impactful and justified are the competitor’s planned outcomes?25
Implementation

Has the competitor provided a feasible timeline and list of resources for implementing their plan?

Does the competitor properly identify obstacles that the proposal is likely to face?

20

 

If you are looking for inspiration, 

check out the winners from prior PPIC cohorts:


Submission Form

Your Proposal for Parity will be submitted as responses to the following Submission Form fields. Feel free to conduct your research and plan out your responses in any way you choose, so long as you transfer your responses to the form located at this website.

Field TitleDescription
TitleProvide a title for your proposal
Short DescriptionGive your proposal a short description
 About You
Author Bio

Provide a summary of your current educational, career, or entrepreneurial pursuits. Please include any previous engagements in STEM-related activities. You may also include any personal experiences or aspirations related to your submission.

(750 characters maximum)

Geographic Location

Are you a legal resident of the United States, the United Kingdom, or the Bahamas? I.e. a citizen or current holder of a long-term visa?

  • Yes
  • No
Demographic group

To which demographic do you belong? 

  • High school junior or senior (Grade 11 or 12)
  • College or university student, up to age 34
  • Early career adult or entrepreneur, up to age 34 
  • I do not belong to any of these groups.
 Your Submission
What is the racial disparity your solution addresses?

Describe your chosen issue/disparity and how it affects the lives of Black Americans. Consider what the root cause of this disparity may be. Support your discussion with research and/or sound reasoning.

(1500 characters maximum)

Describe your solution to address this racial disparity?

Explain what technology, scientific practice, etc. that you are applying to the targeted economic disparity. How it will address the problem in a profound way? Be sure to justify any claims you make.

Why is your chosen technological or scientific approach the right fit for this particular problem? Explain how your idea addresses the racial disparity in an innovative or novel way that has not already been tried. Or if it has been tried before, how does your solution substantially build upon and go beyond those past examples?

(2500 characters maximum)

How would you implement your solution?

How would you like to see your idea develop and grow? What would be required to take your solution forward to the next level? Propose a timeline of project milestones for the next year, assuming that you continue to develop and implement your solution.

Include what resources you would need to implement your solution (i.e., additional expertise, funding, materials, physical space, etc.). The judges would like to know what is required to advance your solution.

(1500 characters maximum)

What are the potential obstacles to implementation?

What problems do you think you are likely to encounter while implementing your solution?
How would you address these obstacles, should they arise? 

(1000 characters maximum)

What is the potential impact of your solution?

Explain your vision for what potential impact your solution could have. What reasonably attainable effects could it have on your target community and their economic inequality?

Consider how you would measure success in your initiative in order to report on its effectiveness. Can success easily be measured and tracked? Or would tracking your impact require a more specialized approach? How so?

(1000 characters maximum)

Additional Info (optional)

Is there any further information you would like to add to your submission? Or special circumstances the judges should be aware of?

(500 characters maximum)

Video Summary (optional)

If you are feeling up to the task, we ask that you also submit a video between 3-5 minutes long where you try to ‘pitch’ your idea to an audience of judges or industry experts. Don’t forget to introduce yourself and make sure to mention why your solution will truly impact parity for Black America.

This video will only be viewed by the Challenge Sponsors, unless you permit for it to be shared otherwise after the challenge has concluded.
Please share your video as either a YouTube or Vimeo URL and ensure that it is visible to anyone who clicks on the link.

References

Ensure that any quotes or paraphrases you use in other parts of this submission form contain parenthetical references. Furthermore, please list the full citation for those references here in a list. You may include hyperlinks, if applicable. Look up how to properly cite your sources online if you are not sure what format to use.

(4000 characters maximum)


Official Challenge Rules

Participation Eligibility:

The Challenge (The Parity Project Innovation Challenge) is open to individuals from their Junior year of high school to students, professionals, and entrepreneurs up to 34 years of age. Participation in the challenge is limited to qualified legal residents and citizens of the United States, the United Kingdom, or the Bahamas. Submissions must be made in English. All challenge-related communication will be in English. 

This challenge is only accepting submissions by individuals, not by teams.

If the competitor is under 18, their parent/legal guardian must create a HeroX account to submit their idea on their behalf. The competitor should still be the primary creator of the submission content. 

