Innovator Alert: Apply Now

Browse our curated selection of opportunities for innovators.

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

So, we’re constantly on the lookout for contests and competitions, award ceremonies, and available grants our 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.


Request for SBIR/STTR Phase I Proposals Addressing COVID-19

The Division of Innovation and Industrial Partnerships (IIP) of the Engineering Directorate invites US-based small businesses to submit Phase I proposals focused on the development and deployment of new technologies, products, processes, and services with the potential to positively impact the nation’s and world’s ability to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Areas of research that might be considered include, but are not limited to: artificial intelligence, digital health, diagnostics, distributed ledger, environmental technologies, medical devices, pharmaceutical technologies, disinfection and sterilization, and filtration and separations. Interested proposers are invited to submit to the NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I Program. Go here for more information.

Tech Wildcatters Cohort

Applications are open for Tech Wildcatters’ 2020 cohort. Through the Training Camp, promising startups are eligible to receive up to $130K upon hitting data-driven milestones. Dallas-based Tech Wildcatters says it’s looking for: “the hard-working entrepreneurs and the ideas that can stick. Whether you’re an idea on a napkin or already generating revenue, our new model is designed to customize an experience for you. And each time you hit new milestones, we invest in you further.”

Startups are encouraged to apply early so there’s more time to start working together. To learn more, email Venture Lead Grace Hawks ([email protected]).

DHD #Healthcareheroes 

The plan is simple: encourage individuals to film a short video expressing thanks to a health care professional in their life, or to the general health care field. The aim is to create a living tribute to the health care community by compiling the world’s largest collection of appreciation messages for frontline health care workers. In addition to recognizing the everyday heroism of health care workers, Healthcare Heroes will also generate financial support for our local hospital system. Energy Transfer, an energy company headquartered in Dallas, has partnered with DHD to donate $50 for each thank you video submitted, up to $100,000, which will be gifted to Parkland’s Public Health Preparedness Fund.

Go here for more.

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.


Rainforest XPRIZE’s $10M Competition

The competition “calls on innovators to create technology capable of identifying and cataloging rainforest biodiversity and developing insights that may lead to a new bioeconomy through standing forests,” reports Pulse 2.0. Over the course of four years, $10 million is expected to be awarded, with up to $500,000 in bonus prizes as well as milestone prizes for the final ten teams.


Create the Future 2020 Design Contest

Mouser Electronics announces their sponsorship of the 18th Create the Future Design Contest, a global challenge to engineers and innovators around the world to design the next great thing. Mouser is joined by suppliers Intel and Analog Devices as co-sponsors. A grand prize winner will be chosen from the seven entry categories: Aerospace and Defense, Automotive/Transportation, Consumer Product Design, Electronics/Sensors/IoT, Manufacturing/Automation/Robotics, Medical, and Sustainable Technologies/Future Energy. The grand prize is $20,000.


SSPI’s Mentor of the Year and “20 Under 35”

Every year, during its Future Leaders Dinner, SSPI honors three space and satellite professionals with its Promise Award, recognizing outstanding achievement and the potential to play an even greater leadership role in the industry. Promise Award winners are the top three members of each year’s 20 Under 35 cohort. They are employees or entrepreneurs who have demonstrated initiative, creativity and problem-solving skills that created new capabilities, overcame major challenges, and ensured excellence in technology and service. At the Dinner, SSPI also names its Mentor of the Year—an individual who has gone above and beyond the usual to attract young talent to the industry and help turn the promise of individual ability into careers with vital purpose for the world.

Nominations are new open for the 2020 “20 Under 35” and 2020 Mentor of the Year.

CodeLaunch 8 

CodeLaunch is “a national seed accelerator competition and startup conference that mitigates financial risk for early-stage startups by providing them with invaluable seed services.” To apply for submission to the hackathon, entrants need to have a pitch deck and mockups/wireframes. Over $100K in exclusive seed services will be available through the professional hackathon. Those interested can apply here.


Minority Entrepreneurship Institute Showcase competition

Startups can apply to the Minority Entrepreneurship Institute Showcase competition to be held in Frisco in July. MEI is building a national portfolio of minority-owned companies. In each of its markets—Texas, Indiana, and Florida—it offers a pitch competition featuring Jaylon Smith and educational summits. The MEI capital fund, which collaborates with partners like the University of Notre Dame and the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, champions minority entrepreneurs to help close the economic and educational gap, as well as inspire hope. “Today in America, African American startups access less than 2% of venture capital,” MEI notes. Smith founded MEI while finishing his first season with the Dallas Cowboys.


