In this startup ecosystem, entrepreneurs often have to raise a massive round of funding capital, get acquired or create drones to get any sort of media attention or recognition.
Well, not this time around. Here is an opportunity to just celebrate entrepreneurship -- no strings attached.
Today, Empact, -- a N.J.-based company focused on supporting young entrepreneurs through culture and community -- is opening up the application process for its Empact Showcase, an annual program highlighting the power of entrepreneurs and the important role their companies play in the community. Last year, the companies highlighted in the Empact Showcase contributed more than 8,000 jobs and $1.3 billion to the economy.
"Through the list, our goal is to show the many different types of entrepreneurs that are out there and to showcase their stories as role models that entrepreneurship is a viable career path," says Empact co-founder Sheena Lindahl. "Then, bringing the entrepreneurs together, we aim to create a place where they can connect in an environment of authenticity, generosity and humility."
To qualify for the program, companies must be based in the U.S., be able to show 2013 revenues of at least $100,000 (there is one exception, but more on that later) and be private. All founders must also be 35 or younger as of July 15, 2014, which also happens to be the deadline for application submissions.
Related: Top 30 Startups to Watch
Once Empact has received all applications and the cutoff date has passed, the organization along with its panel of judges including CEO of online retailer Zappos Tony Hsieh, CEO of USA Network Kay Koplovitz, and founder and former CEO of travel-deal site Priceline Jeff Hoffman will look over all the entries to help formulate the coveted Empact100 -- a list highlighting 100 companies -- along with deciding who will be receive special honors in categories like "Largest Potential," "Top Social Company" and "Best Founder's Story." For the Empact100 list, revenue will be the number-one factor taken into consideration but other aspects like number of employees, social impact, growth over the last year and how innovative the startup is will also be weighed.
And this year Empact is doing something different by allowing companies that have less than $100,000 in revenue to be featured in its "Entrepreneurs to Watch" honoree categories This gives companies that haven't quite hit the revenue benchmark to stand out due to other accomplishments like signing big clients, filing patents, forming strong partnerships and having a strong team.
Need a little more convincing to apply? How about Entrepreneur Media has some skin in the game. This year, Entrepreneur is again partnering up with Empact to create its own list, "Top 30 Startups to Watch." We are looking for the entrepreneurs that pique our interest, stand out from the crowd and are rising stars. Besides being highlighted in our wildly successful Top 30 Startups to Watch feature, Entrepreneur is going to have an active role in the Showcase program (stay tuned for more details).
Everyone that gets admitted into the Empact Showcase program will have the opportunity to head to New York City for a two-day event this fall. Founders will get the chance to mingle with established entrepreneurs like Chip Paucek of education platform 2U, network with other like-minded individuals and sit in on discussions pertaining to entrepreneurship.
This is Empact's fourth time doing the Showcase, and they couldn't be more excited.
"The connections that have been made among the entrepreneurs at the past events have turned into new businesses and partnerships, but most importantly true friendships," says Lindahl. "I think connection is one of the most important things in the world and to know the level at which that is happening here is very rewarding."
Think you got what it takes? Go to Empact Showcase for more information and to apply.