The Challenge Sponsor reserves the right to determine the eligibility of any Competitor. This potentially includes admitting younger competitors into the High School category of the challenge.

No specific qualifications or expertise in the targeted fields of STEM or the Social Sciences is required. Prize organizers encourage all individuals to compete and propose new solutions. 

To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement.

Registration and Submissions:

Submissions must be made online (only), via upload to the HeroX.com website, at or before 5:00 pm ET on March 12, 2024 in order to be eligible for this Parity Project Innovation Challenge. All entries must be completed through the submission form and all uploads to the form must be in the requested format(s). No late submissions will be accepted.

Intellectual Property Rights:

As detailed in the Challenge-Specific Agreement, each participant will retain all intellectual property rights to their technology.

Selection of Winners:

Prizes will be awarded based on the Judging Criteria section above and the quality of the pitch session. In the case of a tie, the winner(s) will be selected at the discretion of the Judging Panel.

The Challenge Sponsor reserves the right to redistribute any unawarded prizes or pitch opportunities to members of other competitor groups should any competitor group not receive enough eligible submissions to award the maximum number of prizes. Furthermore, the Judges’ Choice and Honorable Mention prize(s) will be awarded at the discretion of the Judging Panel and Challenge Sponsor in consultation with the Judging Criteria. The Challenge Sponsor reserves the final right to determine how many and which winners will be invited to participate in the Base 11 Grand Prize Showcase.

In the event that none of the submissions meet the Judging Criteria, the sponsor will award the following consolation prize(s) to the eligible competitor(s) that score the highest (up to one consolation prize per competitor group):

  • Consolation Prize: $200

Awarding of the Prize:

The Individual Submitter is automatically designated as the Recipient of the prize monies. The Individual’s name must also match the Authorized Person on the receiving Bank Account information provided. No changes are permitted to the prize Recipient after the Submission Deadline date. If you wish to change who would receive the prize monies, those changes must be completed prior to the Submission Deadline.

Up to 9 eligible finalists may be chosen to participate in the Pitch Sessions in order to compete for the final prizes.

If a 1st place winner is selected who is also younger than 18 years of age, their participation in the sponsored Base 11 trip(s) will be subject to agreement between their legal parent/guardian and the Challenge Sponsor.

The timing and format of the 1st place sponsored Base 11 Grand Prize Showcase is subject to change due to the state of public health restrictions or other unforeseen restrictions. Furthermore, the Challenge Sponsor reserves the right to determine all final trip itineraries.

All Grand Prize Showcase attendees under the age of 18 years old will require a chaperone. Chaperones may either be provided by Base 11, the competitor’s family, or from the competitor's partner organization (e.g. a High School counselor approved by the competitor’s family). All costs associated with travel fees and boarding for the chaperone will be the financial responsibility of the chaperone/their organization. If a Base 11 chaperone is selected, those related costs will be covered by Base 11.

Furthermore, all Grand Prize Showcase attendees are allowed to invite one member of their family to travel with them, such as a spouse, parent, or family member. However, this guest attendee is subject to approval by Base 11 and will be financially responsible for any additional expenses related to their trip, such as providing their own flights, insurance, transportation, room and board, etc. These guest attendees may not be invited to join certain activities and events, per the Challenge Sponsor’s discretion. Base 11 is not legally responsible for the invited guests and all invited guests’ permission to attend the Grand Prize Showcase events may be revoked at any time at the Challenge Sponsor’s discretion. 

Judging Panel:

The determination of the winners will be made by a group of judges and technical experts selected by Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity and Base 11.

Additional Information:

  • By participating in the challenge, each competitor agrees to adhere to the HeroX Intellectual Integrity Policy and promises to submit only their original idea. Any indication of "copying" amongst competitors is grounds for disqualification.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically disqualified.
  • All ineligible applicants will be automatically removed from the competition with no recourse or reimbursement.
  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.
  • Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.

For further rules, please see the Challenge-Specific Agreement linked below.

