Apply Now: Opportunities for North Texas Innovators –

North Texas is a big place with plenty of opportunities. Here’s a curated roundup of contests and competitions; accelerator and recognition programs; and resource and grant opportunities for North Texas innovators. 

Get the updated list on Friday: Sign up for our e-newsletter to stay in the loop. Information from the organizations is compiled by Dallas Innovates, and things can change: Confirm all deadlines and information with the organizations.

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

Moody Foundation’s Education M-Pact Fund Cycle 1

The Moody Foundation’s Education M-Pact Fund is an annual grantmaking process and a key component of the Foundation’s commitment of $1 billion for Texas education over 20 years. The name of the “M-Pact” fund reflects the trustees’ vision of a mutual promise and partnership between the Foundation and its grantees to support student success. With benefits extending beyond grant funding, the Education M-Pact Fund will cultivate a comprehensive network of grantees who are fueling student success in areas of deepest impact and greatest need. Through an open Request for Proposals (RFP), The Moody Foundation will distribute grants annually to education institutions and nonprofits whose work aligns with the Foundation’s strategic priorities of Early Learning and Postsecondary Success.

To be eligible, organizations must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or a public entity (e.g. a municipality, health department, or university/school), be located and funds used within the state of Texas, and provide services directly related to the priorities of Early Learning and Postsecondary Success. Moody Foundation priorities include serving low-income or at-risk populations; supporting research/evidence-based programs; are collaborative in nature; and address one or more focus areas of educator workforce talent, mental health and wellbeing of students and educators, special education, and wraparound services.

There will be two funding cycles, the first with the March 15 deadline and a second with an application period from April 15 to June 14. There will be an informational webinar on the Education M-Pact Fund Cycle 1 on January 31.

Learn more about the grants here. Register for the webinar here.

Morgan Stanley Inclusive Ventures Lab

This in-house startup accelerator promotes financial inclusion and provides access to capital for early-stage technology and tech-enabled companies. Morgan Stanley provides participating companies with $250,000 for each company in our New York-based program in exchange for a 5% equity stake. Morgan Stanley introduces startups to our bankers, financial advisors, technology experts and others who can connect each company to their industry networks. The lab also gives them access to potential clients and the investor ecosystem at large and pairs them with mentors and advisors who provide counsel to help companies grow and scale. The program is capped off by a Demo Day with presentations to investors and potential business partners and customers.

Learn more here.

Dallas Innovates 2024 AI 75
The Most Innovative People in Artificial Intelligence in Dallas-Fort Worth

Dallas Innovates, the Dallas Regional Chamber, and Dallas AI are teaming up to launch the new AI 75 program at Capital Factory’s Future of AI Salon today. The first-ever list will recognize Dallas-Fort Worth innovators in artificial intelligence. Nominations have been extended through March 20.

Learn more here. 

Inc. 5000 List

For nearly 40 years, the Inc. 5000 List highlights exceptional American growth stories and entrepreneurial success. Be recognized as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies. Companies are ranked according to the percentage growth of their annual revenue over a three-year period. To assess this, Inc. asks for your base year and recent year revenue figures, offering a three-year growth period. For the 2024 Inc. 5000, the base year is 2020 and the recent year is 2023. March 22 is the early rate deadline with an application fee of $295. The final deadline is April 26. Between March 22 and April 26, the fee is $395. 

Learn more and apply here.

DFW International Airport Business Opportunity Forum

Attend the free DFW Business Opportunity Forum to learn more about upcoming Infrastructure & Development Division contract opportunities at DFW Airport. Join airport officials and gain valuable insight into their Customer Obsession, Innovation Mindset, and Sustainability Goals. Your participation allows you to understand DFW’s business diversity & development and procurement requirements and how to position your company for success.
If you attend in person, you’ll have the chance to network with airport executives, architects, engineers, construction firms, suppliers, partners, and advocacy groups. It’s the perfect chance to make those all-important connections that could take your business to the next level.

The in-person event is 8 to 11 a.m. March 27 at AMC Grapevine Mills, 3150 Grapevine Mills Pkwy., in Grapevine. 

There also is an online version available. Register for either option here.

