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Opportunities for Dallas Innovators

Check out this curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. Our roundup of programs is for entrepreneurs, corporates, creatives, inventors, educators, and impact innovators in North Texas.

North Texas is a big place with plenty of opportunities. 

We’re on the lookout for contests and competitions; accelerator and recognition programs; and resource and grant opportunities for North Texas innovators. (Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the loop.)

Information from the organizations is compiled by Dallas Innovates. Things can change: Confirm all deadlines and information with the organizations.

Know of a deadline coming up? Tell us about it here.


Visible Hands Accelerator

Visible Hands Accelerator is seeking underrepresented founders of early-stage startups, including but not limited to women, non-binary and trans people, and Black, Latinx, and Indigenous American People to participate in a virtual-first cohort running Sept. 12 to Dec. 16. Members receive an initial $25,000 pre-seed investment to enable you to work full-time on your startup. After the program, you have the opportunity to apply for additional funding of $150,000. Cohorts become part of a community of underrepresented founders who will help you in your entrepreneurial journey.

For more information, go here.


Kaleidoverse Metaverse Design Contest

Kaleidoverse, a combination of “kaleidoscope” and “metaverse,” is a contest for students and professionals to show off their metaverse designs in four categories: Fasion, Visual, Product, and Space. Participants can choose one or more categories. Individuals, companies, and organizations around the world can apply. Participants compete in two divisions: Student and Professional. Participants may compete as a team of no more than five members.

Six awards are set: Best Fashion Design Award, Best Visual Art Award, Best Product Design Award, Best Space Design Award, Best Popularity Award, and Finalist Award. The Best Award winners in 2 divisions and 4 categories will receive the NFT trophy, and the Finalist Award and Best Popularity Award winners will receive the corresponding NFT medals. Best Design Award winners in 4 categories in the student division will receive a $1000 bonus. Finalists in the professional division will be able to attend a closed room online pitch day organized by angel investors.

For more information, go here.


Hedera22: Smart Contracts

Hedera is offering more than $500,000 in prizes to developers who build game-changing decentralized applications with scalable Solidity Smart Contracts on Hedera. Hedera 22, aka the Hackathon, offers awards in categories that include gaming, supply chain, social causes, micropayments, and IoT. Participants must create an account with before registering for the Hackathon. 

Go here for more information and contest rules.


Hello Alice’s Small Business Growth Fund

Houston-based Hello Alice offers a Small Business Growth Fund to help capital entrepreneurs. Each recipient gets a $5,000 grant to accelerate business growth. Eligible businesses must be for profit, have less than $1 million in 2021 gross annual revenue, have a commitment to their customers and community, and have a clear plan for use of funds.

Go here for more information.

Cures Within Reach CureAccelerator

Non-profit Cures Within Reach manages CureAccelerator which focuses on repurposing research to investigate whether a drug or medical product approved for use for one condition can be used to treat another condition. They currently have several Requests For Proposals (RFPs) open in multiple categories. For the May 20 deadline, they’re seeking drugs to be part of repurposing clinical trials to impact blood cancers from anywhere in the world and are accepting budgets up to $75,000

For more information, go here.


Veteran Woman Entrepreneur Grant

Texas Woman’s University is offering the Center for Women Entrepreneurs’ Veteran Woman Grant to ten female veterans in Texas. Ten $5,000 grants for a total of $50,000 in grant funds will be awarded to qualified Texas women veterans who are starting or who have existing businesses. It is the second year the CWE is offering this grant program aimed specifically at helping women veteran entrepreneurs throughout Texas. Awardees must meet with the center’s small business advisor and veteran mentors, as well as complete a virtual training series hosted by the center, to receive funding. The course will cover topics related to business plan development, insurance, marketing, legal matters, accounting and finance.

For more information, go here.


Health Wildcatters Accelerator Program

The Health Wildcatters Accelerator Program is ranked among the best in the country, according to the Seed Accelerator Rankings Project, a study conducted by MIT, University of Richmond, and Rice University.

Go to F6S to apply for Health Wildcatters 2022.

SKU Dallas ’22 

SKU, an Austin-based consumer products accelerator, is offering its third cohort in Dallas, which runs August through November. You can be located anywhere in the nation to apply. Ideal candidates are market-validated companies with compelling founders and innovative products.