Timeline
Updates14

Challenge Updates

Announcing the 2024 Parity Project Innovation Challenge Winners

April 11, 2024, 10 a.m. PDT by Shane Jenkins

Base 11 and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity (The Boulé) are excited to announce the following challenge winners of the 2024 Parity Project Innovation Challenge. The winners are:

 

College/University Category

(Tie) 1st place - $2,000 + Grand Prize Showcase Invitation

  • BondedDollas - by Nagea Kirkley
  • An application that socially engineers the Black American masses to spend money and volunteer time with Black formal organizations.

(Tie) 1st place - $2,000 + Grand Prize Showcase Invitation

  • Probono but not for free - by Quavoris Wellington
  • A marketplace that connects small businesses owners who happen to be minority/ POC to business students and professionals.

2nd place - $1,000

  • The Digital Divide - by Precious Johnson
  • Provide free high speed internet to underserved areas such as black communities. Also, create an app that allows users to have internet.

High School Category

1st place - $2,000 + Grand Prize Showcase Invitation

  • Salt to Fresh: A Water Desalination Device - by Stephany Gutierrez
  • A theoretical desalinator utilizing modern tech offers the possibility of fresh, drinkable water for the Black community and those in need.

In addition to the increased cash prizes offered to our challenge winners, the remaining funds from the overall prize purse will be directed towards off-setting the cost for all showcase attendees to participate in exciting professional opportunities offered by Sigma Pi Phi at the Grand Boulé conference. 

The challenge winners should keep an eye on their inboxes for information from HeroX and Base 11 about their prize payouts, further opportunities to engage, and about the Grand Prize Showcase. Showcase invitees from the 2023 PPIC can also expect an email in their inboxes in the near future.

Congratulations once again to our winners!

 

(Please note: the distribution of the Judge’s Choice prize to the grand prize winners and the absence of prize winners from the High School and Early Career Adult categories is due to the low number of eligible submissions in those categories. The Challenge Sponsors would still like to extend their thanks to all of the challenge competitors and to encourage them to keep turning their ideas into a reality!)


Thank you for your submissions!

March 12, 2024, 2:30 p.m. PDT by Shane Jenkins

Just like that, it’s over! Thank you to all of you who sent in submissions. We can’t wait to finally see what you’ve been working so hard on. 

Crowdsourcing would be nothing without the crowd — that’s you! Thank you for being an indispensable part of this process, and using your brainpower for the greater good.

Congratulations on completing your submission. This is not an easy process, and you deserve a pat on the back for your hard work and dedication. Thank you!


Eight Hours Left!

March 12, 2024, 6 a.m. PDT by Shane Jenkins

You now have less than a day left to submit your Parity Project Innovation Challenge challenge. Now’s the time to make final changes and send it off!

Please remember that the deadline is March 12, 2024 at 5:00pm Eastern Time. We don’t accept any late submissions, so do your best to get it in ahead of time.

We can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with! Best of luck.


Two Day Warning

March 10, 2024, 8 a.m. PDT by Shane Jenkins

It’s the final push! Your project is due in two days, on March 12, 2024 at 5:00pm Eastern Time.

Whether you’re just finishing off the final tweaks, or you’ve got a whole project left to complete, we have faith in you (here’s looking at you, procrastinators). Keep on trucking, and you’ll be done soon.

As you make the final tweaks to your project, it’s a good idea to begin the submission process now. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the submission portal and make sure that all your files are in the correct format.

If you have any last minute questions, now is the time to ask them. Use the forum or comment directly on this post, and we’ll get back to you right away.

Good luck, innovators!


Early Feedback Provided!

March 8, 2024, 10:57 a.m. PST by Shane Jenkins

Hello PPIC competitors! For all of the competitors who were able to submit their solutions before our early submission feedback deadline, you have just been sent the judges' personalized feedback through the HeroX messaging system. Please check your HeroX or email inboxes to find this message and don't forget to edit and resubmit your solutions before the upcoming March 12th deadline!

For those who have yet to submit, you still have plenty of time and there is still plenty of space for new competitors to join and stand a good chance at a prize! So don't hesitate to submit!

As you finalize your entries, we want to encourage all of you to really flesh out the details around your concepts, to analyze whether your responses tie back to the core challenge premise and judging criteria, and to consider submitting your 'pitch' video recording, if you have the time to create one.

Good luck to everyone!


Forum1
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winners
High School 1st place
College/University 1st place
College/University 2nd place
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Meet the 2024 PPIC Winners