UTD Community Business Booster Program: Service-Oriented Companies

Funded in part through a grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Community Business Booster Program aims to boost opportunities and resources to historically excluded and underrepresented individuals, helping them make their businesses even better. Starting April 8, the group meets once a week for 6 weeks at the Richardson IQHQ where experts will give you guidance, resources, and individualized assistance to make your business successful. Free dinner will be provided at each cohort gathering. The program is open to entrepreneurial-minded teams with two to three founders. This group focuses on Service Providers (consultants, transportation, beauty, healthcare, hospitality, health and wellness). Other Community Business Booster programs later this year assist social services and nonprofits (class begins in July), and startups (class begins in October).

Learn more and apply here.

Hello Alice and DoorDash Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund

The average small business loses $3,000 every day they remain closed due to a natural disaster. To help restaurants recover in times of critical need, DoorDash has partnered with Hello Alice to create the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund. The fund supports restaurants impacted by natural disasters like fires, floods, and hurricanes, and provides relief through $10,000 grants. Small-business owners with less than $3 million in revenue that have been hit by a natural disaster are eligible. The business must have a brick-and-mortar location in the United States or Puerto Rico, three or fewer locations, $3 million or less in revenue per location, and fewer than 50 employees per location. Businesses must be experiencing hardship because of a state or federally declared natural disaster.

Learn more and apply here.

Start. Pivot. Grow. Small Business Grant

Start. Pivot. Grow. Accelerator is offering a $2,500 small business grant. The winner also will receive a copy of the digital business growth plan and will be announced during National Small Business Week. To be eligible, the business must have been operating for two years or more.

Learn more and apply here.

Galaxy Grants

Calling minority and women entrepreneurs in the United States, Nonprofit Hidden Star offers $2,750 Galaxy Grants to help women and minority entrepreneurs succeed throughout their small business journey by providing important resources, tools, funding, and knowledge. Beyond the grants, Hidden Star offers the Galaxy of Stars program, with most of its services available for free, including educational resources, networking, support, and more.

Learn more and apply here.

FedEx Small Business Grant Competition

Every year FedEx gives one small business a $50,000 grant and nine others a $20,000 grant to help grow their businesses. Another 100 businesses will be selected as Honorable Mentions and receive a $300 My FedEx Rewards Voucher. So far, the company has given away about $1.9 million in grants since 2012. Applicants must be existing FedEx customers with a valid shipping account that has been open at least six months, be based in the United States, have fewer than 99 employees, in business for at least six months, and ship with FedEx. Winners will be announced May 16.

Learn more here.

Ignite Golden Ticket 2024 Dallas

Ignite announces its Golden Ticket Competition for women-led digital healthcare and medical device startups based in Texas and surrounding states. Ignite’s Accelerator Program offers a jump start for Texas-based companies and neighbors to gain entrance to the Program. The Golden Ticket Competition will be a pitch competition held in Dallas, TX on May 2, 2024. The top 3 competitors will win entrance to the Accelerator cohort for 2024. Apply by April 4.

Learn more here.

2024 Dallas History Makers

The Dallas Historical Society is now accepting nominations for 2024 Dallas History Makers, who will be honored at the Dallas History Makers luncheon, formerly the Awards for Excellence.  The Dallas Historical Society is kicking off its second century with a new awards luncheon logo and name while continuing to honor its traditions and the Dallas History Makers of today. Since 1981, outstanding individuals and organizations are selected for this honor from nominations solicited from the Dallas community.  The recipients are chosen for their contribution to the quality of life in Dallas in ten categories: Arts Leadership, Business, Creative Arts, Education, Health/Sciences, Humanities/History, Philanthropy, Sports Leadership, Volunteer Community Leadership, or for the special Jubilee History Maker Award. There is no charge for nominating someone but be advised: get approval from your nominee to be submitted and include three letters in support of the nomination.

Learn more and submit nominations here.

Lone Star Film Festival

The 18th annual Lone Star Film Festival in Fort Worth is seeking entries in a variety of categories, including feature films, documentaries, narrative short films, documentary short films, student films and more. They are encouraging submissions in the form of narrative feature 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. Entered films must be available for screening during the festival in November 2024. April 9 is the early bird deadline, the regular deadline is July 29, and the late deadline is August 26. Winners will be notified on September 25. The festival will take place in early November, with details released later this month.

