Growing Resilient Communities

Planting the Seeds to Economic Prosperity

Growing Resilient Communities

Planting the Seeds to Economic Prosperity

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GuideWell believes every Florida community, regardless of zip code, has its own unique fabric. From the residents to the architecture to the local street vibe, each community has its own authentic personality. While many of Florida’s communities flourish, there are a disproportionate number of under-resourced neighborhoods that struggle with economic disparities.

According to a September 2020 report by the Urban Institute called, “Creating Places of Opportunity for All”, there is a direct correlation between the economic prosperity of a person’s neighborhood and their health.

A neighborhood’s residents are the best resource to advance local, sustainable economic prosperity. Communities have the potential to drive people-powered resilience when residents are empowered to be actively involved in their neighborhood’s revitalization. Working together, local grassroots organizations and residents can jumpstart local economic prosperity to create a place of opportunity and build a healthy, safe place to live, work and play.

Challenge Overview

The Growing Resilient Communities Challenge is a four-month competition dedicated to identifying social innovators and organizations that have the potential to empower people, business owners and leaders in underserved Florida communities to design their paths to sustainable economic stability.

Regional Pitch Competitions

GuideWell will launch the challenge in four Florida regions (Central Florida, North Florida/Panhandle, West Florida and South Florida). Applicants showing the most potential will be selected to participate in one of four regional pitch competitions taking place virtually this fall. Selected applicants will compete for up to three prizes of $5,000 per organization in each region.

Regional Awards:

$5,000 award to each Regional Finalist

Statewide Challenge

Finalists from each region will be invited to the Statewide Challenge, which may be held virtually or in person, at the GuideWell Innovation Center in Orlando’s Lake Nona Medical City on October 27th. Finalists will present their ideas and compete for the grand prize of $40,000 to fund their unique solution. Regional and statewide finalists will be selected by a panel of expert judges.


Statewide Award:


Growing Resilient Communities Forum

The Statewide Challenge will be held the day before GuideWell’s Growing Resilient Communities Well-Being Forum, an invitation-only collaborative event bringing together a national audience of experts and stakeholders to focus on building opportunities to provide economic stability to underserved Florida communities.


Should the StateWide Challenge and Forum be held in person, all finalists agree to adhere to current local, state, CDC and GuideWell enterprise guidelines in place at the time of the event. To the extent GuideWell’s guidelines are more stringent than local or CDC guidelines, GuideWell will inform the finalists prior to any in-person event. Finalists acknowledge and agree that GuideWell guidelines may include but not be limited to vaccination attestation for in-person attendance.

Program Timeline

July 7 – August 13

Application Window Open

August 9 – August 20

Judging Window

September 16 - October 7

  • Central FL Regional Pitch Competition - September 16
  • North FL Regional Pitch Competition - September 23
  • West FL Regional Pitch Competition - September 30
  • South Florida Regional Pitch Competition - October 7

October 27

Statewide Challenge 

October 28

Growing Resilient Communities Forum (Challenge Winner Announced)

Focus Areas

GuideWell is seeking innovative solutions that have the potential to break down the barriers that prevent equitable economic and healthy living opportunities for Floridians living in under-resourced communities. GuideWell is particularly interested in the following categories:

  • Asset 3
    Programs or proven approaches that provide knowledge, mentorship and capital to jumpstart local small businesses and drive place-based entrepreneurship
  • Asset 4
    Educational programs that teach financial literacy and credit skills or that provide legal or educational counseling to families living in distressed Florida communities
  • Asset 7
    Organizations that offer mobile or virtual health services that can be offered “on demand” in a distressed community
  • Asset 5
    Organizations that can provide a safe convening place within a distressed community to host community input forums, entrepreneurship skills workshops and regular health and wellness clinics
  • Asset 6
    Programs or models that mentor people within a local community to design and bootstrap their own baseline community development strategy or social enterprise

Participant Benefits

  • Potential to win up to $45,000 in non-dilutive funding to further expand your solution
  • Ability to form strategic partnerships with other organizations to collaborate on comprehensive approaches that address multiple facets of health equity and economic prosperity in disadvantaged communities
  • Opportunity to collaborate with GuideWell
  • Access to mentors and subject matter experts in the health care industry
  • No cost or equity requirements to participate (other than travel to program activities)
  • Opportunity for potential industry media exposure in print, TV and digital marketing outlets


GuideWell is seeking innovative grassroot solutions from for-profit, non-profit, social innovators or community organizations with programs, platforms, technology services and systems that have the potential to empower the people, business owners and leaders from underserved Florida communities to lead the way in designing their paths to sustainable economic stability.


Judging Criteria

  • Impact Reverse
  • Traction to Date Reverse
    Traction to Date
  • Unique Approach Reverse
    Unique Approach
  • Sustainable Business Model Reverse
    Sustainable Business Model
  • Potential Scale Reverse
    Potential Scale of Social Impact
  • Leadership Team Credentials Reverse
    Leadership of Team
Start-up people working in co-working space office, wearing face mask during 19-ncov pandemic