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University Of Delaware


Newark, DE

Project Name

Proof of Concept Program

Award Amount

Federal Share

Local Match



Since 2017, the University of Delaware’s Proof of Concept program (POC) has supported the formation and launch of over half the DeepTech startups currently active within Delaware’s innovation ecosystem. POC-affiliated companies have created almost 100 new jobs and collectively raised over $12 million in follow-on funding. POC trains founders in repeatable methods for developing viable, market-driven products and businesses while bridging startup funding gaps between grants, customer revenues, and external investments.

EDA support ensures continuation of POC and provide important enhancements, including extending participation eligibility to all community-based scalable ventures within Delaware’s ecosystem. Additionally, POC offerings will be improved through augmented trainings, enriched mentorship, and access to new funding opportunities (i.e., POC Seed Fund and Angel network). Collectively, these enhancements increase the likelihood of venture success while simultaneously providing POC with long-term financial sustainability. POC needs to adapt and expand beyond UD to provide support and training opportunities to all Delaware DeepTech entrepreneurs, hyper-focusing them on driving the development of market-driven solutions/use cases for their novel technologies and positioning them to exceed the increasing due diligence metrics required to raise additional funding.

Key activities include:

  1. growing mentorship
  2. establishing a more robust POC support network
  3. enhancing training opportunities
  4. strengthening ecosystem connectivity

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Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (OIE)

Build To Scale (B2S)
formerly Regional Innovation Strategies Program (RIS)

SPRINT Challenge

STEM Talent Challenge

Accelerate R2 Network Challenge

National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship (NACIE)

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