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Here Are 15-Plus Opportunities for Dallas Innovators

Browse our curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. Our roundup of programs is for entrepreneurs, corporates, creatives, inventors, educators, and social innovators.

North Texas is a big place, with plenty of opportunities. 

So, we’re constantly on the lookout for contests and competitions, recognition programs, and available grants innovators can apply for. Keep in mind that application information may change at any time, so check the official websites for the latest details. (And be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the loop.)

Information, provided by 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.


Leadership Dallas Class of 2022

Leadership Dallas, founded in 1975 by the Dallas Regional Chamber, is the region’s premier leadership development program; a group of diverse individuals are selected each year in a competitive process based on proven leadership potential within their organization and in the community.

Up to 55 diverse leaders are selected each year to engage in a 9-month leadership development program that includes a retreat, eight monthly topic areas with homework, and a class project. Class members will learn from subject matter experts about issues most important to our future through educational experiences and discussions. The program will include a combination of virtual and in-person sessions.

Apply here.


Fast Company’s Next Big Things in Tech

This new recognition program highlights new tech breakthrough that can help define the future of the industries they serve. Fast Company encourages any type of company or industry—including small-but-vital projects as well as large industry-shifting advances—to apply. “Award-worthy applications will showcase new, groundbreaking technology or reveal a completely innovative application for existing tech,” FC says.

  • 11 categories include Health, Consumer Electronics, Energy, General Next Tech, and more.
  • Applications will be judged on ingenuity, relevancy, and current and potential cultural and business impact.

Go here for details.


The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program

10,000 Small Businesses give entrepreneurs access to practical business education, covering negotiations, marketing, financial acumen, and more. In addition, you will receive the tools and professional support to develop a strategic and customized growth plan that will take your business to the next level.

Dallas College is one of twenty sites nationally to offer this best-in-class program designed by Babson College, the nation’s leading entrepreneurship school. The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business-Dallas College site is now taking  applications for its Fall cohort (September 2021).
If you are selected, you will receive a full scholarship to participate at no cost to you. 

Apply online to take advantage of the opportunity to grow your business.


Business Council for the Arts’ Obelisk Awards

In times of crisis it’s more important than ever to recognize the champions of arts and culture in North Texas. Effective leadership is a crucial component to the continued viability of North Texas nonprofit organizations from large to small. Join Business Council for the Arts in celebrating the businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals whose contributions to the arts are making a powerful and positive impact in North Texas.  

One organization may make multiple nominations in various categories here.


Texas Pride Impact Funds 2021 Grants Program

The Board of Directors of Texas Pride Impact Funds has announced the organization’s 2021 Grants Program for Texas-based nonprofits that provide support and services to the state’s LGBTQ+ community. The grants allow TPIF to help eligible organizations that have missions aligning with TPIF’s goal to secure the future for LGBTQ+ Texans.

The program will leverage TPIF’s philanthropic investments and partnerships to support organizations addressing critical needs, finding solutions to our communities’ most pressing challenges, fostering creativity, power building, and promoting resilience for a more just and inclusive Texas. Go here for more.

TiE Women’s Global Pitch Competition

Are you an early or late-stage female startup founder? Would you like to pitch on a global stage to VCs, angel investors and have access to more than $100,000 in equity-free prize money? Apply for TiE’s pitch competition.

The mission of TiE Women is to embrace, engage and empower women entrepreneurs across the globe—irrespective of the size of their enterprise, origin, standing or background.

Go here to apply.


Deloitte’s 2021 Technology Fast 500 Awards

For the 27th year, Deloitte is recognizing the most innovative, fastest-growing technology companies through the Technology Fast 500 Awards. Both private and public companies that redefine the cutting edge; transform the way we do business; combine technological innovation and entrepreneurship; or disrupt the technology industry are invited to apply.


D CEO’s Dallas 500

The editors of D CEO are once again seeking to profile the most influential North Texas executives in more than 60 business categories. Our sister publication has begun preliminary work on the 2022 edition of The Dallas 500, which will be released in November.

