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Opportunities for North Texas Innovators

Check out this curated selection of contests, nominations, pitches, and grants. Our roundup of programs is for entrepreneurs, corporates, creatives, inventors, educators, and impact innovators in North Texas.

You'll find deadlines coming up for the AccelerateHER Incubator Program; Future of Data Challenge; Lone Star Film Festival; Better Cities for Pets Grants, Tarrant County Small Business Workforce Grants; Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment Empowerment Day; and many more opportunities.

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.


NPower Tech Fundamentals: Free Virtual Training

This virtual program 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.


AccelerateHER Incubator Program

The AccelerateHER Incubator for women-owned start-ups is now open for applications. The program from the Center for Women Entrepreneurs at Texas Woman’s University and Stoke Coworking will help early-stage companies develop and test ideas and grow their businesses with hands-on help. Up to six women-owned businesses will be selected selected to receive intensive business development training, access to funders and mentorship, and networking opportunities. Additionally, they will receive work space at Stoke, a coworking facility in Denton.

Go here for more information. 


Future of Data Challenge

This challenge awards $1.1 million to organizations offering transformative solutions that reimagine the data economy and support a more equitable data future for all. The application involves a two-step process: registering by Aug. 25 and sending a completed application by Sept. 15.

For more information, go here.

Lone Star Film Festival

The 16th annual Lone Star Film Festival is calling for entries for its November 10-12, 2022 festival. The initial deadline was July 28, but the late deadline is August 25.

Best of Fest Award
Best Feature Film Award
Best Documentary Film Award
Cine-Más Award
Audience Choice Awards (Feature & Short)
Best Narrative Short Film Award
Best Documentary Short Film Award
Best Texas Film Award
Best Super-Short Short Film Award
Best Student Film

Creatives can submit narrative feature-length 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.

Other key dates:
September 22, 2022 (Notification Date)
November 10-12, 2022 (Festival)

For more information, go here.


Better Cities for Pets™ Grants

Applications are now open for cities or their designated NGO/nonprofit partner to apply for grants to make their communities more pet friendly. This year, Mars Petcare will offer five $20,000 grants. Past recipients include Dallas, Key West, Fla., and Sheboygan, Wis., and programs include reducing behavior-related surrenders, helping homeless people with their pets, and making public spaces more pet friendly.

For more information, go here.


Tarrant County Small Business Workforce Grants

Tarrant County Commissioners have allocated $25 million in federal funding to assist small businesses impacted by the pandemic with workforce recovery, retention, recruitment, training, and development efforts. To qualify, small businesses must have had 50 or fewer employees in the First Quarter of 2020 and can apply for grants of up to $27,500. Funding is awarded as applications are received. The deadline is August 31 or until funds are depleted.

For more information, go here.


WiT Empowerment Day

If you’re a woman with a great idea for a toy, play product, or game, register for  WiT (Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment) Empowerment Day, Sept. 19 at Dallas Market Center. Register by Sept. 1 to access private pitch sessions, licensing opportunities, expert mentoring, priceless feedback, valuable education, inspirational success stories, and nonstop networking. To prepare you before the event, you’ll get exclusive access to our Empowerment Day Power-Up Pitch Prep, a series of on-demand webinars and virtual live 1:1 Q&A sessions. You must be a member of WiT to attend.

Go here for more information.


Tech Titans Innovation Collider Grand Challenge

Entrepreneurs nationwide are eligible for the Tech Titans’ Grand Challenge, which this year focuses on innovative solutions, systems, or applications that advance sustainability and drive technology innovation for one or more of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDG) promoted by the United Nations. Entrepreneurs, startups, small and MBE/WBE-certified technology companies should be pre-revenue up to $2 million. The minimum cash award is $20,000. Finalists will be showcased in a virtual pitch in front of a panel of celebrity judges on Oct. 13. The winner will be announced at the Tech Titans Awards Gala on Oct. 27.

For more information, go here.


Catholic Foundation’s Art on the Plaza Competition

The Catholic Foundation is seeking art to display on a 9-by-28-foot wall in the Catholic Foundation Plaza in the Dallas Arts District. The winning artist will receive a $2,500 prize and have their art displayed for the next year. This is the 17th annual edition of the Art on the Plaza Competition. The Plaza is located at the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe, directly across from the Myerson Symphony Hall in the heart of the Dallas Arts District.

For more information, go here.


The Digital Health 150

The Digital Health 150 is CB Insight’s annual ranking of the 150 most promising private digital health companies. The list highlights innovators in virtual care, health IT, biotechnology, and life sciences. Private companies working on digital healthcare technologies, including digital therapeutics, advanced hospital solutions, and drug discovery, are eligible to apply. Companies are selected based on products and services, financial strength, value proposition, and more.

