Accelerators / Entrepreneurs

Applications open for E3, one of Delaware’s premier business growth programs

The five-week workshop from the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation will help 20 in-state businesses accelerate growth at any stage.

Community leaders including Gov. John Carney, Sen. Darius Brown and Logan Herring cut the ribbon at NERDiT NOW's new Riverside location. (Photo by Holly Quinn)

Applications are open for a Delaware-wide business development program returning for its fourth year.

Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Business Growth, commonly known as E3, initially launched in 2020 in response to the COVID pandemic, thanks to the Pete du Pont Foundation, the org behind the Reinventing Delaware initiative.

The annual number of participants has varied depending on funding. This cohort, funded by Barclays Bank, will serve 20 businesses: five in Sussex County, five in Kent County and 10 in New Castle County.

Since its launch, E3 has evolved into an organization that helps businesses figure out what steps need to happen for it to grow, and in what order they should happen, according to Stephanie Johnnie, executive director of the Pete du Pont Foundation, in the 2024 E3 Application Overview.

“We’re going to work with third party contractors, business consultants and experts within their respective fields to help you analyze your business, identify areas of opportunity, identify your strengths, identify challenges, [and] really create an action plan,” Johnnie said.

At the end of the five week workshop, entrepreneurs receive a comprehensive report that serves as a business outline, discovery report and action plan.


Any business committed to building out its Delaware presence can apply

Some of the 60+ Delaware businesses with a technology focus that are E3 members include NERDiT Now, Spekciton Biosciences and HXInnovations. The program supports businesses from all sectors and stages.

“It’s a formal process, but it’s very customizable, and it’s custom to your business,” Johnnie said. “We work with businesses throughout any stage of their journey from the startup stage to the emerging stage to the accelerated stage and across all industries.”

To qualify, applicants must own a business or nonprofit in Delaware and demonstrate a commitment to expanding their operations and building revenue in the state.

E3’s ‘sweet spot’ caters to businesses that aren’t all the way ready

Getting into E3 is competitive, and some businesses may have to work on their application and business plan before getting accepted. Still, Johnnie said, business owners who are serious should apply, even if they’re not quite there yet.

“Our sweet spot is emerging and accelerated businesses, businesses that have some foundational elements that are in place [like] a business plan or marketing strategy, or you’re turning revenue — those are the businesses that were able to really take to the next level,” Johnnie said.

Non-cohort businesses can access E3 resources, including mentoring and networking, through a paid membership.

The application cycle started on June 10 and will end at 11:59 pm on June 24. Apply here.

“If you only have one or two of those [foundational elements],” Johnnie said, “I still recommend you apply because we have other people at the table who can help you.”

Read more:

Companies: Hx Innovations / NERDiT NOW

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Applications open for E3, one of Delaware's premier business growth programs

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