Brands can be from a wide variety of products, including food, beverage, apparel, personal care, and household products. The program— which is supported by DFW CPG, an organization founded last year to connect and build food and beverage companies in North Texas—accepts six or seven companies which are supported by 60 mentors. Curriculum includes branding, mission and vision, channel strategy, finance, and legal. Participating companies receive $20,000 at the end of the program.

“Incredible transformations that happen over the course of a 12-week cohort,” said SKU CMO Michelle Breyer on LinkedIn. “Last year’s cohort included a wide range of brands—from sprouted nuts to games to help couples bond to cashew cheesy sauce.”

For more information, go here.


7-Eleven’s Brands With Heart Showcase

Got a great new food or beverage item you’d like to introduce to new customers? Apply to Irving-based 7-Eleven’s Brands With Heart event. For the fourth year, emerging brands are invited to make their case for why they deserve a spot on the shelves of 7-Eleven stores. Whether the product is ready for market or still in the works, all brands are encouraged to apply. 7-Eleven is looking to diversify its product offerings beyond traditional convenience store fare and put innovative items on the shelves.

Go here for more information.


Fort Worth Main Street Program

The city is kicking off a new pilot program in partnership with Main Street America. Two pilot communities in Fort Worth and their managing organizations will be selected to receive direct support from Main Street America and the City over three years. The managing organizations and their stakeholders will receive training from Main Street to help their community produce a customized transformation strategy and actionable goals to spark economic growth in their district. This support will also include funding for a community-focused, full-time staff person (also known as a “community quarterback”) who will be dedicated to implementing the strategy, as well as funding for projects and development that supports the overall transformation strategy and drives additional private investment into the district.

This program is the first of its kind in a major Texas city. If the program is successful, the City of Fort Worth will look to launch a longer initiative, adding more business corridors in the future. Eligible areas must have the majority of their commercial district in a Neighborhood Empowerment Zone, with special consideration given to those that include an Urban Village or Revitalization Target Area. Eligible areas also should have significant historical or cultural assets and demonstrate a need for community capacity-building and a need for a community economic development organization.

For more information, go here.

Cures Within Reach CureAccelerator

Non-profit Cures Within Reach manages CureAccelerator which focuses on repurposing research to investigate whether a drug or medical product approved for use for one condition can be used to treat another condition. They currently have several Requests For Proposals (RFPs) open in multiple categories. They have a June 6 deadline for RFPS for repurposing trials in any disease from US research institutions testing any therapy for cures for underrepresented racial and ethnic minority patients and researchers and are accepting budgets up to $70,000

CureAccelerator has another June 6 deadline for RFPS from U.S. research institutions for repurposing trials for therapies in any rare disease for underrepresented racial and ethnic minority patients and researchers and are accepting budgets up to $70,000 .

For more information, go here.


D CEO’s Corporate Counsel Awards 2022

This award honors outstanding in-house attorneys in Dallas-Fort Worth. All finalists will be featured in D CEO’s October issue and recognized at an event in the fall where winners will be announced. Categories include Outstanding General Counsel or Chief Legal Officer and Outstanding Deputy General Counsel/Associate General Counsel (both with awards for various sized legal departments), Outstanding Up-and-Comer, Champion of Diversity Award, and Outstanding Community Service.

For more information or to nominate an attorney, go here


Deloitte’s 2022 Technology Fast 500 Awards

Now in its 28th year, the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 recognizes the most innovative, fastest-growing technology companies in North America. Advancements in technology, media, life sciences, fintech, and energy tech are increasingly essential to society. They help us work smarter and more efficiently, paving the way to continued economic growth. Amid the unpredictable challenges of today, these accomplishments take passion, dedication, and resilience—and that deserves to be honored.

Applications are due June 24. Deloitte has created an application packet to guide you through the process—and answer any questions you may have about the program itself.

The winners’ celebration is November 15.

For more information, go here.


D CEO’s Dallas 500

D CEO is seeking nominations for its next edition of the Dallas 500, which features profiles of the most influential North Texas executives in more than 60 industry and nonprofit categories. Please note, per D CEO, the Dallas 500 is not an awards program or a vote-based list. The D CEO editors make all decisions, and the number of recommendations an individual receives is not a consideration factor.

