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Horn Entrepreneurship

Comments on Hen Hatch: Alumni


The University of Delaware’s Horn Entrepreneurship is accepting submissions for Hen Hatch 2018, the University’s premier startup funding competition.

Hen Hatch provides benefits beyond the $100,000 prize pool. It provides students, alumni, faculty and staff the opportunity to build a community and develop their business concept further. 

Registration and business concept submissions are due Jan. 22, 2018. An outline and suggestions for what to include in the submission are available on the Hen Hatch website. The competition has two distinct tracks under which to apply. The first is for currently enrolled undergraduate or graduate students who are attending at least half time and the second track is designed for current or retired University of Delaware faculty, staff or alumni.

UD Alumnus, John Erby, a 2016 finalist with Strataca Systems, LLC, explains, "Hen Hatch was a fantastic experience! The judges are world class business leaders. Their feedback provided tremendous validation for the team and prospective investors."

UD Alumnus Jacob Jeifa recalls his experience during the qualifying period for his business concept, TenantU. “Preparing for Hen Hatch made me look at my company in an entirely new way. Objectively looking at each piece of your venture, from the different services it'll perform, to how you will actually realize revenue and grow, is an exercise in humility and diligence, and will undoubtedly improve you and your venture’s chances for success.” 

The Hen Hatch competition is distinguished from other pitch competitions because it focuses on the individual or team developing their business concept in the preliminary and semifinal rounds.

UD Alumna Amira Idris participated in VentureOn, Summer Founders and Hen Hatch 2015 before becoming a finalist in 2017. "The opportunity to participate in Hen Hatch was amazing and life changing. My first year participating, I was part of the 2015 Hen Hatch Showcase which gave me the opportunity to network with amazing people who provided me with mentors and assistance to develop my idea into a startup.” Hen Hatch Showcase takes place at the event and is an exhibition of venture startups that did not progress to the final.

Jeifa also participated in Hen Hatch competitions before becoming a finalist in 2017. “It took me three tries before I made it to the final round, and it was 100 percent worth the wait. Each year was an opportunity to improve. Participating has made me a more confident public speaker and communicator and more diligent in my work ethic.”

Vincent Di Felice is manager of venture support for Horn Entrepreneurship and the competition. He said, “Mentoring and learning are distinguishing factors of Hen Hatch. All contestants, regardless of placement, are provided feedback and advice. Participation in Hen Hatch introduces each contestant to the ideal way in which to learn entrepreneurship; doing it.”

Di Felice added to the Hen Hatch competition by extending Horn Entrepreneurship's ideals to any participant. “Many students apply to Hen Hatch and those who do not advance above the semifinals find themselves disconnected,” Di Felice said. “We want to fix this by connecting them through continued mentoring and learning, the competition’s distinguishing factors.”

New this year, Hen Hatch held two “How-To” workshops, available to view on live stream. Di Felice covers the application procedure and answers specific questions about the process. Also new this year is a “Next Steps” workshop offering guidance to students that do not reach the semi-finals. One session is scheduled for Feb. 21, 2018.

Hen Hatch timeline:

  • Jan. 22, registration/submission deadline
  • Feb. 19, notification of semifinalists.
  • Feb. 21, next steps workshop for non-semifinalist students
  • March 16, student team semifinal round
  • March 23, alumni, faculty and staff semifinal round
  • April 24, final round, top three teams from each track pitch in front of a panel of judges and audience at The Queen in Wilmington, Delaware

Those with questions about Hen Hatch can write to hornprogram@udel.edu


About Horn Entrepreneurship

Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the University of Delaware’s creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement. Built and actively supported by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders, Horn Entrepreneurship empowers aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs as they pursue new ideas for a better world.

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