Startup Culture Awards – Official Rules

These Terms and Conditions govern the TechOhio Startup Culture Awards contest. Acceptance of these Terms and Conditions is a prerequisite to entering the contest and entrants must observe these Terms and Conditions always.

The TechOhio Startup Culture Awards encourages Ohio’s innovation community to crown the startup with the best company culture. The community, not TechOhio, will determine the winner through voting. Two winners—one early-stage and one late-stage—will be awarded coverage across TechOhio-controlled properties, including an article and high-quality video about the company, as well as bragging rights for the year! The TechOhio Startup Culture Awards will take place over two phases, a nomination phase and a voting phase, from October 1, 2018 – November 16, 2018. Companies participating must be based in the state of Ohio.

These two phases and the rules associated are listed below:

Nomination Phase: October 1, 2018 – October 19, 2018

The nomination phase is the two-week period where Ohio startups, employees and other parties can nominate a company for the TechOhio Startup Culture Awards. The nomination process is simply driven by number of nominations. So, it’s important that if you’re participating, you share information about the competition to your network including the necessary voting items that are listed below.


Nominations are now being accepted through October 19, 2018 (click here). To nominate a company, this information will be needed:

  • Name of company
  • Business category:
    • The competition is broken into two startup categories.
      • Please choose one for your business:
        • Early Stage: Early-stage companies are heavily focused on product development, building a team of employees, and formalizing customer acquisition strategies. Funding rounds are typically targeted towards developing your product and exploring market potential.
        • Late Stage: Late-stage startups have demonstrated their viability to this point with a well-known product, existing customers and a strong market presence. Funding rounds are primarily focused on growing the company and obtaining new customers.
      • One or two sentence description on why you’re nominating this business (this is for promotional purposes at the end of the competition).

The nomination period will end on October 19, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. ET. After the nomination period, the TechOhio team will review nominations and select five finalists per category based on the number of nominations. This means the competition will have a total of 10 finalists split across two categories. The top five startups in each category that have the most nominations will become a finalist.

Voting Phase: October 29, 2018 – November 16, 2018 (four weeks total)

The voting phase will start on October 29, 2018 at 9 a.m. ET. Similar to the nomination phase, the finalists will be voted on during this period through an online poll that lists the finalists. The rules:

  • Each vote will count as one point per business, so it’s very important that finalists are sharing the voting link with their network.
  • Voting is open to anyone.

Finalists are also encouraged to engage with social media prompts on TechOhio’s Twitter. Startups that are competing, and their employees, can share photos on Twitter using the hashtag #StartupCultureAwards and tagging @TechOhioGov to highlight their company culture.

Example prompts may include:

  • Workplace recreation (Example Tweet: Photo of in-office ping pong table)
  • Drink & dining draws (Example Tweet: Photo of favorite snack offered at that startup)
  • Remote work flexibility (Example Tweet: Employee selfies while working from home)
  • Social status (Example: Photo from a summer staff outing)

Once the voting period ends, the TechOhio Startup Culture Awards council will tally votes from the online voting forum. One winner from each category will be awarded an in-depth coverage article and high-quality video on the TechOhio website promoting their company. TechOhio will connect with those companies once the tallies are final by early-December.

TechOhio is an office of the Ohio Development Services Agency. The Ohio Development Services Agency and its affiliates, agents, and employees are not responsible for any technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection or failed, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmission or any human error that may occur in the receipt of entries or votes. The State of Ohio and its affiliates, agents and employees and the sponsor and its affiliates, agents and employees are not responsible for any damage to computer systems from downloading any information necessary to participate in the contest. Late, illegible, incomplete, or defective nominations or votes will not be accepted. Prizes are non-transferable and there is no cash alternative. Approximate numerical odds of winning are based on number of nominees and votes received. Employees of the State of Ohio or members of their immediate families are not eligible.

The Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency reserves the right to terminate or modify the contest at any time if TechOhio’s online service is no longer available or is compromised by any virus, bugs, or other intervention beyond its control. In any of these events, the prize may be awarded based on votes received prior to the date of termination. Any taxes are the responsibility of the winners. The Director of the Ohio Development Services Agency reserves the right to substitute a similar prize of equal or greater value in the event a particular prize is no longer available. All applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations govern this contest. Void where prohibited. The Ohio Development Services and the State of Ohio and their affiliates, agents, and employees are not liable for accidents, injuries, loss of property or other acts beyond their reasonable control arising from or in connection with participation in the contest or awarding of prizes.

Any information provided to TechOhio constitutes a public record subject to disclosure. By submitting information to TechOhio you grant a license to the State of Ohio to use any statements or other materials submitted for promotional purposes in perpetuity. By entering the contest, you release Twitter from any and all liability to or that may arise in connection with your participation in the contest. The contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Twitter.

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