The Blue Hen Proof of Concept program (POC), Horn’s startup incubator, was awarded $50,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC).
The 2021 competition focused on start-up accelerators and incubators working with STEM/R&D entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups and innovation-focused small businesses located in HUBZones. GAFC was first launched by SBA in 2014 to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship across the country. GAFC prize awards have funded a wide range of accelerators and incubators in an effort to provide increased support to entrepreneurs, particularly in the STEM/R&D innovation ecosystem.
“This year’s cohort of winners emphasizes our commitment to equity. Our awardees have innovative plans to support underserved entrepreneurs, including women, people of color, and individuals from underrepresented geographic areas,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “The Growth Accelerator prize funds will ensure a wide range of startups and innovators working on cutting edge STEM/R&D ideas have access to technical support and capital.”
“Horn Entrepreneurship is focused upon creating equity through entrepreneurship, as to-date, 63% of POC participants represent one or more of the diverse groups GAFC seeks to support,” said Mike Rinkunas, Associate Director, Commercialization. According to Rinkunas, the GAFC award will be used to “accelerate development of viable & investable business models for Clean, Green & Blue Technologies and growth of innovative human capital in the program participants.”
University of Delaware is one of 84 organizations around the country awarded $50,000 through GAFC. For a full list of winners, please visit www.sbir.gov/accelerators.
Through the Blue Hen Proof of Concept program, Horn Entrepreneurship provides gap funding, mentoring and training during the initial technology commercialization activities of researchers and inventors across campus. The funding supports building prototypes, proving technology concepts and validating that the technology will meet customers’ needs and wants.
Since its inception in 2017, 32 startups have participated in the Blue Hen Proof of Concept program. In total, these ventures have received nearly $20M in grants or investments and created over 100 jobs.
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.