Great ideas to accelerate our region.

Accelerate 2017

Accelerate 2017: Citizens Make Change, presented in partnership with Citizens Bank, is your chance to act on your idea to improve Northeast Ohio.

Pitch applications are now closed. Please join us at the event to hear the great ideas aimed at advancing our region. 



Any individuals with an idea to improve the community can enter. Proposed ideas cannot be affiliated with an established organization.

Pitch categories

Proposals are accepted in the following categories:

     Quality of Life
     Initiatives that impact life experiences, including health, recreation and social services.

     Economic & Workforce Development
     Initiatives that address poverty and economic self-sufficiency, or stimulate economic growth.

     Educating for Tomorrow
     Initiatives that advance access to educational development.

     Community Change
     Initiatives that make a meaningful change in people’s lives and neighborhoods.

     Transformative Arts and Culture
     Initiatives that use arts and culture to transform people and places.

     Special thank you to category sponsors Oswald Companies and Westfield Insurance Foundation.

Application process

All pitch ideas must be submitted through the brief online form. Applications will be open from November 1 - December 9, 2016. An independent panel of reviewers will select 25 proposals (five from each category) to be presented at Accelerate 2017 based on:

  • Potential for community impact and advancing NE Ohio.
  • How unique, creative and innovative the initiative is.
  • A realistic implementation plan that would be aided by the prize money.

Through the application you will describe your initiative, the community issue it addresses, how it will benefit the community, why you are passionate about the issue, how you will know if the initiative is successful, and how the prize money would help you achieve your goals. All answers must be 250 words or less.

Those selected to pitch their ideas at the event on February 22, 2017, will be notified by January 13, 2017 and offered coaching to help refine their pitch and presentation before the big night.

Still not sure if you should apply? Check out all the progress Accelerate 2016 presenters have made to advance Northeast Ohio!


At the event

Five projects will be pitched in each category. Pitches last no more than 5 minutes each. The category competition is open to all event attendees. A panel of community leaders will provide feedback on each pitch and will select one finalist from each category.

The five finalists pitch in front of the full event audience, who then vote. The winner receives $5,000 and the remaining four finalists each receive $2,000.

Accelerate not only provides the opportunity to earn money to help launch your idea, it also provides a unique opportunity to make connections with top leaders and community members who may have connections or resources to help your idea take flight.

Questions? Contact Rachel Ciomcia (216-592-2280).