Go here for more information and to nominate.


2022 Global Create the Future Design Contest

In its 20th year, this contest is a challenge to engineers and students around the world to create the next great thing. The challenge was created in 2002 by the publishers of Tech Briefs magazine to help stimulate and reward engineering innovation.

The grand prize winner will be chosen from the winners in seven entry categories: Aerospace and Defense, Automotive/Transportation, Consumer Product Design, Electronics/Sensors/IoT, Manufacturing/Automation/Robotics, Medical, and Sustainable Technologies/Future Energy.

The contest aims to bring attention to product designs that enhance humanity, improve the quality of healthcare, or help to provide sustainable solutions. Previous grand prize-winning entries include self-destroying plastics, a self-contained device for organ and limb transport, and an economical rapid screening device to prevent food-borne illness.

North Texas-based Mouser, a long-time sponsor along with Analog Devices and Intel, says previous contests have produced more than 15,000 design ideas from engineers, entrepreneurs, and students in more than 100 countries. 

The contest is open for submissions through July 1, 2022. The grand prize winner receives worldwide recognition and a cash prize of $25,000 for an innovative product that benefits society and the economy.

For details, go here.


Lone Star Film Festival

The 16th annual Lone Star Film Festival is calling for entries for its November 10-12, 2022 festival.

Best of Fest Award
Best Feature Film Award
Best Documentary Film Award
Cine-Más Award
Audience Choice Awards (Feature & Short)
Best Narrative Short Film Award
Best Documentary Short Film Award
Best Texas Film Award
Best Super-Short Short Film Award
Best Student Film

Creatives can submit narrative feature-length films (90-120 minutes recommended), documentary feature-length films (60-120 minutes recommended), and narrative and documentary short-length films (under 60 minutes recommended). International films are also welcome but must either be in English or have English subtitles.

Other key dates:
August 25, 2022 (Late Deadline)
September 22, 2022 (Notification Date)
November 10-12, 2022 (Festival)

For more information, go here.


Last Mile Education Fund

The Last Mile Education Fund is working to increase access to biotech careers for low-income North Texas students. Biotech talent is in high demand in the region across startup, corporate, and medical systems, and offers fulfilling and high-paying careers with benefits. The North Texas Biotech Workforce Fund supports students aiming for biotech and related STEM degrees and certificates in 26 designated counties in North Texas. Qualified students will be eligible for rapid response emergency mini-grants to support their educational progress and help overcome unexpected financial obstacles. 

Go here for more information.

CDFI Friendly Fort Worth

The City of Fort Worth’s Department of Economic Development and the Department of Diversity and Inclusion are working through 2022 with CDFI Friendly America, a national company that helps connect underserved communities with CDFI (Community Development Financial Institutions) loans. CDFIs offer flexible, affordable, and patient financing to small business owners, affordable housing developers, nonprofits, consumers, and commercial real estate in underserved communities. CDFI Friendly Fort Worth will match residents, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits to CDFIs to help address funding gaps. The City of Fort Worth committed $3 million to the program, and officials hope to draw $250 million in financing over the next five years. To participate, the residence or business to be financed must be in Fort Worth.

For more information, go here.

Texas Skills Development Fund

Texas private businesses, business consortiums, and trade unions are eligible to apply for a grant through the Texas Skills Development Fund to assist with workforce needs by partnering with a public community or technical college, or with an organization that partners with one of those institutions. Grants for a single business may be limited to $500,000.

To be considered, an employer must:

      • Partner with an eligible grant applicant, which is a public community or technical college, the Texas Engineering Extension Service, or a private, nonprofit community-based organization in partnership with one of those institutions
      • Be actively involved in the planning and design of the customized training project
      • Pay wages to the employees who complete the training program that are equal to or greater than the prevailing wage for the occupation in the local labor market
      • Disclose any other state or federal grant funds awarded for the proposed training project
      • Sign an agreement with the grant applicant outlining each entity’s roles and responsibilities in the training project, including reporting requirements related to trainee participation
      • Provide equal employment opportunity documentation as well as information on the occupations for training, employment benefits, wages and social security numbers for trainees
      • Use to post openings for new workers trained under the project

For more information, go here.