Learn more here.

Vizient Innovative Technology Exchange

Vizient, Inc., a provider-driven healthcare performance improvement company, is seeking applicants for its 2024 Innovative Technology Exchange. Suppliers of medical equipment and technology who want to showcase their products for health care decision makers from across the country are encouraged to participate. Selected suppliers can demonstrate their technology on Sept. 18 in Las Vegas during the Vizient Connections Summit. Vizient defines Innovative Technology as an innovative device or product that is unique to the market, offers incremental clinical care or safety benefit to patients or health-care workers, and/or improves an organization’s care or business model over existing products or devices currently available for sale in the U.S.  

Learn more and apply here.

Moody Foundation’s Education M-Pact Fund Cycle 2

The Moody Foundation’s Education M-Pact Fund is an annual grantmaking process and a key component of the Foundation’s commitment of $1 billion for Texas education over 20 years. The name of the “M-Pact” fund reflects the trustees’ vision of a mutual promise and partnership between the Foundation and its grantees to support student success. With benefits extending beyond grant funding, the Education M-Pact Fund will cultivate a comprehensive network of grantees who are fueling student success in areas of deepest impact and greatest need. Through an open Request for Proposals (RFP), The Moody Foundation will distribute grants annually to education institutions and nonprofits whose work aligns with the Foundation’s strategic priorities of Early Learning and Postsecondary Success.

To be eligible, organizations must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or a public entity (e.g. a municipality, health department, or university/school), be located and funds used within the state of Texas, and provide services directly related to the priorities of Early Learning and Postsecondary Success. Moody Foundation priorities include serving low-income or at-risk populations; supporting research/evidence-based programs; are collaborative in nature; and address one or more focus areas of educator workforce talent, mental health and wellbeing of students and educators, special education, and wraparound services.

There will be two funding cycles, the first with the March 15 deadline and a second with an application period from April 15 to June 14.* There will be an informational webinar on the Education M-Pact Fund Cycle 2 on May 1.*

*Dates for Cycle 2 are approximate.

Learn more about the grants here.

Startup Prize 2024: Focus on Health

Startup Prize: Focus on Health has a mission to activate, evolve, and transform startups by connecting entrepreneurs with mentors, resources and investors that help shine a light on their respective paths to success. As opposed to other entrepreneurial competitions, Startup Prize deemphasizes the pitch and instead encourages entrepreneurs to focus on learning and connecting with each other while also building their resource networks with mentors, investors and fellow entrepreneurs.

To participate in the Startup Prize and to be eligible for consideration for the finals, all registrants are required to do two things: 1) attend at least one qualifying event, and 2) submit an entrepreneurial canvas. The qualifying events are an opportunity for entrepreneurs to get direct help from subject matter experts and from one another. They are typically held over two days and include roundtable discussions, keynote speakers and panels. All roundtables are hosted by talented mentors who are experts in a variety of fields and are focused on topics that are integral when building a business, whether financial (such as creating realistic projections and valuations), legal (protecting intellectual property, navigating regulatory & compliance issues), marketing (creating a brand, customer discovery), or funding (non-dilutive funding opportunities, VC, SBIR/STTR).

The online qualifying event is May 10-11, and the in-person event is June 21-22 in Shreveport, Louisiana. The online event registration deadline is April 19 and the deadline for in-person is May 31. Applicants may attend both, but at least one is required. 

Learn more and apply here.

Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator

The Techstars Physical Health Fort Worth Accelerator focuses on addressing the challenges and opportunities in the world of physical health. The accelerator begins September 9 and wraps up in December with Demo Day. Techstars aim to help entrepreneurs succeed. During the three-month program, startups are matched with mentors and a network of corporate partners, investors, and alumni. The program provides funding and fundraising opportunities, workshops, and resources. 

Learn more here.

Cancer Moonshot Expedited Examination Pilot Program

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is offering a new program to expedite technologies that prevent cancer and cancer mortality, in support of President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot. Patent applications pertaining to qualifying technologies will be advanced and reviewed earlier than the usual process to help reach the goal of reducing the cancer mortality rate by at least 50% within 25 years.

