events & opportunities

A collection of upcoming events and opportunities, both from VentureWell and the innovation & entrepreneurship community

from venturewell


OPEN 2020: Virtual Edition

As a community of innovators, we’re truly living innovation—one of our core values at VentureWell—by transforming OPEN 2020 into a live, virtual event. While we are disappointed that we won’t be able to meet in person this year, piloting this conference as a virtual convening is an excellent way for our community to share their research and learnings with one another and help move the field of I&E education forward. Learn more and read our FAQs.


Tom KalilE-Team Program

Applications for our Summer 2020 E-Team Grants are now open! E-Team Grants offer up to $25,000 in grant funding, sponsored entry into our early-stage innovator training program, networking opportunities, and national exposure for your team as you work to bring your invention to market. Wondering if your innovation is a good fit? Try our Qualification Phase to vet your innovation and receive custom feedback and tips for strengthening your full Stage 1 proposal from our E-Team staff. Qualification Phase applications are due by March 20, and the deadline for Stage 1 proposals is May 6. Learn how to apply and start your application now!


BME ideaBME-IDEA Competition

Our national BME-IDEA Competition is the nation’s leading competition for biomedical and bioengineering students, offering university biomedical entrepreneurs the chance to win up to $10,000 and receive critical early-stage validation of their ideas. Strong BME-IDEA Competition entries define a problem and demonstrate the development of a device, product, or technology designed to solve it. Applications are due April 1. 


Engineering Design ChallengeDEBUT Challenge

Supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) and VentureWell, DEBUT is a national competition that recognizes undergraduate excellence in biomedical design and innovation. With $100,000 in prizes for 2020, the DEBUT challenge is open to undergraduate student teams working on innovative solutions to unmet health and clinical problems. The deadline to apply is June 1.



from the i&e community

EDA Build to Scale Program

The EDA’s Build to Scale (B2S) program (formerly known as Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) program builds regional economies through scalable startups. This year’ the program is offering three challenges to support organizations who are aiding early-stage companies in developing the next generation of technologies to apply for funding. The deadline to submit a concept note for all challenges is March 24.

NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM)

The National Science Foundation (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program is now accepting applications! Designed to address the need for a high-quality STEM workforce, the NSF S-STEM program supports low-income, academically talented students who are pursuing associate, baccalaureate, or graduate degrees in the select STEM fields. Applications are due by March 25, 2020! Learn more about the program and find out if you qualify.

Halcyon Incubator Cohort 13

Do you have a great idea for a startup or know a social entrepreneur interested in growing their social enterprise? Applications are now live to become a part of Halcyon Incubator Cohort 13, moving in September 2020. Fellows at the Halcyon Incubator are putting their brilliant minds to work addressing 21st century challenges from mental health, to mass incarceration, to immigration and refugee issues. Fellows receive a five-month rent-free residency in Washington, DC, a $10,000 stipend, access to incredible networking opportunities, leadership coaching, and mentorship, among other benefits. The deadline to apply is April 8.

Cleantech Open

Cleantech Open is the world’s oldest and largest cleantech startup accelerator and business plan competition. The accelerator includes five months of cleantech-specific mentoring, training, resources, visibility and access to capital to boost your startup to the next level. The final application deadline is April 19.

JLABS @ Washington, DC Children’s QuickFire Challenge

In honor of the new JLABS @ Washington, DC launching together with Children’s National1, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JLABS announces the JLABS @ Washington, DC Children’s QuickFire Challenge. Visionaries within the fields of pediatric oncology, pediatric surgery and influenza are invited to submit innovative ideas. Innovators can receive up to $150,000 in total grant funding and one year of residency at JLABS @ Washington, D.C. along with mentoring by the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies. The deadline to apply is April 24.

Bold Ideas 2020

Greentown Labs Bold Ideas 2020 is a 6-month partnerships acceleration program housed at Greentown Labs, focused on fast-tracking collaboration between Schneider Electric and entrepreneurial teams innovating in the emerging world of energy storage. Startups will receive membership at the Greentown Labs Global Center for Cleantech Innovation, mentorship from Schneider Electric executives, and $25,000 in non-dilutive grant funding to cover any other program expenses. Partnership outcomes with Schneider Electric, such as investments, incubations, commercial agreements, and joint ventures are possible! Applications are due by May 1.

NSF Small Business Technology Transfer Program

The NSF Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program focuses on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential and/or societal benefit. Unlike fundamental research, the NSF STTR program supports startups and small businesses in the creation of deep technologies, getting discoveries out of the lab and into the market. The program is designed to provide non-dilutive funding and entrepreneurial support at the earliest stages of company and technology development. This year’s second submission window closes on June 4.

NSF Small Business Innovation Research Program

The NSF SBIR program focuses on transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial potential and/or societal benefit.  The NSF SBIR Program supports research and development with non-dilutive funding and entrepreneurial support at the earliest stages of company and technology development. Proposals must be consistent with NSF’s mission to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense.. This year’s first submission window closes on June 4.

Accelerator One

During our intense accelerator program, selected smart energy startups will receive hands-on mentorship from industry experts, free office space, seed funding and access to a global network of investors with the ultimate goal of scaling their business and becoming one of the energy industry leading companies. Learn more and apply.


Every six months Urban-X selects up to 10 urban-tech startups and invest $100,000 per company. The URBAN-X accelerator program provides 20 immersive weeks of customer development, product development, network-building and expert guidance for startups—all in preparation for fundraising. The accelerator is unique in that our mentors are experts in urban-tech challenges and deeply understand regulated industries and government procurement—to help equip startups facing the unique challenges of working with and in cities. Learn more and apply.

ACRE @ Urban Future Lab

Rapidly scale and transform your startup into a vehicle for solving the world’s greatest challenge, climate change. ACRE provides unmatched access to strategic advisement, introductions to industry stakeholders, marketing and branding support, investor networks, and access to a community of like-minded founders solving real challenges in energy, water, waste, infrastructure, transportation, and resiliency. Learn more and apply.

Clean Energy Trust Investment

Clean Energy Trust brings clean tech innovation to market by finding, funding, and growing high-impact clean tech startups from the Midwest. To date, Clean Energy Trust has invested in 27 companies across the Midwest. Currently, the 501vc® Seed Fund typically invests between $100k and $300k in companies that are Pre-Seed through Series A and that are currently based in the broader Midwest. Learn more and apply.


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