Three Teams Chosen to Compete for the $50,000 Innovation Prize: Public Asked to Comment and Help Chose Winning Idea

  • Published
  • On February 15, 2017
Gondola at sunset

TELLURIDE, CO – (February 15, 2017) – Three innovative ideas are now competing to improve various aspects of life in Telluride. The teams have recently been selected as finalists for the Innovation Prize to pitch their ideas for improving the quality of life of the Telluride region: WorkAhead, a start-up company based in Finland, believes it can help Telluride become a community where employees are treated fairly and want to come to work through proven survey and support methods; the Pinhead Climate Institute is proposing a market-based solution to neutralize local carbon consumption; and the start-up company, Liberty Mobility Now,  aims to improve  access to medical and health care services through a new transportation system.


The public has the unique opportunity to make comments and help improve these project concepts prior to the teams pitching their ideas at the final event on March 15th from 4pm to 6pm at the Elks Lodge in Telluride. The Telluride Foundation invites the community to participate in the comment period as well as help select the winner at the March 15th event.  Please RSVP to vista@telluride.dreaminblog.com to attend.


The Telluride Foundation received numerous applications for this inaugural Innovation Prize. The Innovation Prize is a contest in which businesses, teams, and nonprofits applied to solve a problem in the Telluride Region within one year. Each of these teams, are vying for a chance to win the $50,000 prize. “It’s a unique opportunity to have a grant program like this to promote creativity, innovation, and problem solving for real issues in our community,” said Marc Nager, one of the Innovation Prize judges and VP Innovation at the Telluride Foundation. “I hope we use this opportunity to rally around creating real solutions as a community, and I look forward to the potential impact of this year’s winner!”


Now that the finalists have been chosen, the Telluride Foundation is opening the contest to public input starting February 15th. Anyone can view the finalists’ complete applications online at https://www.f6s.com/innovationprize/discuss. The public is encouraged to engage in the application process by leaving both a constructive comment and what they liked about the proposal, as well as what the teams can do better to solve the stated problem; comments will provide the applicants with public insight and additional knowledge about the issues. Public comment will end March 5th, 2017.


The three finalists include:

  • WorkAhead, a start-up company, proposes to use employee surveys to help create fair working conditions and more inclusive workplaces in the region. They intend to do this by partnering with employers to implement anonymous surveys, providing a picture of what they are doing well and what to improve; they are currently conducting such efforts to create a healthy and fair economy in Chile and Finland.
  • The Pinhead Climate Institute, plans to reduce Telluride’s carbon footprint by creating a carbon trade market, working with local and regional farmers. They propose a market-based solution to neutralize carbon consumption of the Galloping Goose bus system and Telluride airport, through regionally-generated carbon offsets. Eventually, they hope to use these off-sets to power the entire bus fleet with electricity and expand their impact beyond just the bus system.
  • Liberty is proposing an on-demand transportation solution, dubbed the “rural Uber”, to address the lack of access to healthcare and wellness for the elderly and underserved residents in the region; currently these populations often need to drive as far as Montrose and Grand Junction to get the medical services they need. The start-up company will provide a software platform to match riders with drivers, a local call center, and recruitment and training services for drivers.


Following the period of public input, there will be a final pitch event on March 15th at the Elks Lodge from 4-6pm, and the public is encouraged to attend. A panel of Telluride Foundation staff and board will make the final decision along with the public attending the event, who will also be able to vote for the winning team. The Telluride Foundation hopes to draw a large crowd to engage in the process of spectating and voting, and a cash bar will also be available. The winner will be announced at the conclusion of the event.


The Telluride Foundation exists to create a stronger Telluride community through the promotion and support of philanthropy. It is a nonprofit, apolitical community foundation that provides year-round support for local organizations involved in arts, education, athletics, charitable causes, land conservation and other community-based efforts through technical assistance, education and grant making. As a grant maker, The Foundation awards grants to qualified applicants who serve the people living and working in the Telluride area for the purpose of enhancing the quality of life within the region. For more information on the Telluride Foundation, visit www.telluridefoundation.org.