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 a combination of voting and social engagement. One statewide winner 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! Six semi-finalists will also be featured in a compilation video. The TechOhio Startup Culture Awards will take place over three phases, a nomination phase and two voting phases, from September 16, 2020 – October 30, 2020. Companies participating must be based in the state of Ohio.

These three phases and the rules associated are listed below:


Nomination Phase: September 16, 2020 – October 2, 2020

The nomination phase is the 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 the 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.

To nominate your company, visit the nomination page here.

The nomination phase will begin on September 16, 2020 at 9 a.m. ET. To nominate a company, this information will be needed:

  • Name of company
  • Location:
    • The competition is broken into six startup regions: northeast, northwest, west central, central, southeast and southwest.
  • 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 2, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. ET. After the nomination period, the TechOhio team will review nominations and select up to three semi-finalists per region based on the number of nominations. This means the competition will have up to a total of 18 semi-finalists. The startups in each region that have the most nominations will become a semi-finalist.


First Voting Phase: October 5, 2020 – October 16, 2020

The first voting phase will start on October 5, 2020 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 semi-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.

Voting can happen any time during the October 5 – October 16 timeframe by following the designated link. (Link will not be available until October 5, 2020.)

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 #OhioIsForStartups and tagging @TechOhioGov to highlight their company culture.

Example prompts may include:

  • Keeping your company and/or customers safe (Example Tweet: safety and sanitation features around the office)
  • Creative virtual group activities (Example Tweet: screenshot of a virtual team trivia or happy hour)
  • Remote work innovations (Example Tweet: Employee selfies while working from home)
  • Social status (Example: Photo from a summer staff outing, remote or with safety procedures in place)

Once the voting period ends, TechOhio will tally votes from the online voting forum. The company with the most votes in each region will move on to the final round, and will be eligible to appear in a compilation video celebrating the six finalists.


Final Voting Phase: October 19, 2020 – October 30, 2020

The final voting phase will start on October 19, 2020 at 9 a.m. ET. Similar to the previous phase, the finalists will be voted on during this period through an online poll that lists the semi-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.

Once the voting period ends, TechOhio will tally votes from the online voting forum. The company that received the most votes will be crowned champion, and will be the subject of a video shoot highlighting the company’s impressive work culture. This winner will be announced and featured on the week of November 16.


TechOhio is a website promoting the state’s growing technology economy and part 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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