Startup302 Funding Competition Extends Entry Deadline, Now Offering Over $260,000 in Grant-based Prizes

10 Entities Sponsor Awards for Contest Focusing on Underrepresented Founders 

It’s not too late to enter Startup302. Organizers for the funding competition, which is focusing on underrepresented founders and their entrepreneurial ventures, have extended the application deadline to Feb. 22. Applicants who submitted before the original deadline may revise their entries and resubmit by the new deadline.

“As applications continue to be submitted, we are excited to extend the opportunity for innovative startups with underrepresented founders to apply to compete for a still-growing prize pool,” said Noah Olson, who is the Delaware Prosperity Partnership Innovation support manager and a member of the Startup302 Steering Committee

Startup302 – open to scalable, high-growth startups with a tech or scientific focus – is offering more than $260,000 in grant-based prizes funded by local public- and private-sector sponsors. Some prizes have geographic restrictions in that only Delaware-based companies may compete for them. But many of the prizes are open to companies based anywhere that have an interest in the Delaware ecosystem

Innovation thrives when diverse perspectives are fostered and included. As a result, Startup302 aims to support and continue to grow a diverse and inclusive startup community in Delaware by focusing on founders from demographics that the venture capital industry, as a whole, has underinvested in relative to those demographics’ percent of overall United States population. For example, only 1 percent of all venture capital-funded founders are Black, less than half of 1 percent are Latinx and only 8 percent are women of any demographic group.

“Startup302 is highlighting these underrepresented founders to tackle such funding inequities and strengthen the regional startup community,” Olson said. “For this reason, applicants must have at least one woman, Black, Latinx or Native American founding team member.”

Reviewers will screen all completed applications, and eligible companies will advance to the interview round that will take place in mid-March. Finalists will be selected from the interviews and then compete for awards in a pitching round on April 29. 

All currently announced Startup302 awards are grant-based and will be awarded to winners upon the completion of the final round of pitches. There is no need for competitors to apply for the individual awards because applicants who advance from the screening round will be notified about their eligibility for each award. The prizes and their sponsors include:

  • Delaware Innovator Awards, presented by the Delaware Division of Small Business, for startups located in Delaware or willing to locate in Delaware that show promise in establishment and growth in Delaware. Multiple winners will share $150,000 in grants.
  • Startup302 Blue Hen Prize, presented by Horn Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware with support from JPMorgan Chase & Co., to advance equity thru entrepreneurship. Up to $30,000 will go to the most promising startup(s) led by a founding team that includes at least one principal/primary member who is affiliated with the University of Delaware.
  • Startup302 Open Innovation Award, presented by Delaware Prosperity PartnershipDelaware State University and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Up to $30,000 will be awarded for innovation by ventures with underrepresented founders that focus on, but aren’t restricted to, industries with a legacy in Delaware (bioscience, chemistry, advanced materials, agriculture or financial/business services) or the emerging field of esports.
  • Startup302 FinHealth Prize, supported by Discover Bank and offering up to $20,000 for fintech startups with the greatest potential to positively impact customer financial health through innovative product and service offerings.
  • Startup302 Innovation in Agriculture Prize, supported by FMC and offering up to $10,000 for innovation through the development and application of emerging technologies in agriculture.
  • Startup302 Innovation in Health Prize, supported by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware and offering up to $10,000 for innovation related to patient care and outcomes, health provider innovation or medical device or health insurance technology.
  • Startup302 Automation and Insights Prize, supported by Labware and offering up to $10,000 for the startup demonstrating the most compelling use of automation and data-driven insights to enhance productivity and value creation.
  • Startup 302 Prize for Best Science-Based Startup, supported by Delaware Innovation Space and offering up to $5,000 plus up to 10 hours of advisement or mentorship for startups in therapeutics, advanced materials, chemical ingredients, diagnostics, nutrition, industrial biotechnology, renewables, renewable energy, agriculture biotechnology and other science-based startups enabled by chemistry, material science and/or biotechnology.

In addition to DPP, the Startup302 Steering Committee has been organized with support from the University of Delaware’s Horn Entrepreneurship Program, the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance, Delaware State University’s College of Business, First Founders leader Garry Johnson III, local venture capitalist Pedro Moore, Delaware Innovation Space and the Delaware Small Business Development Center.

For more about Startup302 or to enter a new application, visit To revise a submitted entry or for questions, contact Olson at or 302-576-6589.

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