Deadline dates not disclosed.

Health Finance Institute Accelerator

The Health Finance Institute and Health Wildcatters are partnering to bring the Health Wildcatters accelerator program to one healthcare startup that has an application in chronic disease management or treatment applications. Priority will be given to applications targeting developing countries and/or underserved, low-income, or vulnerable communities. Through this partnership, startups may apply for one position, underwritten by Health Finance Institute in partnership with Health Wildcatters. This selected startup will go through the Health Wildcatters program in Fall 2022, but also enjoy the support of the Health Finance Institute’s global and high-impact network of supporters. 

For more information, go here.

Mockingbird Ventures and UT Dallas Seed Fund

The UT Dallas Seed Fund is working in partnership with Mockingbird Ventures to help identify their next seed-stage investment funded by Mockingbird Ventures. Submit your application to apply for a $25,000 to $50,000 investment using a standard SAFE agreement.

Go here to apply.

o9 Solutions and Supply Chain Insights Invite Business Manufacturing Leaders to Test Outside-In Supply Chain Planning Processes

Through a reverse RFP process, a panel of business leaders, academics, and o9 leaders will pick two companies to participate in the research, o9 announced.

It’s an open call to businesses that builds on Project Zebra — an open-source think-tank initiative to drive supply chain improvement that began in January 2021 that was initially funded by o9. Project Zebra’s goal is “to define, test, and validate the value proposition of an outside-in approach for planning and decision-making,” according to o9.  

To learn more about Project Zebra and download the application form, go to

Richardson’s HBAR Foundation Launches Fund to Invest in Female Founders, in the midst of Women’s History Month.

The foundation—established and funded by distributed ledger tech company Hedera Hashgraph to provide resources to entrepreneurs developing on the network—has launched the HBAR Foundation Female Founders Fund. It says the goal of the market development fund is to fund seed-stage projects, while supporting and incentivizing diverse women to join the Hedera and web3 ecosystems.

To lead and manage the fund, the foundation has tapped Jennifer Kim, founder of Blockheads Development. The foundation said it plans to fund between five and 10 projects focused on things like time, budget, and actionability.

The HBAR Foundation was established last September, with Hedera’s governing council—made up of 26 companies, including GoogleIBM, and Boeingearmarking 5.35 billion of its HBAR tokens (at the time worth about $2.5 billion) to provide the foundation with resources and grant funding.

CDFI Friendly

Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) want to help you and your community by providing flexible, affordable financing. If you need financing for a business, to buy a home, to develop housing, for your nonprofit, or for real estate the application is now open. The program will act as a liaison between business owners, non-profits, and affordable housing developers to offer flexible loans. To be eligible, the property must be located in the City of Fort Worth.

Go here to learn more.

Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting Program

The U.S. Small Business Association offers contracts to small businesses that are at least 51 percent owned and operated by women who are U.S. citizens, manage day-to-day operations, and make long-term decisions. These contracts are specifically for industries where women-owned businesses are underrepresented. Some contracts are restricted further to economically disadvantaged women. To qualify, women must have a personal net worth of less than $750,000, $350,000 or less in adjusted gross income averaged over the previous three years, and $6 million or less in personal assets.

For more information, go here.

Homeland Security Startup Studio 2022

The Homeland Security Startup Studio is designed to identify, accelerate and deliver commercial applications of technologies from US laboratories and research centers to raise awareness of the Department of Homeland Security’s mission. The innovative program will form teams of entrepreneurs and match them with ground-breaking technologies to assess their commercialization potential.

Entrepreneurs will work hand-in-hand with lab scientists and inventors, and explore forming companies around those technologies to solve the real-world homeland security problems of government and commercial customers. FedTech is currently recruiting diverse applicants who are ready to continue their entrepreneurship journey or take a step into the world of entrepreneurship, without the initial risk of leaving their day job, pay any fee, or giving up any equity.

Go here to apply.

Flash Funds through PeopleFund

PeopleFund offers Flash Funds up to $25,000 so you can get a boost for your business right when you need it most. With low interest rates and fees, you don’t have to worry about a price for speed.

With their streamlined process and quick turnaround, you’ll get the capital you need in a flash.

