Applications for Delaware’s fourth annual Startup302 funding competition are being accepted now through January 29 from technology-enabled startups with high-growth potential and at least one founding team member from an underrepresented group. Prizes include cash grants from a prize pool of $130,000 along with mentorship opportunities and connections with potential investors and key influencers.
Coordinated by Delaware Prosperity Partnership and innovation-supporting partners from throughout the Delaware business community and beyond, Startup302 launched in 2020 and has provided $643,000 in funding to 37 ventures since the first finals in 2021. This year’s categories are Early Stage, FinTech, Life Sciences, Environmental Impact and Delaware Impact, reflecting Delaware’s evolving innovation and industry landscape.
Startups must be tech-enabled with at least one founder from an underrepresented group: women; people of color, including African Americans, Latin Americans and Native Americans; and members of the LGBTQ+ community – all groups whose ventures are underinvested in relative to their demographic’s percentage of overall United States population. Because Startup302 seeks to foster diverse perspectives, promote inclusive and equitable consideration and attract diverse communities of founders to the region, startups don’t have to be Delaware-based to enter. Thanks to sponsors, there is no charge to enter.
“Startup302 helps strengthen Delaware’s innovation ecosystem by supporting entrepreneurs seeking financial and networking boosts for their businesses,” said DPP Director of Innovation Noah Olson. “We’re honored to provide them access to key funding and facilitators that can make a difference in their development and enable them to realize their potential.”
Competitors will be chosen from applications submitted by the January 29 deadline and go through multiple rounds of consideration before finalists are notified of their status on April 16. The live, in-person pitch contest will take place in Wilmington on May 16, and winners will be announced that day.
This year’s Startup302 sponsors include Bronze Valley VentureLab, Delaware Art Museum, Delaware Division of Small Business, Delaware Limo, Delaware Small Business Development Center, Discover Bank, DuPont, FMC, Highmark Delaware, M&T Bank, Potter Anderson, StartOut, The Innovation Space, True Access Capital Women’s Business Center, University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship and World Trade Center Delaware.
Additional partners include Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce, New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, Emerging Enterprise Center, Chesapeake Ag Innovation Center, Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance, Delaware Small Business Development Center, Delaware State University College of Business and Sara Crawford.
An online information session for prospective entrants was recorded in December and is available for prospective applicants to review at startup302.org. The video, which is led by DPP’s Erica Crell, answers frequently asked questions regarding the competition’s requirements and judging criteria and provides guidance on topics such as presentation ideas.
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