About the close the gap program?

The Close the Gap program is a project on behalf of the adidas AG, organized, managed and implemented by Impact Hub GmbH (IHC) and Impact Hub Houston (IHH), collectively the Organizer. CtG aims to support diverse social entrepreneurs aligned with adidas’ “One Starting Line” pillar by providing them with mentorship in areas such as marketing, branding, finance, operations, HR, and digital transformation to help advance their ventures, especially those that are led by founders from and directly impact women, Latinx and BIPOC communities.

Who can apply for the Close the Gap program?

Within the program, we are looking for early-stage entrepreneurs who are from and/or work with underrepresented communities that have an idea or startup that will create a positive impact in the following areas:

-Education (mentorship, equity, skills training, job readiness, economic    empowerment)

-Sport (performance, training, good health, fitness, advancement to sport equipment/safety equipment, positive impacts on the lives of athletes)

We are looking for a total of 30 participants who are fluent in English or German and willing to commit a minimum of one hour per week to connect with their mentors throughout the duration of the program.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older. If they are below that age they have to obtain and supply permission from their parent or a legal guardian.

What is the program timeline?

August 31st – September 17th: Application period
September 17th – October 2nd: Selecting ventures, matching them with adidas mentors
October 5th: Launch event for selected ventures and mentors
October 5th- December 3rd: Mentoring between entrepreneurs and adidas mentors
December 4th: Closing celebration

Do I have to attend all events if I get accepted into the program?

If you get selected, you are required to attend all events and dates mentioned in the timeline. Good news, you will have flexibility in scheduling your mentor meetings!

What are the competition criteria?

The Organizer will select the winning ventures based on the following criteria:

-Equity: The proposed idea is led by underrepresented entrepreneurs or is supporting diverse populations. 

-Innovation: The proposed solution is developing an impact-driven business that can redesign an existing system.

-Impact: The proposed solution will have a measurable positive impact on the local community and will work towards closing the opportunity gap.

Who is behind the Close the Gap program?

The organizers of Close the Gap program are Impact Hub and adidas:

Impact Hub is a global network focused on building communities for impact at scale. With 100+ communities of 16,500+ change-driven entrepreneurs in more than 55 countries across five continents, Impact Hub is one of the world’s largest communities and accelerators for positive change. We build ecosystems to drive collaboration and entrepreneurial innovation around the Global Sustainable Development Goals through locally rooted Impact Hubs, as well as with partners and allied networks.

adidas has its roots in Germany, but is a truly global company with offices and stores in every region of the world, and employees from over 100 nations at its global Headquarters alone. adidas is the original sports brand, driven by innovation and a bias for action. We are creators, makers and doers. Creativity is what fuels us – whether it’s on the field, on the court, or on the street, creativity is our inspiration. Open source is how we create: It’s about collaboration and innovation, learning and sharing. We open the doors of our brand to athletes, consumers and partners to co-create the future of sport with us.


Is there a fee for entering the program?


What support will I get if I enter?

30 ventures will be selected to participate and will receive:

-Expert business advice and coaching from adidas’ employees. Each venture will be matched with an adidas employee who will be their designated mentor for the duration of the program.

-Visibility of venture among the Impact Hub and adidas network.

-A free Global Connect Membership and access to the Impact Hub network.

Applicants selected to participate in the program may not transfer the rights of this program participation to a third party.

If a winning venture cannot be contacted or fails to confirm acceptance into the Program within 5 business days of notification, the Organizer reserves the right to select an alternative winner and the original winner will forfeit the Prize. The Organizer reserves the right to modify or withdraw a prize.

Are there any terms and conditions I should know about?

Yes, you can find the complete list of Terms and Conditions here. Please read them carefully. In order to submit your application, you need to agree to the Terms and Conditions.

What happens to the documents submitted and the related rights?

The applicant retains all rights to the documents submitted and all content.

How do I participate in the Program?

Simply fill in the entry form online and accept the Terms & Conditions. The organizers will evaluate the applications against the entry criteria and if your solution meets these criteria it will be published online and you will officially be part of the Close the Gap program. The organizers will send you an automatic email informing you if your solution has made it through into the program or not. 30 ventures will be selected and will be matched to mentors from the adidas network.

Can I enter on my own or do I need to be part of a team?

One entry per venture. If more than one entry is received, only the first entry will be accepted.

In what languages can I submit my application?

Your application can be submitted in English. Please note: we are addressing an intercultural target audience on both the project maker side and adidas mentor side; therefore all communication will be in English.

Can I change and update my entry after submitting it?

No. Once you submit your application you will not be able to edit any the sections of your application. Make sure you have entered all the necessary information and content before you submit.


Who will see my application? Will everything I submit be made public?

Impact Hub and adidas will only share a general description of the winners through their communication. All other information will only be seen by the organizers and our judges. Also have a look at our Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy to read more about how we protect your information. We would like to stress that any information you provide in this application form must be non-confidential. Please note that your personal information will be used by the organizers as a means of contacting you.


I'm running out of time and might miss the deadline. What are my options?

Focus on the key messages and meeting the basic entry requirements in as few words as possible.

What if the website goes down and I can't submit my solution?

We would hope this would never happen. But if you run into problems then contact us at houston@impacthub.net and we will work with you to find a satisfactory solution. However, your application must be submitted before the deadline to be considered. Give yourself enough time to submit in case you run into any technical issues.

My solution was on the website, but has now disappeared. Why is that?

Something may have gone wrong technically or we may have additional questions about your submission. Please contact us at houston@impacthub.net as soon as possible and we will get back to you.

Why has my solution entry been rejected?

If you are not sure why your entry has been rejected, please take a look at the program’s entry criteria. If you have a specific question about your project’s eligibility to be part of the program, please get in touch with us at houston@impacthub.net

My image isn't uploading - why?

Your image is probably in the wrong format or exceeds the maximum file size. Please keep to the following specifications:

* File-type (extension): JPG, JPEG or PNG
* Recommended picture dimensions: 1024px
* File size must not exceed: 2 MB


How will I know if I'm one of the selected participants?

All participants will receive an email letting them know who the 30 selected winners are.

What if I received an email saying that I am one of the finalists, what is next?

If selected for the top 30, you are invited to take part in a three-month program consisting of tailored virtual support, expert advice, and networking opportunities.

Still have questions?

If you cannot see your question here, do not hesitate to get in touch at houston@impacthub.net. The Close the Gap team will be happy to help.