Click here to access the easy-to-use online loan application.

CPRIT Funding

CPRIT offers several funding opportunities for promising cancer research, product development, and prevention programs. All funding opportunities are announced through formal Requests for Applications (RFAs) and applications must be submitted through the online application receipt system.

Pitch.Tech Equity-Free Funding

Pitch.Tech is an idea-stage competition hosted by .Tech Domains in association with Startup Grind. The competition invites idea-stage entrepreneurs to submit their pitches and helps them go from zero to one.

Applicants will first compete at their respective chapters to qualify for the grand finals. The winner of the grand finals will win $10,000 in equity-free funding, $100,000+ in startup benefits through Startup Grind membership, and a host of other prizes to help kick-start their entrepreneurial journey.

Apply here.

RepairSmith’s Jump Start

Are you a nonprofit addressing socioeconomic, racial and ethnic inequalities in your community? RepairSmith is here to help keep you moving with our Jump Start initiative.

Jump Start is a community-focused initiative by RepairSmith that aims to remove the financial burden of car repair for nonprofit organizations—allowing delivery of essential services without disruption. Over the next year, RepairSmith will donate $250,000 in free car repair services to organizations who meet Jump Start’s criteria. Each nonprofit is eligible for up to $10,000 in free services to passenger and light duty vehicles.

Go here for more.

talkSTEM’s Her STEMlens

talkSTEM, a Dallas nonprofit that develops future generations of female and underrepresented STEM leaders, is launching “Her STEMlens,” powered by Comerica Bank, a national campaign to showcase a diversity of STEM moments contributed by girls and women from everywhere.

The virtual exhibition kicked off February 11 and will continue through May 31. Every month, the exhibition will be refreshed, showcasing images posted on social media fueled by the #herSTEMlens social media movement. Girls in K-12 classrooms, after school groups, families and more are invited to participate and appreciate STEM mindsets in action conveyed in the exhibition.

To participate, share your #herSTEMlens to be included in the virtual exhibition, which will feature women who are leaders in a wide variety of STEM-integrated professions, women in STEM careers, and young girls. First, post an image to your favorite social media platform. Second, add a question or idea that other girls and women can share. Third, use #herSTEMlens on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, or Facebook and tag @talkSTEM.

State Farms Ventures

State Farm Ventures is on the hunt for startups and tech companies with disruptive potential. The goal is to help State Farm better innovate to serve customers now and in the future. Pitching ideas to State Farm Ventures can be done on its public website, which contains information on current investments and the key areas the company is interested in, like senior living, home safety, and drones. “Go beyond the impossible” here.

Opportunities for Artists

Don’t Take Pictures, a photography magazine published in print twice-yearly, has compiled a number of awards, grants, fellowships, and residencies that artists can apply for. Go here and filter by what you’re looking for to check it out. Deadlines vary.

National Academy of Inventors

Initiate with leaders from your field and learn from their experiences by becoming a mentee with the National Academy of Inventors. You can get matched with the best mentor for your interests and gain expert advice on patents and filing, research, strategy, commercialization, and more. Go here to find out how to apply.

EnrichHER Funding

EnrichHER provides affordable and non-dilutive capital to revenue-generating U.S. based women-led businesses. You can apply in less than five minutes and get funding in as little as 48 hours.

Check to see if you qualify here.


A new multi-million fund has launched to provide affordable capital to nonprofits and small businesses in the South, including Texas. The Southern Opportunity and Resilience Fund, or SOAR, was developed by 13 community development financial institutions, including Liftfund and PeopleFund, to help businesses rebuild from the pandemic. SOAR, which has $50 million in initial commitments from investors. plans to raise $150 million. It’s open for applications for very low-interest loans of up to $100,000 and free business support.

Amazon Black Business Accelerator

Partnering with the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency and the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., Amazon has launched the Black Business Accelerator program. The grant program is aimed at empowering black-owned businesses by remedying “historical manifest imbalances by growing and advancing equity for Black-owned businesses.” 

The opportunity is open to U.S-based Amazon professional seller(s) who sell products on and will provide mentorship, business promotion, and financial assistance for business owners. 

Applications will be open on July 1 for grants up to $10,000 for eligible businesses.

Go here to learn more. 

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