Be a Leader of Workplace Innovation.
Bring Your Ideas to Life.
Together, We Can Truly Create Better Workplaces.

LOCAL ROUNDS: 2/9/2021 4/15/2021
REGIONAL ROUNDS: 6/2/2021 6/30/2021
FINALS: 9/9/2021 9/12/2021

2021 Better Workplaces Challenge Cup Winner

Five finalists made their final pitches to a panel of judges, including Daymond John, award-winning entrepreneur and star of ABC’s Shark Tank, as well as an audience of investors, leading HR professionals, fellow innovators and the media, and the winning workplace technology startup is Compt.

Compt is a perk stipend software company based in Boston, read more about Compt, along with this inaugural pitch competition.

Johnny C Taylor, Jr., SHRM President and CEO, with Melissa Anderson, Chair, SHRM Board or Directors with the winner of the Inaugural Better Workplaces Challenge Cup, Amy Spurling, Compt CEO and Founder. Photo credit Chris Williams.

About the better workplaces challenge cup

Moving forward takes innovation. Advancing our profession takes creative minds.  Bringing creativity to life takes resources.

SHRMLabs, powered by SHRM, is hosting a workplace tech search for the most pioneering, ground-breaking, original ideas that will reinvent how we do work.


SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, creates better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together. As the voice of all things work, workers and the workplace, SHRM is the foremost expert, convener and thought leader on issues impacting today’s evolving workplaces. With 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries, SHRM impacts the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally.

Have you found a better way to do something and are looking for the financial resources to stand it up and share it with future, potential customers? The Better Workplace Challenge Cup is your answer.

Learn More About


This three-round competition, leading to a $50,000 cash prize and/or other investment opportunities and prizes, starts at the local level in February 2021, moves to the regional rounds in June and July, with the final championship competition being held at SHRM’s Annual Conference and Exposition in September 2021.

At each level you will present and prove your ideas to a panel of judges. Along the way you’ll receive feedback and mentorship from workplace subject matter experts to grow and improve your presentation until you meet the other four finalists face-to-face in the final round.

Here—you give it all you’ve got with one champion emerging! Are you ready to throw your hat into the ring? 

Challenge Cup Competition Prizes Include:

  • $50,000 cash prize to winner and/or other investment opportunities and prizes
  • All-expenses paid trip for two (2) representative(s) to SHRM’s Annual Conference and Exposition
  • Complimentary booth space in the Workplace Innovation Zone on the Exposition Hall Floor
  • Exposure to 300,000+ HR and business executive members in 165 countries who impact the lives of more than 115 million workers and families globally

Judging Criteria:

  • A business that will create better workplaces where employers and employees thrive together
  • A business that will provide value to SHRM members and their companies by helping HR professionals become more efficient and strategic.
  • A viable business
2021 competition rounds

Up to 10 applicants per city will advance to the local round.


  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont


    • Alabama
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Kentucky
    • Mississippi
    • North Carolina
    • South Carolina
    • Tennessee
    • Virginia
    • Wash DC
    • West Virginia


      • Arizona
      • Arkansas
      • Colorado
      • Kansas
      • Louisiana
      • Missouri
      • New Mexico
      • Oklahoma
      • Texas
      • Utah


        • Illinois
        • Indiana
        • Iowa
        • Michigan
        • Minnesota
        • Nebraska
        • North Dakota
        • Ohio
        • South Dakota
        • Wisconsin

          PACIFIC WEST

          • Alaska
          • California
          • Hawaii
          • Idaho
          • Montana
          • Nevada
          • Oregon
          • Washington
          • Wyoming
            STEP 1
            STEP 2
            • Top 3 startups per local round (57 total) will advance to Regionals
            STEP 3
            • Utilize the feedback from round 1, work with your mentor, and continue to perfect your pitch.
            • The field narrows to 5 regional winners advancing to the Finals
            STEP 4
            • Share your innovation with SHRM’s 18K+ Annual Conference attendees via a booth at the Workplace Innovation Zone on the Expo Hall floor.
            • Present to an audience of leading HR and business professionals, investors, fellow innovators, and the media.
            • 1 winner will be selected.

            While there’s only one Challenge Cup winner, all competitors win throughout the process.

            At the local level you’ll be exposed to SHRM members and executive management, and the wider world through media outlets. At the regional level your exposure only grows, and you will be paired with a mentor to help guide you through the upcoming competitions.

            Those that advance to the final round will receive not only an all-expenses paid trip* to SHRM’s Annual Conference and the networking opportunities it brings, but will also be given complimentary booth space on the Expo Hall Floor in the Workplace Innovation Zone, with potential exposure to 18,000 future users and/or investors (a value of $10k+).

            The winner will receive a cash prize of $50,000 to be used as the start up funds to get your idea off the ground and into our workplaces.

            *Subject to some restrictions. See Official Rules for details.



            ENTER THE Better workplaces challenge cup

            SHRMLabs, powered by SHRM, is inspiring innovation to create better workplace technologies that solve today’s most pressing workplace challenges.
            SHRMLabs supports SHRM in:

            Elevating HR as a thought leader on the future of work and workplace technology.

            Leveraging the collective expertise of SHRM members and staff to help tech innovators create technologies catered to the needs of workers and the workplace

            Identifying, evaluating, and enabling the success of startup companies in the workplace technology industry

            Contact Us
            We’re looking for startups, co-hosts and sponsors for the 2022 competition. Interested? Let us know!

            Contact Us | 800.283.SHRM (7476)

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