*The special status will be offered until January 31, 2025, or the date by which the USPTO accepts a total of 1,000 grantable petitions (whichever comes first).

Go here for the official notice.

Present Your Startup Story at 1 Million Cups

Every week, 1MC hears from entrepreneurs over a cup of coffee, and you have the opportunity to tell your story.  Entrepreneurs present business ideas to the local community and learn how those around them can support their business in its growth. The local 1 Million Cups (1MC) community gives you the opportunity to refine your elevator pitch to a diverse audience, access training programs, and engage with a network for support. Find your local community here. In North Texas, you’ll find multiple 1MC groups in locations including Dallas, Fort Worth, Irving, Frisco, Northeast Tarrant County, and Wichita Falls.

APPLY TO PRESENT (be sure to sign in or register first!)

National Science Foundation’s America’s Seed Fund

America’s Seed Fund distributes about $200 million a year to small businesses and startups with great ideas. Applicants may submit project pitches at any time during the year. If invited to submit a full proposal, the owner/entrepreneur could end up with as much as $2 million in seed funding.

Learn how to get started here.

City of Dallas Environmental Youth Advisory Council

The city of Dallas announced the Dallas Environmental Youth Advisory Council, an initiative seeking to empower and mobilize youth to take proactive steps towards environmental sustainability within the governmental sector. The Environmental Youth Advisory Council is intended to tackle such issues as urbanization, congested roadways, loss of green spaces, strained infrastructure, and heat islands through partnerships with city departments, the Dallas Environmental Commission, environmental agencies, and other organizations via education and hands-on work in various communities.

Teens in Dallas can apply here.

City of Fort Worth Boards and Commissions

The City of Fort Worth is seeking residents to serve on several boards and commissions. The boards with vacancies are the Aviation Advisory Board (Districts 2 and 10) and the Board of Adjustment-Commercial (District 6). The commissions with vacancies are the Building Standards Commission (District 2), the Historical and Cultural Landmarks Commission (District 10), the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Commission (District 4), the Urban Design Commission (District 10), and the Zoning Commission (District 1). You must be a resident with an address in the district with the vacancy to apply. Find your district number by searching your street address here

Learn more and apply here.

The DEC Network’s Mentorship Program

The DEC Network aims to provide qualified and experienced mentors to entrepreneurs. Mentors provide advice, counsel and experience that can help entrepreneurs avoid the hurdles that stand in their path, while also being able to catapult their businesses forward. DEC Network mentors are volunteering their time to invest in small businesses because they understand the power of mentorship to make a difference. Mentors should be business leaders who have been in business for more than one year, have a legal entity, or are preparing to become a legal entity. Programs offered include 3 month, six month and 1 year mentorship options. Based on the prospective mentor’s application, DEC matches them with a mentee in the appropriate industry.

If you’re a startup founder looking for a mentor, there’s an application for you, too.

Learn more and apply here.

Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Sprint and Registered Apprenticeships

The U.S. Department of Labor is encouraging companies to help meet the rapidly growing demand for workers critical to building clean energy technologies, producing semiconductor chips, and driving a manufacturing boom all across the country. The Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Sprint aims to expand and diversify pathways into good jobs and careers in advanced manufacturing. This national sprint brings together employers, labor unions, workforce development organizations, and others to develop high-quality education and training standards, portable credentials, and labor-management partnerships to ensure a diverse and robust manufacturing workforce ready to lead America’s manufacturing renaissance. 

In alignment of the broader Sprint, the Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship Sprint focuses on expanding Registered Apprenticeships within advanced manufacturing, including clean energy, semiconductors, supply chain, aerospace, automotive and biotechnology sectors/occupations.

Learn more here.

IBM’s Call for Code Global Challenge

How can AI improve sustainability? Each quarter, IBM hosts a competition for teams of developers and problem solvers to build tech solutions that leverage IBM AI technologies to address specific global sustainability problems in clear and unique ways. By participating in the Global Challenge, in addition to the chance to win prizes and implementation support, participants gain skills in emerging tech like AI and machine learning and contribute to projects that have potential to help our planet. The quarterly challenge includes awards of up to $10,000, but the year-end awards will give out grand prizes of $50,000.

Areas of interest include carbon emissions, clean energy, supply chain transparency, water scarcity and quality, reducing waste, biodiversity, and reducing global food insecurity.

