The Loudoun Innovation Challenge is Back for 2023 with $150,000 in Total Grants for Loudoun Entrepreneurs

By August 2, 2023September 1st, 2023News Flash, General Economic Development News, Featured, Small Biz, Blog

The Loudoun Economic Development Authority (EDA) and Department of Economic Development will once again host the 2023 Loudoun Innovation Challenge business pitch competition, which will award a total of $150,000 to companies dedicated to investment in Loudoun County. The application period opens on August 7, 2023, and will remain open until noon on September 18, 2023.

For more information and this year’s application, please visit Any Loudoun County business with an innovative concept is encouraged to apply. Companies interested in locating in Loudoun are also eligible to take part in the Innovation Challenge.

“The Loudoun Innovation Challenge promotes entrepreneurship and economic diversity in Loudoun County by investing a total of $150,000 into trend-setting companies,” Chairman Bernard Mustafa explained. “Pioneering ideas are always worthy of investment, and the EDA is excited to support the next generation of Loudoun entrepreneurs.”

In its fourth year, the Challenge is funded through revenue generated from the EDA’s tax-exempt bond financing, which supports commercial development in Loudoun.

Twelve finalists will be chosen from the initial round of applicants and have the opportunity to make their presentations for funding at a live, in-person pitch event on Wednesday, November 29, 2023, at The National Conference Center in Leesburg.

Winners for this year’s challenge will be selected from the following categories:

  • Innovation Challenge Grand Prize Winner ($40,000):the business with the top overall scores, regardless of industry.
  • Agri-Tech Innovation ($25,000): the use of technology in or for agriculture, horticulture, and aquaculture with the aim of improving yield, efficiency and profitability for farm managers and growers.
  • Information and Communications Technology Innovation ($25,000):All technologies, whether process, product or service-based, that allow people and organizations to interact in the digital world or to improve someone’s quality of life. ICT can include, but is not limited to, business in the areas of health and wellness, cybersecurity, aerospace and defense, unmanned systems, logistics, transportation, cloud computing, quantum computing, machine learning, gaming, artificial Intelligence, computer networks, among others.
  • Clean Energy Innovation ($25,000):Any process, product, or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements, the sustainable use of resources, or environmental protection activities. Clean Tech includes, but is not limited to, businesses in the areas of recycling, renewable energy, transportation, infrastructure, automotive, unmanned systems, engineering, construction, energy capture and storage etc.
  • Highly-Specialized Manufacturing Innovation ($25,000): The use of techniques and processes designed to improve methods for manufacturing existing products, and the production of new products enabled by advanced technologies. Highly Specialized Manufacturing can include, but is not limited to, businesses in the areas of unmanned systems, health and wellness, aviation, defense, quantum computing, transportation, logistics, consumer products, automotive, robotics etc.
  • People’s Choice Award ($10,000):the business that receives the most votes from the public.

“We are excited to meet this year’s applicants and learn about the new ideas Loudoun entrepreneurs are working on,” Loudoun Economic Development Executive Director Buddy Rizer said. “This contest continues to introduce us to outstanding innovators in every industry and corner of the county, and we can’t wait to provide investment for a new round of #LoudounPossible success stories.”

Applicant businesses are not required to have a real estate presence in the county, but winners must prove their commercial investment in Loudoun before funding is received.

For more information, and to apply before September 18, 2023, please visit