“We have a tight budget, so this money gives us the extra leeway to try new things, think of different ways to pursue marketing, and take some bigger risks than we would have otherwise,” says Marley, a member at WeWork Playa Vista in Los Angeles. “We’re going to use it to take some big swings to break into the market.”
In a way, WeWork Demo Day was a beta test for the Creator Awards, a global initiative to “recognize and reward the creators of the world.” Over the course of a year, WeWork will be giving out more than $20 million at a series of events taking place in cities spanning the globe.
WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann says he’s thrilled to see the Creator Awards taking shape.
“While we have been dreaming of the Creator Awards for years, we are inspired by the fact that our WeWork community has recently reached a new milestone: we now are 100,000 members strong,” says Neumann. “These members are pioneers leading an even bigger movement.”
The Creator Awards will be open to everyone, whether or not they are members of WeWork. Neumann emphasizes that “anyone who brings a new idea into the world, pursues their passion, and believes in something greater than oneself, is a creator.”
The first Creator Awards is in Washington, D.C. on March 28. Subsequent events will take place in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Winners from each event will come together for the global finals, to be held in New York City on November 30.
Each day of events will be punctuated by pitches from finalists competing for financial awards, which will be available in three categories:
- Individuals with an idea or a project that needs funding
- Businesses or nonprofits that have launched but are still learning
- Businesses or nonprofits that have a proven record of success and are ready for the next level
According to winners at Demo Day, these awards can be a game changer for companies and organizations looking to reach the next level.
“It has already catapulted us ahead by several months,” says Marchelle Sellers, CEO of a platform to simplify charitable donations called Charity On Top. The member of Los Angeles’s WeWork 177 E Colorado Blvd says she appreciates being “part of such a dynamic and forward-thinking community.”
Jill Bigelow, founder of a company making products for new mothers called Pelv-Ice, says her company’s prize money “allowed us to launch our sales team expansion sooner than anticipated.”
“It’s going to allow us to take advantage of a bunch of opportunities that we were going to have to skip before we won,” says Bigelow, a member of WeWork 7083 Hollywood Blvd. “It will certainly help us scale faster.”
Dane Scarborough, creator of a high-tech tape measure called QuickDraw, says the greatest benefit of the competition isn’t financial.
“The prize money is greatly appreciated,” says Scarborough, a member of WeWork 925 N La Brea Ave, “but the real impact on my business is the inspiration from this event to look for opportunities where we, as a company, can have a greater positive impact on the world.”