Innovation

Innovation in Delaware

America’s No. 1 state for patents per capita

In the First State, our collaborative spirit and interdisciplinary strengths allow us to punch above our weight in the innovation game. Our track record includes some of today’s biggest names in business, including DuPont, Gore and Incyte, and spans all major Delaware industries along with a host of top-performing incubators, co-working spaces and more.

Today, Delaware startups are supported by our diverse workforce and ideal location at the center of more than 100 top universities. Our pro-business legal and regulatory climate, including the globally-recognized Delaware Court of Chancery, and supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem comprise just some of the many benefits that facilitate innovation in Delaware.

Supporting Your Business from the Start

Delaware offers a wide range of support, from financing to R&D

Delaware supports innovative enterprises with incentives, financing options, R&D and business development support, including:

  • Delaware Capital Access Program and State Small Business Credit Initiative Participation Loan: Help lenders to provide financing to businesses deemed too risky for the traditional banking model due to minor collateral or credit issues.
  • Delaware Technical Innovation Program: Offers transition grants for companies that have completed Phase I and applied for Phase II of the federal Small Business Innovation Research or Small Business Technology Transfer programs as they work to bring new products to market.
  • EDGE Grants: The EDGE Grants, or Encouraging Development, Growth, and Expansion grants, is a first of its kind grant program in Delaware, focusing on startups and small businesses. The grant program has two tracks, the traditional entrepreneur track, and the STEM track, which focuses more on high-tech startups and small businesses. The STEM grant is a 3-to-1 matching grant, and has a maximum award of $100,000. The basic criteria for the grant are that the business has only been in operation for five years or less, has 10 full time employees or less (or up to 20 part-time), and that a majority of their labor force and infrastructure are located in Delaware. While the first round of the grant just closed, the second round is scheduled to open in September.
  • Workforce Training Grant: A matching program that funds specialized training for companies of up to $100,000 per project.
  • Angel Investor Credit: Helps drive investment in science and high-tech startups in diverse industries by establishing a refundable tax credit for qualified investors to provide capital.
  • R&D Tax CreditsPromotes new research and development by lowering payments on taxable expenses.
  • Investor Networks & Delaware’s investor ecosystem includes several helpful organizations like:

Helping Your Business Grow

For small businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups

Delaware is proud to provide business development support with the following resources:

  • Small Business Development Center: Our only statewide, nationally accredited program that provides high quality one-on-one consulting, training and information resources to help small businesses grow and succeed.
  • University of Delaware Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships: Mentors Delaware entrepreneurs from ideation to commercialization, including facilitating patent applications.
  • First State Innovation: Focuses on helping tech-based and early-stage companies find capital, funding and talent. Also provides access to its own investor group, FSI Angel Network, which has raised more than $10 million for investment in early-stage companies in Delaware.
  • Tech Forum of Delaware: Helps Delaware entrepreneurs identify new business opportunities and build profitable relationships through networking, education and more.

Collaborative Spaces for Doers

Because working together provides greater results

Whether you’re a new company or already established, Delaware has options for employers seeking top workspace, including:

  • 1313 Innovation: Affordable workspace, co-working and private offices for entrepreneurs, start-ups and driven professionals in the heart of Wilmington.
  • Delaware Technology Park: A leading nonprofit research park designed to provide early-stage companies with access to resources and connections. Today, more than 100 companies have set up operations here. DTP also has co-working labs and office space at the STAR campus.
  • Delaware Innovation Space: Operating at DuPont’s Experimental Station campus, this space offers more than 100,000 square feet of state-of-the-art lab space, focused on supporting growing companies in science, technology, manufacturing and more.
  • Emerging Enterprise Center: Provides affordable office space for entrepreneurs, along with regular pitching, incubator, mentorship and networking programs.
  • The Mill: A community and co-working space in Wilmington that was built to meet the needs of freelancers and Fortune 500 companies alike and provides unique and modern shared workspace.
  • Middletown Business Incubator & Collaborative Workspace: Provides resources for businesses and entrepreneurs to grow and be successful in the southern New Castle area.

Powered by Invention

In Delaware, innovation occurs in all regions of our state

Running straight through the heart of Wilmington, Delaware’s stretch of I-95 is home to our state’s largest innovation corridor. The area includes several top companies in key industries, such as business and financial services, as well as prominent education and research partners and supportive co-working and incubator spaces.

Outside of the I-95 area, our counties are home to a diverse range of industry leaders pushing new technologies, inventions and ideas, such as our agricultural leaders in Sussex County and healthcare pioneers in Kent County.

Meet some of our innovative companies operating across Delaware:

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