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Horn Entrepreneurship

Horn Never Sleeps

0001-28072287236Horn began its summer in April with Diamond Challenge Summit semifinalists and Ice cream. UDairy' Moo Mobile was founded in partnership with Horn Entrepreneurship in 2013.

The greatest entrepreneurs are always wondering how they can take their next step, and get ahead of the competition. This is why Horn never sleeps and instead offers a plethora of opportunities over the summer to keep students sharp and make sure they are getting the help they need even when class is not in session. The following activities and opportunities are offered during the summer of 2022:


VDC Community Sessions@Horn

The VDC (Venture Development Center) Community Sessions@Horn are weekly meetups designed to promote growth and offer feedback in a comfortable environment. The VDC Community Sessions are student-run and are overseen by Vince Difelice, Faculty Director, Student Venture Support at Horn. 

The sessions resume this summer on July 6 and will run every Wednesday night from 6:00-7:00 p.m. on Zoom. The sessions are run by mentor, Mike Meola, who outlines specific topics to get conversations going, and brings in guest mentors who are knowledgeable in those subjects. Attendance is an open-house format.

VDC Community Sessions allow students with or without startups to come and speak with other students and mentors who are going through similar processes. They allow for collaboration, advice, team-building, problem-solving, and lots of fun. 

“Everyone at Horn is looking to help you and most people are also looking for helping themselves. At the VDC Community Sessions we are trying to create a logical pathway for our ideas to grow,” Meola said.



Freshman students entering as Delaware Innovation Fellows (DIF) or World-Changers are invited to Ignite! An early move-in opportunity to strengthen new friendships. The opportunity occurs in late August. 

Ignite! also lets students bond over food and team-building events so that they feel like a part of the Horn community before they have even gone to their first class. Establishing a group of like-minded individuals who can come together and help each other is an asset for both college and the world of entrepreneurship. 

Students learn to pitch with little preparation time and with people that they have never worked with before. They will also get to experience group brainstorming sessions and learn to work on problems as part of a team.

Furthermore, Igniters get an opportunity to explore the campus and find the best-kept secrets that UD has to offer before most students even come back to campus. For students who just can’t wait to get to UD and start taking in everything that Horn has to offer, Ignite! is the place to be. 



The MakerGym summer high school dual enrollment class is co-supported by Horn and Delaware’s Red Clay School District. It allows high school students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a cross-discipline approach to building prototypes using equipment such as sewing machines, woodshop, Waterjet, 3D printing space, and a printer for fine arts projects. 

In the first weeks of the fall semester, 2022 a second annual cohort of the Make it Happen Challenge will open its application period. Cohorts will have both fall and spring semesters to design and develop their innovative ideas. The first cohort can be  Watch the MakeGym website for more details in late August. 

The MakerGym is open this summer and offers a full array of support to UD-affiliated students for a class or individual projects. Reservations are required for working time and space at the MakerGym offered from Monday through Thursday. This summer availability will work around the high school dual enrollment class.  If you don’t have a project, consider The MakersClub as summer is a great time to explore that option for the fall.



The Siegfried Entrepreneurial Leadership Fellows program is a one-year intensive program focusing on leadership development. Any student who has taken, or is currently enrolled in ENTR/LEAD 253 is eligible to apply to join in January of 2023. Applications for next year will open this fall.

Each SELF member can take action and make a positive impact through the completion of their own leadership design. Step into a leadership role and learn the ins and outs of leading a successful team.

The program is designed to focus on a different aspect of leadership over each of the four seasons. The summer in SELF consists of students completing a Take Action program in their own community, as well as taking a look back on what that opportunity meant to them as a leader. 

“They are referred to as a “Take Action” project because the fellows take action to put their leadership skills and passions to work in order to make a positive impact on their communities. Fellows are encouraged to use the opportunity to address a problem they truly care about,” said Emerson Marine, Program Coordinator, Enrichment.


Blue Hen Proof of Concept 

The Blue Hen Proof of Concept (BH-POC)  is a year-round program designed to help research innovators with commercialization efforts develop new startups. The program supports the building of prototypes to prove that the technology works as designed and meets the needs of consumers. 

The BH-POC program includes training, mentorship, marketing exposure, and gap funding. Depending on which fund the teams are eligible for, they can earn gap funds up to $10,000 or $75,000. These funds are designed to make and test prototypes and to support progress towards the next funding opportunity. 

The deadline for the Summer 2022 application is August 5 and the Selection Board's decision comes on August 25. 

Put your team together and begin proving the value of your products or inventions this Spring. Apply for the program here.


Summer Founders

The busiest activity of the summer comes from Summer Founders where the VDC becomes a second home for many early venture startups in a pre-accelerator program. Founders receive a stipend for working on solutions to a problem they have identified.  The application period takes place during the spring semester each year.  Last year  Summer Founders included 10 teams, collectively earned $44,000 in sales, conducted 745 customer discovery interviews, networked with 82 advisors and investors, and formed 24 partnerships.  After 11 intensive weeks this year, Summer Founders will finish with Demo Day scheduled for August 18, 2022, at the Audion on the STAR campus. This is when startup teams have the opportunity to give their culminating pitch demonstrating their progress to their networks, mentors, and investors.  


Social Media This Summer

Follow us on social media this summer where we will continue to talk about all that we do during the summer months with earn prizes and hear about things first to plan your fall semester. Connect below on your favorite social media channel.



About Horn Entrepreneurship

Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world. 

Topics: community, events, resources, opportunities, students, equity, Summer Founders, demo day, pre-accelerator, commercialization