Submittable Spotlight on Entrepreneurial Innovation

While there are multiple paths to launching a startup, every approach requires basic assets: a good business plan, a reliable team, and funding. Especially for new founders, the aid of organizations focused on helping budding entrepreneurs thrive can be essential. Submittable is used by over twenty organizations encouraging emergent innovators through accelerator and incubator programs, innovation challenges, venture capital, and angel funds. Here are three excellent models leading the charge across a range of industries:


RoboNation, Inc. is a nonprofit dedicated to hands-on educational experiences in technology and engineering. The organization hosts yearly robotics challenges in three categories that empower students to employ STEM skills beyond the classroom: air competitions, land competitions, and maritime competitions. These challenges, as well as RoboNation’s education programs, are designed for K-12 and college students.

Since 2018, Robonation has used Submittable among a team of 69 individuals across 18 application forms to facilitate its student-focused maritime robotics challenges.

Robonation manages four maritime competitions through Submittable. For Maritime RobotX, students design, command, and control an Unmanned Surface Vehicle in a simulated environment. The SeaPerch Challenge involves the creation of an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle, with which students compete in local and regional SeaPerch Challenges. As part of RoboBoat, students work in teams to design autonomous robotic boats which they control and race through an obstacle course. Lastly, the RoboSub challenge involves the design and construction of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle which should navigate a series of tasks on its own.


Founded in 2015, MATTER is an Illinois-based organization supporting innovation in health and care. By serving as a “healthcare startup incubator, community nexus, and corporate innovation accelerator,” the MATTER collaborative brings together over 200 startups and 60 corporate partners.

MATTER began using Submittable in 2018 to facilitate healthcare initiatives: a Health Tech Venture Challenge and a Health Equity Innovation Challenge, awarding $40,000 in total funding between the two.

The Health Tech Venture Challenge with Advocate Aurora Health focused on innovation in primary care related to access, patient experience, and cost of care. One winning team received a $10,000 prize and finalists received expert mentorship. With BlueCross Blue Shield of Illinois, the Health Equity Innovation Challenge awarded a total of $30,000 to three winning teams whose proposals sought to address social, cultural, and economic barriers to health care in Illinois. MATTER is now also using Submittable for a Pitch Competition in partnership with AHIMA, a health data and information management organization.

Cal Poly

San Luis Obispo’s Cal Poly University supports entrepreneurial and tech innovation through a variety of initiatives. The Cal Poly Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) provides hands-on assistance to students and community members across fields and industries. CIE help is centered around three focuses (learning, preparing, and launching), each of which integrates Submittable’s platform.

Since 2016, Cal Poly has used Submittable to manage nearly 700 entries for 7 innovation-directed programs (including accelerator and incubator initiatives) among 66 team members.

To support learning, CIE’s Faculty Fellow program engages faculty across departments to support student innovation. Entrepreneurial preparation is encouraged through CIE’s Elevator Pitch Program (a 90-second pitch competition with cash prizes), The Hatchery program (incorporating mentorship and workshops), and Innovation Quest (a team competition that has awarded more than $350,000 since its inception). Student and community member project launch is supported by HotHouse programs (a 13-week Accelerator and an Incubator), as well as the Central California Angel Conference.


Most organizations dedicated to entrepreneurial innovation receive a high-volume of inquiries and applications, many more than they can serve. For this reason, a submission management system like Submittable designed to facilitate and streamline application review among a variety of stakeholders can be of great value—not to mention that these organizations are likely to support emergent entrepreneurs in more than one way, from competitions to accelerator and incubator programs, from resources (financial and otherwise) to education and mentorship. Submittable’s flexible platform is ideal for managing a variety of programs and initiatives, freeing up organizations to focus on the excitement of helping new businesses thrive, rather than administrative tasks.

As a startup ourselves, Submittable is delighted to serve organizations and their applicants in the process of fostering innovation. Thanks for everything you do.

Interested in finding out more about using Submittable for your accelerator, incubator, innovation challenge, or fund? Please reach out anytime.

Rachel Mindell

Rachel Mindell is a Special Projects Editor at Submittable. She also writes and teaches poetry. Connect with her on LinkedIn.