Learn more and register for the challenge here.

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Cohort

Owners of small businesses can receive 12 weeks of training for business growth, network with other business advisors and leaders, and find sources of capital in this free program.

Learn more about the program here.

Patagonia Corporate Grant Program

Patagonia’s corporate grant program provides nonprofit startups focused on environmental protection with grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. Patagonia’s has a commitment to support the environment and help foster organizations that aim to make a positive environmental impact.

For details, go here.

HSC SBIR Program

This program, operated through the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, was created to help the owners of local forward-thinking small businesses apply for federal funds through the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, collectively known as America’s Seed Fund. In December, HSC received a $2 million grant from Tarrant County to fund the program. To be eligible, companies must be in Tarrant County, have no more than 500 employees, be U.S. owned and operated, feature innovations and R&D with plans to commercialize. A new cohort begins each month through November 2024.

Learn more here.

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits Incubator Academy

Southern Glazer’s is seeking diverse- and women-owned brands in wine, spirits, CBC, and non-alcoholic beverages to participate in its new Incubator Academy, a virtual platform providing e-learning modules on critical topics such as creating a sales pitch and the fundamentals of on and off premise math. The Incubator Academy is the latest program to support the commercial success of diverse- and women-owned brands.

Go here to learn more.

The DEC Network and Bank 7 Small Business Grant Program

Got a small business in Southern Dallas County? You may be eligible for The DEC Network and Bank 7’s Small Business Grant Program. Grants are intended for small businesses (under $1 MM) in Southern Dallas County, established before 2019, and have three or more employees. Grants of $2,500 to $5,000 will be awarded.

Go here for the application or email [email protected] for more information.

ARPA-H Seeking Health Breakthroughs

ARPA-H, the U.S. government’s Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health, is looking to support revolutionary solutions to today’s health issues through their Program Managers project. If you have a game-changing health idea, you can apply to become an ARPA-H Program Manager. Well-defined problems and clear expertise will help an applicant move to the pitch stage. After pitching your program idea to potential future ARPA-H colleagues, you could be chosen to become a Program Manager. Selected Program Managers will serve a term-limited appointment of three to six years to ensure a constant rotation of new ideas and diverse perspectives.

Go here to learn more. 

StartupOS Platform 

StartupOS just launched its platform for early-stage startups that provides free access to the business tools, guidance, mentors, and investors that founders need to accelerate the growth of their company and raise capital. The platform, which empowers founders through a series of learn-by-doing exercises, is perfect for validating ideas, building an MVP (minimally viable product), or achieving product market fit, all to increase the probability of a startup’s long-term success.

Go here to learn more.

Accelerate Fort Worth Foundation Small Business Grants

Got a small business in Tarrant County? Apply for the Accelerate Fort Worth Foundation’s Small Business Accessibility Grant program. The Accelerate Fort Worth Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurs in the greater Fort Worth area with resources they need to develop, launch and grow their businesses. To be eligible for the program, an applicant must be an owner or employee of a Tarrant County small business that has been in operation less than 5 years and has sales under $250,000. Applications will be accepted online until funds are exhausted. Up to $500 is awarded per applicant, with individual businesses capped at $2,000 per year from the date of application.

For more information, go here.

Historic Tax Credit Program

The renovation of a historic building that will be used for a business or other income-producing purpose can recieve a federal tax credit up to 20% of the qualifying expenses of the rehabilitation. To qualify, a “substantial” amount must be spent rehabilitating the historic building, which needs to be certified as a historic structure by the National Park Service. The tax incentives program is administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs). SHPOs serve as the first point of contact for property owners.

Go here to learn more.

U.S. DOT’s SBIR Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation offers over $10 million annually in contracts to U.S. small businesses to research and develop innovative solutions to transportation challenges. Participating small businesses have developed innovative technologies with help from SBIR, also called America’s Seed Fund.

Go here to learn more.

Dallas Small Business Diversity Fund

BCL of Texas is launching the Dallas Small Business Diversity Fund with a $1 million investment from Comerica Bank. The fund targets Dallas County women- and minority-owned businesses that have been operating for at least two years. The fund will offer loans ranging from $10,000 to $75,000. To qualify, the business should have 2 to 50 employees and a business net worth of $60,000 or more.

