Delaware’s top 9 innovation stories of 2014

From entrepreneurship to urban revitalization, we recap the year's defining stories.

Wilmington's Market Street: The epicenter of a tech-driven renaissance?

(Photo by Flickr user Paul Sableman, used under a Creative Commons license)

As 2014 comes to a close, we look back on the year’s nine biggest stories spanning technology, innovation, transportation and urban development in Delaware:

  1. After the I-495 bridge collapse earlier this year, President Barack Obama visited the Port of Wilmington to talk about the state’s infrastructure needs. “It’s always a privilege to welcome the President back to the First State,” said Gov. Jack Markell. “And as we look out at the work happening on the I-495 Bridge over the Christina River, I especially want to thank his administration for acting quickly and decisively to help us move those emergency repairs forward.”
  2. Sanosil, a New Castle startup, created disinfectant fogger machines that can be used to stop the spread of disease in hospitals, gyms and various other facilities. In October, the company’s $7,000 machines were being used in the fight against Ebola in Nigeria and other West African nations.
  3. Leading Edge Ventures — a Newark-based VC firm — launched in August with some of the state’s biggest players. The group raised $10 million in funding and is one of the relatively few investors funding early-stage companies in Delaware and the mid-Atlantic.
  4. The University of Delaware decided to pull the plug on the STAR Campus data center this summer. Still, Newark racked up nearly $600K in legal and consulting fees along the way.
  5. Launched nearly two years ago, Start It Up Delaware unveiled its newly renovated Loft coworking space and broad vision for catalyzing a Delaware tech entrepreneurship class earlier this summer. The Loft received $250,000 in state economic development money.
  6. 1313 Innovation put on a two-day technology conference in November — the first of its kind in Wilmington. Hundreds of leaders from the healthcare, education and technology sectors participated in the event. “This woe is me attitude has to go away,” said venture capitalist Jordy Levy. “We’re going to make Wilmington the epicenter of the corridor for the next 50 years.”
  7. Wilmington University is planning a new 41-acre campus in suburban Wilmington, which is being billed as a success story. But those celebrating a nascent Wilmington innovation corridor say the school is failing to play a role in its namesake city’s future.
  8. David Curtis petitioned SEPTA to add more train trips to Wilmington. The petition worked. It’s a step in the right direction, said Curtis. “Wilmington’s growth will always be limited if its transportation options are also limited. Delaware can’t afford for that to happen,” he said.
  9. In November, the City of Wilmington and New Castle County jointly unveiled plans for improving Wilmington. The plans complement a third on Wilmington’s creative corridor that was launched earlier this year. In September, we published “Delaware needs more, but Wilmington innovation corridor is a start” because, with a nationwide trend toward urbanism, no one interested in Delaware’s innovation economy can ignore what North Market Street is fast becoming.



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