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Here Are 8-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.

Don't miss this: Deloitte's 2021 Technology Fast 500 Awards has been extended through July 9.

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.


Envy Foundation’s Esports Empowerment Grant

The Envy Foundation, a nonprofit created by leading Texas-based esports and entertainment company Envy Gaming, is inviting high schools, middle schools, and clubs in Texas to apply for one of multiple $5,000-$15,000 grants to be awarded this fall to groups looking to start or grow youth esports programs. Each recipient of the Envy Foundation Empowerment Grant presented by Predator may use the funds to support their esports and gaming club or curriculum development, ranging from (but not limited to) purchasing gaming hardware to joining competitive youth esports leagues and tournaments to expanding club programming.

The following entities are eligible to receive an Empowerment Grant from the Envy Foundation:

  • Any school that is public, private, charter or nonprofit containing any grades K-12.
  • Organizations holding a current tax-exempt status as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3), or (19) of the Internal revenue Code.


2021 grants are available to Texas-based schools and organizations only. No less than five grant recipients will be selected, with notification in October.

Grant applications are accepted August 23, 2021, to September 24, 2021, at


PeopleFund’s BIPOC Business Accelerator

PeopleFund is launching access to a capital-oriented cohorts for BIPOC-owned businesses in underserved areas around Texas. The goal of this program is to accelerate early-stage entrepreneurs with capital, education, and ongoing technical assistance in order to support healthy small business growth in communities that need it most.

The accelerator will launch its inaugural cohorts in Greater Austin and Southern Dallas beginning in October. The program requires that entrepreneurs commit to an orientation, six virtual training sessions, and “homework” assigned in between training sessions over the course of eight weeks.

Program participants will receive access to technology and tools including LivePlan business planning software and on online curriculum for a period of 12 months from the program orientation, expedited loan packaging and application support, and ongoing after-care provided by PeopleFund and our partners. Graduates of the program who apply, and are approved for, a loan with PeopleFund will receive a grant of up to 10% of the loan amount to be used for equity injection or business purposes.

Go here for more.


Global Entrepreneurship Week Fort Worth

Now is the time to submit your events for GEW Fort Worth, which will run from November 7-12 this year.

GEW Fort Worth is part of a concerted effort by GEN Global to have events focused on entrepreneurship one week a year around the globe. Each November, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) reaches millions of people of all ages and backgrounds through local, national and global events and activities.

During the week each November, speakers, panels, competitions, showcases and networking make up the thousands of events held around the world. The goal is to inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. Around the globe, 180 countries participate in GEW every year, which results in about 35,000 events that include over 10 million people. In the United States alone, nearly 5,000 events, activities and competitions are planned across all 50 states by a wide variety of organizations.

Submit your event ideas here. If you have organized a session for GEW FW in the past, fill out the form. If you are a new organizer to GEW FW, please contact the team first.

GEW Fort Worth can help with space & logistics, but they need your expertise, ideas and entrepreneurial spirit.


Vista Bank’s Make Your Move Contest

In partnership with SMU Athletics, Vista Bank proudly announces the ‘Make Your Move’ contest for small businesses in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Enter your company today for a chance to win $10,000 of advertising to SMU fans and Small Business coaching from Vista Bank.

Winning prize includes:

  • 50,000 digital ad impressions on
  • Sponsorship of a social media feature for an SMU Spring Sports Team
  • One :30 second radio ad in each men’s and women’s basketball broadcast
  • One full page ad in the basketball yearbook
  • Inclusion on color ad in the SMU Rotunda campus yearbook
  • Inclusion on digital basketball signage
  • Small Business coaching from your friends at Vista Bank


Businesses can enter here:


H&M Foundation’s Global Change Award

The world’s largest innovation challenge to transform the fashion industry is now open for applications. H&M Foundation is looking for early-stage ideas addressing one or several of the earth’s global commons. Five winners will share a 1 million euro grant and get access to the one-year GCA Impact Accelerator, designed to make ideas scale at speed.

Apply here.


The City of Dallas’ Sustainable Food for City-Sponsored Events

The City of Dallas is requesting competitive sealed proposals as part of its commitment to increase access to local and healthy food. As part of the City’s Comprehensive Environmental Climate Action Plan (CECAP), the City is initiating a pilot program to set up a citywide agreement for local, healthy food for City-sponsored events of varying sizes. The City is launching this one-year agreement for up to $100k in estimated usage as a pilot program to make available to all City departments healthy, local food for City-sponsored events.

Go here for more.


Global Student Entrepreneurs Awards 

Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) Dallas is hosting the Global Student Entrepreneurs Awards (GSEA) local qualifying competition on November 16 at SMU Cox School of Business. 

Eligible students must currently be enrolled as an undergraduate student of a recognized college or university. Additionally, students need to be primarily responsible for the operation of a for-profit (revenue generating) business that has been operating for no less than six (6) consecutive months. The applicant’s business must have a minimum revenue of $500. 

The winner of the Dallas competition will compete at the national level in Miami on February 11, 2016. The winner of the national competition will attend the GSEA Finals in Bangkok to compete with the world’s top student entrepreneurs and have a chance to win over $150,000 in US cash and donated business services.

Go here to apply. 


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.

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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