To learn more, go here.

URBAN-X Mini Impact Program

Mini, the company behind the iconic vehicle, is offering URBAN-X, a three week virtual program followed one week on location at URBAN-X in New York City. The program is open to entrepreneurs with ideas to improve city life. Participants will get support from a team of experts in early-stage ventures and will connect with industry mentors and a community of fellow entrepreneurs. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and the next cohort begins Nov. 14.

Go here to learn more.

CPRIT Funds for cancer-fighting research, programs and startups

CPRIT—an investor in startups and early-stage companies—has unveiled four new requests for applications for product development research grants for the 2023 fiscal year. CPRIT, which stands for Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas has funded more than $3 billion for cancer-fighting research, therapeutics, devices, and tools since 2010. This current round of funding is available to Texas-based companies for research in several categories, including therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, and technologies.

Go here to learn more.

NPower Tech Fundamentals: Free Virtual Training

This virtual program, with cohorts in fall and spring, aims to help young adults, 18 to 26, and military veterans and their spouses in the Dallas area, along with several other cities, launch careers in IT. This free 16-week training will offer opportunities for paid internships or project-based learning experiences while earning industry-recognized certifications. Participants will learn the basics of programming and IT-related skills and receive mentoring from senior IT professionals, employment readiness workshops, job placement assistance, and more.

Go here to learn more.

Cultivate Small Business mentors

Impact Ventures in partnership with Santander Bank, N.A. is bringing a food-centric Cultivate Small Business Program to Dallas-Fort Worth. This mini-MBA program targets food and food-adjacent businesses and comes with grants for qualifying business. Impact Ventures is looking for seasoned mentors and experts to help support entrepreneurs in the program, which starts in September.

To learn more, go here.

a16z START program

If you have an idea for a new technology company, the a16z START program from andreesen.horowitz offers a seed fund with partner investors helping entrepreneurs in their journeys. They help those who just have ideas and haven’t yet started to those who are scaling a new product. The a16z START program invests up to $1 million for a percentage of ownership in your company. Founders receive support, access to a network of debt financiers and help from a community of go-to-market pros.

For more information, go here.

Black Women & Black Non-Binary Founders Grant

These grants of $5,000 and $10,000 from SoGal and their partner organizations go to Black women and Black non-binary founders. Awardees will also receive tactical help navigating the fundraising environment at large so that they will have a more equitable opportunity at scaling the next billion-dollar idea. They will also receive lifetime “ask-me-anything” access to the SoGal Foundation and SoGal Ventures teams. 

For more information, go here.

Ecosystem Support Program (ESP)

The Ethereum Foundation offers grants and other support for open-source projects that strengthen Ethereum’s foundations, with a particular focus on builder tools, infrastructure, research, and public goods. The grants are designed to enable software builders to expand the range of tools available to those building on Ehereum, gaining a deeper understanding of cryptographic basics, and growing the builder ecosystem through education and community development.

To learn more, go here.

UNICEF Innovation Fund

The UNICEF Innovation Fund invests in early stage, open-source, emerging technology solutions, providing equity-free grants to qualified applicants. The program seeks those offering scalable digital public goods, stronger communities of problem solvers, and growing solutions that bring results for children and the world.

Go here to learn more.

Cowtown Angels

The Cowtown Angels network is accepting applications for funding consideration with a monthly deadline of the fourth Monday in 2023. Based in Fort Worth, Cowtown Angels is an angel network that connects entrepreneurs seeking early-stage funding with local investors in an environment that accelerates growth and rewards strategic risk-taking. Cowtown Angels is a program of TechFW, a non-profit organization created to encourage the development of the local business community by helping regional entrepreneurs commercialize innovative technology.

Go here for more information.

NASE Growth Grant

NASE (National Association for the Self-Employed) offers business development grants for up to $4,000. To apply, you must be a NASE member. NASE’s Growth Grant program is intended for businesses planning to take the next step in their venture.  It provides available capital for small businesses and sole proprietors to be able to hire and train additional employees, market their business in new and existing ways or invest in new equipment or software. 

For more information, go here.

