Apply Now: 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.


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.

Texas Women’s University’s StartHER Grant

Looking for help to start your own business? Want to expand an existing business and need resources to do so?

The StartHER Grant Program helps women business owners—current or aspiring—to undertake new and innovative projects. A total of 25 business owners will be selected to each receive a $5,000 grant.

The purpose of this program is to foster greater economic development activity in Texas by encouraging and enabling woman-owned small businesses to undertake new and innovative projects. A total of $125,000 (25 grant awards) is available for this round of funding.

Go here for more.


Dallas Food & Wine Alliance’s Culinary Grant Program

The Dallas Food & Wine Alliance’s grant program is the first in the nation to provide support to farmers, artisan producers, chefs, wine/beer/spirits makers, culinary businesses and culinary professionals whose projects and initiatives show innovation and give back to their communities. As of 2020, it has awarded $367,500 in grants to help innovative culinary projects come to fruition.

The Dallas Food & Wine Alliance (DFWA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering awareness, support, and innovation in the North Texas culinary community through grants, educational programming, and events. Guided by an all-volunteer board of directors and committees made up of culinary- and community-minded professionals, the Alliance’s commitment is to promote Texas food, wine, spirits and craft brews and to increase appreciation of Texas’ culinary impact.

Go here to apply.


The Dallas Foundation’s Pegasus Prize

Through the Pegasus Prize, The Dallas Foundation intends to recognize organizations applying new ways to solve ongoing problems for residents of Dallas County. Included with the prize is a $50,000 social innovation grant. Nonprofits, for-profit organizations with a charitable purpose, and hybrid organizations applying innovative approaches to addressing community needs, are eligible. 

“Dallas is a community that’s ripe with creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit, and we know those characteristics extend to our social sector,” Matthew Randazzo, The Dallas Foundation’s president and CEO, says. “We’re excited to continue our successful track record of investing in solutions that are faster, cost-effective, data driven, and lead to better results for the residents of Dallas County.”

When considering applications for the 2021 Pegasus Prize, The Dallas Foundation seeks out bold, unique ways to address the most pressing needs in the community. The Foundation’s recognition of the annual recipient signals not only a financial investment in the organization but also an endorsement of the importance of its work.

To learn more about the Pegasus Prize and how to apply, visit here.


The Webby Awards

The Webby Awards honors the best of the Internet. Enter this season to claim your spot in Internet history, and solidify your team as the best in your industry. New categories include Best Creator, Installation & Experience, Sustainability, Health & Wellness, and more. Take advantage of early pricing, and enter before Friday, October 29th, 2021.


Texas Women’s Foundation’s Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards

Texas Women’s Foundation elevates and celebrates the impact of women leaders by presenting the Maura Women Helping Women and Young Leader Awards to exemplary trailblazers across Texas.

For 43 years, the Maura Women Helping Women Award has recognized those who have led the way in improving lives for women and girls in Texas. Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Utilizes their role in leadership to advance opportunities to serve the unique needs of women and girls;
  • Has spent an extended period of time in service helping women and girls;
  • Former or current Texas resident; and
  • Must be 40 years of age and over.


Texas Women’s Foundation’s Young Leader Award recognizes breakthrough leadership exhibited by a Texan. Nominees must meet the following criteria:

  • Achieving success in a field, initiative or sector;
  • Creating a path of opportunity for others to follow;
  • Former or current Texas resident; and
  • Must be between 18 – 39 years of age.


Recipients of both will be honored at Texas Women’s Foundation Leadership Forum & Awards Celebration, presented by AT&T, on April 26, 2022. Go here to apply for either.


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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