Artist Relief Fund

In order to give back on a deeper level, AURORA has created an Artist Relief Fund to offer direct financial support to North Texas artists who are in dire need thereof due to COVID-19. Grants of $4,000 will be distributed to artists who are focusing on the future of the arts and the community that surrounds it, as long as funds are available.

All grant applications will be reviewed and awarded by a selection committee.


The tenth annual Texas Observer Short Story Contest

Texas and non-Texas writers from all experience levels can submit their short stories in any genre, not exceeding 2,500 words. Although Texas-related settings and themes are welcome, they’re not mandatory. This year’s judge will be Bryan Washington, the author of Lot who was also a finalist in the 2016 Texas Observer Short Story Contest. The winning writer will receive $1,000 and publication in the Texas Observer print magazine and online.


Deloitte’s 2020 Technology Fast 500 awards

For more than 25 years, Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 has been honoring innovative technology companies that demonstrate passion and dedication. And although many organizations are facing significant challenges right now, the company doesn’t want that to overshadow accomplishments over recent years—and ability to keep moving forward.

Winning companies must have proprietary technology. Additional factors of determination are percentage fiscal-year revenue growth over a three-year period. The ranking is compiled from applications submitted directly to the Technology Fast 500 website and public company database research conducted by Deloitte LLP. Go here to learn more.


Lone Star Prize’s $10M Grant

Lyda Hill Philanthropies has launched the Lone Star Prize, a statewide competition with a $10 million grant on the line. It’s looking for a major idea that will improve health care, protect the environment, or boost the Texan workforce. Any nonprofit, for-profit enterprise, or team can apply, as long as they have an existing operating presence in Texas.

The Stevie Awards

The Stevie Awards for Great Employers honors the world’s best companies to work for and the HR teams and professionals, HR achievements, new products and services and suppliers that help to create and drive great workplaces. All individuals and organizations worldwide—public and private, for-profit and non-profit, large and small—may submit nominations to the Stevie Awards for Great Employers. The 2020 awards will honor achievements since the beginning of 2019. For those who missed the June 3 entry deadline, late entries will be accepted through July 22 with payment of a late fee.


Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies

Per Fast company, its Most Innovative Companies has been “the definitive source for recognizing the organizations that are transforming industries and shaping society” since 2008. Last year, Fast Company recognized more than 400 organizations, from large companies to small startups.

“With innovation more important than ever this year, Fast Company is looking forward to recognizing the organizations that are moving the world forward,” the publication said.

Every submission for the 2021 Most Innovative Companies will be individually evaluated by Fast Company editors and reporters. Enter now.


Good Pitch Local

Good Pitch Local returns to Texas in partnership with EarthxFilm Festival. This curated program highlights and supports short-form non-fiction media projects and powerful stories from community leaders addressing climate justice in Texas. It culminates in a day-long event that is a model for radical collaboration, offering cross-sector support for the featured projects. Good Pitch Local is an invitation-only event that is free to all participants. The day includes light refreshments and a networking lunch. This year’s event has been postponed to coincide with the celebration of Half Earth Day between October 22-25, 2020 in collaboration with EarthxFilm Festival in Dallas

Mediamakers and organizations can go here to apply.


Lone Star Film Festival

The Lone Star Film Festival is held each year in downtown Fort Worth’s Sundance Square, which serves as the cultural and social center of downtown. Fort Worth is the 13th largest city in the nation, and the Fort Worth/Dallas metroplex consistently ranks among the top five media markets in the U.S. We encourage submissions 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 30 minutes recommended). International films are also welcome but must either be in English or have English subtitles. August 10 is the late deadline, with Earlybird Deadline: May 18, Regular Deadline: July 13. Applications are being accepted now. 


Funky Finds November Market

Funky Finds is accepting vendor applications for the 11th Annual Funky Finds Holiday Shopping Experience from November 21-22 at Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth. You can find all the vendor information here and the link to apply at the end of the page.


NASA’s Lunar Loo Challenge

NASA is calling on the global community for their novel design concepts for compact toilets that can operate in both microgravity and lunar gravity. These designs may be adapted for use in the Artemis lunar landers that take NASA back to the Moon. Artemis is NASA’s program to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024.

Although space toilets already exist and are in use (at the International Space Station, for example), they are designed for microgravity only. NASA is looking for a next-generation device that is smaller, more efficient, and capable of working in both microgravity and lunar gravity. 

Solve the challenge here.


Texas Center for the Book’s Literacy Award

The Texas Center for the Book is seeking qualified nonprofit organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in Texas for the Fifth Annual Texas Center for the Book Literacy Award. The winning organization will receive a $2,000 cash award to assist in its future work promoting reading and combating illiteracy. Additionally, at least one honorable mention recipient will be awarded $500. To be eligible, the primary purpose of the nominated nonprofit organization must be to support and encourage literacy. 

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