GCRE Impact Fund

Gardner Capital, a private equity firm specializing in multi-family housing and solar energy development and investment, is offering a GCRE Impact Fund to provide up to $25,000 in funding for qualifying proposals to make solar more efficient for tenants in multifamily housing.

For more information, go here.

Toyota Ventures Innovation Fund

Toyota Ventures, Toyota’s Manufacturing Project Innovation Center (MPIC), and Toyota Research Institute are teaming up to fund early-stage startups developing solutions to modernize manufacturing and advance sustainable production. Toyota Ventures is investing between $500,000 and $2 million from its Frontier Fund or Climate Fund and offering a chance to collaborate with Toyota on a proof-of-concept project. Software and hardware solutions are welcome across a number of categories, including 3D simulation, AI, robotics software, improvements to energy efficiency, cybersecurity, and more.

To be eligible, the company should have less than $10 million USD in funding, have a working prototype, and a business model that solves a market need and delivers value to customers. For more information, go here.

Last Mile Education Fund

Applications are currently open for the Last Mile Education Fund, supported by a $100,000 grant from Lyda Hill Philanthropies, which 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.

The Accelerator Powered by Nestlé R&D

The Nestlé R+D Accelerator program aims at empowering food and beverage entrepreneurs to bring their products from idea to shop shelf in just six months. Successful applicants could receive assistance with design, packaging, innovation, regulatory and legal issues, plus get access to a prototype kitchen with resident chefs. The goal is to develop and test products in six months in real market conditions and includes a dedicated budget to help cover operational expenses. Entrepreneurs can apply to multiple Accelerators around the world. There are three Nestlé R&D Accelerators in the United States: two in Ohio and one at the U.S. headquarters for Nestlé in Arlington, Va.

Go here for more information.

Deadline dates not disclosed.

2023 Rising Stars

Do you know of a life science or healthcare innovation company that is making great strides? BioNTX is introducing the North Texas community to Rising Stars in the life science and healthcare innovation industry. Those selected as Rising Stars will have the opportunity to present their company during the BioNTX iC³ Life Science Summit. The summit takes place Sept. 28-29 at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas.

Submit a company to be recognized here.

RevTech Grad Accelerator Program

If your brand is known for innovation in retail tech, you can apply for consideration to take part in the Fifth Annual Accelerator Graduate Program at RevTech Ventures Aug. 21-24, 2023, in Dallas. The invited participants are curated from North America’s top accelerator programs. Past participants have attracted more than $1B in venture capital to date, with solutions on display in both e-commerce and 100,000 physical locations.

Go here to be considered.

Founder Dinner Series Club

Hosted by the Founder Institute of North Texas and sponsored by Builder AI, the Founder Dinner Series Club gives entrepreneurs the chance to network and learn from top founders. Eligible founders need to be ready to build their MVP or full-build application within the next four months, be founder, CEO or C-level decision maker, have seed funding to build their tech, based in North America, and not a Web3, gaming, or crypto-based application.

Go here to apply.

Cyber: Dallas Digital Fight Club

Join DFW’s top Corporate CISOs to hash out challenging cybersecurity issues. Only 40 CISOs, 40 VARS, and 5 vendors may attend. Event is April 19, 2023, at the Granada Theater.

Go here to learn more.

Judge or Volunteer at the International Science & Engineering Fair

Come be a judge or volunteer at ISEF, the world’s largest pre-college science competition. Regeneron ISEF provides an annual forum for 1,800 high school students to showcase their talents on an international stage. This year’s event is set for May 13-19 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.

Go here to learn more.

Heat Mapping Urban Heat Islands

Local community groups can apply for funding to help heat map their own cities. Heat Watch and Capa Strategies are seeking to engage communities in gathering data and create high-resolution descriptions of ambient heat.

To learn more, go here.

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 2023, 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 hereto 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 are open for grants up to $10,000 for eligible businesses.

Go here to learn more. 

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R E A D   N E X T

  • Here’s how your company could be named one of the most innovative, fastest-growing companies in North America. The prestigious Fast 500 rankings honor companies large and small, public and private. Time is ticking: Apply by June 23, 2023.

  • North Texas has plenty to see, hear, and watch. Here are our editors’ picks. Plus, you’ll find more selections to “save the date.”