Awards / Startups

Delaware, these innovators won your 2021 Awards

The tech community voted, and these four nominees came out on top.

Delaware Innovation Space's Hattie Duplechain. (Photo via LinkedIn)
It’s here!

The Awards are back to honor some of the most impactful innovators of the last year. For 2021, instead of announcing the winners in a post or via Zoom, we decided to hold an awards ceremony on our public Slack. There, nominees, colleagues and members of the community congregated, networked and watched our short announcement videos for each category.

This year, Delaware had four categories: Invention of the Year, Tech Leader of the Year, Business of the Year and Culture Builder of the year. As decided by a public vote, the winners are:

Invention of the Year — Danio Wellness

An accessible, user-friendly healthcare app that is affordable for people who lack health insurance would be a welcome invention any time, but with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating the healthcare gap and more people looking for digital healthcare options, it’s easy to see why Danio Wellness was voted 2021’s Delaware Invention of the Year.

Tech Leader of the Year — Hattie Duplechain, program manager of Delaware Innovation Space

DIS has been helping STEM startups grow for years, but the Science, Inc. incubator, which Duplechain manages, has really brought the impact of the STEM startup ecosystem to light in Delaware.

Business of the Year — Hx Innovations

Von and Nicole Homer made a splash at the 2021 Startup 302 pitch competition, where they won funding for their Middletown-based neuroergonomic footwear company. In addition to innovating footwear, especially for people with injuries and disabilities, the Homers work with underrepresented youth in the FAME summer program, teaching them about the science behind athletic shoes.

Culture Builder of the Year — Mark Newman, CEO of Chemours

Newman became CEO of Chemours earlier this year, after helping to build the DuPont spinoff company since its birth in 2014. As a leader of a chemistry company, he takes social equity initiatives as seriously as science, supporting employee networks and the Future of Chemistry Scholarship, which benefits students studying STEM at HBCUs.

Surprise:’s overall Invention of the Year is Danio Wellness

In addition to the winners decided by the public,’s editors also named an overall winner in each category, picking from among the local winners. And the winner of this year’s overall Invention of the Year is none other than Danio Wellness.

How did we make the call? We looked across our five markets to determine who best represented each category of leaders, judging according to who we felt was poised to most shape their industry’s future, or impact their communities. When we look back on 2021, we’ll remember it was their year.

Congrats to all the winners and honorees!


Thanks to everyone who joined our “live” ceremony on Slack and helped celebrate these awesome people and companies! Join us there to see all the messages of congrats, and hey, stick around for the community.

Join the Slack
Companies: Hx Innovations / Delaware Innovation Space / Danio Diary
Series: Awards

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