The Dallas 500 includes profiles of leaders, well known and under the radar, who make the regional economy tick. Selections are made by editors after hundreds of personal interviews, and months of research.

The deadline to make suggestions is June 30. Submit your ideas here, and read more about the Dallas 500 here.


Mouser’s Create the Future Design Contest

Mouser Electronics has announce its sponsorship of the 19th Create the Future Design Contest, a global challenge to engineers and innovators around the world to design the next great thing. Mouser, which has sponsored the contest for several years, is joined again by Intel and Analog Devices, Inc. as co-sponsors.

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

The grand prize winner will receive worldwide recognition and a cash prize of $25,000 for an innovative product that benefits society and the economy. Previous contests have produced more than 15,000 design ideas from engineers, entrepreneurs, and students in more than 100 countries. Go here for more.


Lone Star Film Festival

The 15th annual Lone Star Film Festival is the premier film festival held in the thirteenth largest city in the nation, Fort Worth. In-person screenings, Film Talks, and parties will return in 2021. Submissions are encouraged to be in the form of narrative feature-length films (90-120 minutes recommended), documentary feature-length films (60-120 minutes recommended), and narrative and documentary short-length films (under 59 minutes recommended). International films are also welcome but must either be in English or have English subtitles.

Films must be available for screening during the festival from November 4-7, 2021. Go here for more.


Call for Code Global Challenge

Join the Call for Code Global Challenge and build your skills on industry-leading, open hybrid cloud technologies while being part of a community of 400,000 problem solvers fighting back against the most pressing issues of our time.

By joining the community, you will be registered for the Global Challenge and will receive:

  • A free IBM Cloud account with $200 USD in credits, allowing you to build your skills and kick-start your solution 
  • Call for Code communications so you can receive the latest announcements, events, resources, and more
  • Access to a dedicated Slack workspace where you can find tips from Call for Code mentors to help accelerate app development


When you’re ready to submit your open source solution, visit Go here for more.


The Charles Bronfman Prize

The Charles Bronfman Prize is now accepting nominations for its 2022 Prize. The $100,000 award is presented each year to an individual or team whose innovative, entrepreneurial, humanitarian work, fueled by Jewish values, has significantly improved the world. An international panel of judges will select the Prize, which will be announced in January 2022.

The Prize was founded as a gift to Charles Bronfman by his children and their spouses as a tribute to the values and innovative spirit that have served as a compass throughout his life. It celebrates the inspiration and impact of humanitarians under 50 whose endeavors inspire future generations.

Go here for details.


CodeLaunch DFW

Improving Dallas and Code Authority are hosting CodeLaunch DFW on November 17, 2021. CodeLaunch is the seed accelerator event that pairs early stage tech startups with professional software development teams to accelerate their trajectory toward MVP, seed funding, and beyond.

CodeLaunch is an event which exemplifies Improving’s core value alignment with Conscious Capitalism. Sponsors and partners help guide winning startup ventures down the path of success while minimizing their financial risk.

Go here for more.


Elon Musk’s $100M Carbon Removal Prize

XPRIZE Carbon Removal is aimed at tackling the biggest threat facing humanity—fighting climate change and rebalancing Earth’s carbon cycle. Funded by Elon Musk and the Musk Foundation, this $100M competition is the largest incentive prize in history, an extraordinary milestone.‎

This four-year global competition invites innovators and teams from anywhere on the planet to create and demonstrate solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans, and sequester it durably and sustainably. To win the grand prize, teams must demonstrate a working solution at a scale of at least 1000 tonnes removed per year; model their costs at a scale of 1 million tonnes per year; and show a pathway to achieving a scale of gigatonnes per year in future.

The competition will last for 4 years through Earth Day 2025.

Team registration will remain open throughout the prize. The following deadlines apply:

  • Registration for the Student Awards will close October 1, 2021
  • Registration for the Milestone Awards will close December 1, 2021
  • Registration for the Grand Prize will close December 1, 2023



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.

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