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Startup302 funding competition seeks to boost underrepresented startups

Underrepresented founders of early stage, tech-enabled companies are the focus of a revamped funding competition.

Delaware’s revamped Startup302 pitch competition seeks to address the lack of minority and women startups.  

The changes are in response to statistics showing only one percent of all venture capital-funded founders are Black, less than half of one percent are Latinx and only eight percent are women.

“This competition is focused on Delaware and the region. The kind of metric that we’re using to define underrepresented founders is focused on tech or kind of tech-enabled scalable companies that are still in the pretty early stage," said Noah Olson, innovation support manager for the nonprofit Delaware Prosperity Partnership, which is is taking the lead on the competition.


He says they’re targeting these companies seeking startup capital that have at least one founding team member from one of the underrepresented groups


“When you look at statistics on those types of businesses and how they’re grown, there is a real skew in the amount of capital - venture capital - and other types of investment that goes to underrepresented founders,” Olsen said.                            .”

Olsen adds startups in advanced materials, agriculture, bioscience, business and financial services, and chemistry are especially encouraged to participate.

Startup302’s application window is open through February 12, 2021.

More than $200,000 in grant-based and in-kind prizes are available and the finals of the competition will take place virtually in the spring.


Applicants also get to engage with investors, industry mentors and key influencers.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.