Pitches / Startups

Delaware’s new Startup302 competition is offering $300K in awards

The pitch competition, which will culminate at NeoFest in May, has an application deadline of March 2.

Delaware Prosperity Partnership's pitch competition, Startup 302. (Courtesy Delaware Prosperity Partnership)

There’s a new Delaware startup competition, and it could mean big opportunities for early-stage entrepreneurs.

Startup302, sponsored by the Delaware Prosperity Partnership (DPP), aims to bring startups from all over the world to Delaware. The goal is to support businesses with the potential to bring economic growth to the state: The top three winners must pledge to establish a business presence in the state in order to claim their awards, which include “grant-based, investment and in-kind prizes” valued at over $300,000, plus meetings with investors and other biz connections.

All industries are welcome to apply, especially tech startups from industries focused on financial and business services, chemistry, bioscience, advanced materials and agriculture.

“Startup302 enhances the startup ecosystem in Delaware and the mid-Atlantic region by offering meaningful support for technology-based ventures, encouraging early-stage firm growth and attracting venture funding,” said Ariel Gruswitz, director of innovation for DPP, in a statement.

The final round of Startup302 will happen on May 7 as part of neoFest, the inaugural full-day entrepreneurial summit organized by the Horn Entrepreneurship program at the University of Delaware and DPP along with the Delaware Small Business Development Center, Delaware Innovation Space, Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance, New Castle County Chamber of Commerce, Emerging Enterprise Center, Millennial Summit and Tech Forum of Delaware, plus support from the State of Delaware. The event will be held at the Chase Center on the Riverfront.

In addition to Startup302, neoFest will feature workshops, networking, mentoring and funding opportunities and an innovation showcase. Hen Hatch, the Horn program’s pitch competition for UD students, alumni and staff, is will also have its final round at neoFest.

The deadline to apply for Startup302 is March 2. Here’s a quick rundown of the guidelines:

  • There is no requirement for how long a startup has been in existence, but ideal applicants will be early stage.
  • It’s OK if the startup has received previous funding.
  • Applications will not be accepted for retail businesses with brick-and-mortar storefronts, residential real estate business, investment vehicles that invest in the securities of other entities, sports venues, places of overnight accommodation, entertainment-related establishments, and single-purpose entertainment or event productions (e.g. movies, albums, concerts).
  • Judges will be looking for businesses that can demonstrate a potential for scalability and economic impact.

The application is free. Finalists will be notified by April 1. All finalists who participate in person on May 7 will receive a minimum of $1,000.

Companies: University of Delaware Horn Entrepreneurship

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