Learn more here.


Collab Lab Fully Remote Cohort

Collab Lab is seeking early-career developers to participate in their next cohort, which kicks off on October 3. The program offers group project practice, working with peers in a fully remote setting, an opportunity to learn from experienced developers, and free for developers. The application window is open from Sept. 12-18. Applicants will be notified of their status the following week.

For more information, go here.


Texas Health Community Impact Grants

Texas Health Resources is now accepting grant proposals for 2023-24 to improve the health of communities in North Texas, with an emphasis on underserved communities in the following counties: Collin, Dallas, Denton, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, Erath, Johnson, Kaufman, and Wise. in this grant cycle, Texas Health Community Grants will invest $8 million, thanks to a $1.5 million gift from Communities Foundation of Texas’s W.W. Caruth Jr. Fund and a matching $1.5 million from Texas Health.

Go here to learn more.

Entrepreneurs Access Network (EAN)

This business accelerator for high-growth Black and Latino entrepreneurs is now accepting applications.  Business owners must be founding CEOs and majority owners of any privately held, for-profit company based in the US. The company must be more than two years old, and 51% Black/Latino owned. EAN, hosted by capital market services company EY, provides one-on-one coaching, access to the Strategic Growth Forum, and executive educational curriculum, EY’s 7 Drivers of Growth.

For more information, go here.


EMPOWherMENT Business Pitch Competition

Elyse Stoltz Dickerson, CEO of Eosera, Inc., got her start by winning a pitch contest that helped propel her business forward in its early days. Now she wants to pay it forward and give another female-led Texas-based company the same opportunity. Eosera and its partners are offering $10,000 to one lucky winner at a pitch event in November. Three finalists will be selected to pitch to a live audience and judges will pick the winner.

Go here to learn more.


Texas Travel Industry Recovery (TTIR) Grant Program

TTIR officials have extended the application window for one-time grants to businesses and nonprofits in the travel and tourism industry in several categories and pushed back the application windows for other categories. From September 1-22, arts, entertainment, and recreation groups may apply. From October 1-22, hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast businesses may apply. From November 1-22, restaurants and drinking places may apply.

For more information on the TTIR program, go here.


National Funding to Reduce Methan Emissions from Oil and Gas Sector

The U.S. Department of Energy is offering $32 million in funding toward the research and development of new monitoring, measurement, and mitigation technologies to help detect, quantify, and reduce methane emissions across oil and natural gas producing regions of the United States. Selected projects will help advance networks of surface-based methane sensor technologies, design an integrated methane monitoring platform and improve quantification of methane emissions in the natural gas supply chain.

To learn more, go here.


Climate Change AI Innovation Grants

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can help support climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as climate science, across many different areas, including energy, agriculture, forestry, climate modeling, and disaster response. Grants of up to $150,000 will be given to one-year research projects that leverage AI or machine learning to address climate change issues. Climate Change AI will distribute a total of $1.8 million, with help from Quadrature Climate Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and Future Earth International. 

For more information, 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 in 2022 of the fourth Monday of each month. 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.

TechFW ThinkLab Startup Accelerator

The next cohort of ThinkLab Startup Accelerator begins Sept. 7. This non-seed accelerator helps founders and entrepreneurs determine whether there is sufficient value to pursue a product or service idea, identify potential markets, develop a “path to market strategy,” and learn how to pitch the idea. Founders must be working on a proprietary technology or process, agree to attend workshops and complete the content within 16 weeks, and pay a program fee of $1,000.

Learn more here.

Deep Ellum 100 Performance and Grants

In honor of the neighborhood’s 150th anniversary, Deep Ellum 100 will select 10 new artists to participate in a special live performance October 6, “The Sound of Deep Ellum.” Each artist chosen will receive a grant and the performance will be recorded live at Trees Dallas for a limited vinyl release.

Find out more here.


United Way Social Innovation Incubator

The July 15 deadline was extended (TBD). If you’re a woman or person of color and have an idea or early-stage social venture that seeks to improve education, income, and health, this 14-week program will help you develop a business plan through its online learning platform and a personalized mentorship experience.

For more information, go here.

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.

Apply to Participate in SXSW 2023

Initial participation opportunities for the 2023 SXSW Conference & Festivals are now open to applications for the Music Festival, SXSW Pitch, and the SXSW Art Program. SXSW (or South by Southwest) is set for March 10-19 in Austin. The annual mega-event also includes a Film Festival and Innovation Awards, both of which open to applications August 23. Deadlines vary by category.

Go here to learn more.

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 2022, 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 here to 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 will be open on July 1 for grants up to $10,000 for eligible businesses.

Go here to learn more. 

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