Loudoun County is a unique place that has grown from a variety of diverse entrepreneurial achievement. In the eastern part of the county, an entire industry was born from Internet entrepreneurs that spawned the highest concentration of data centers in the world. This infrastructure is the foundation for one of Loudoun County’s primary technology focus and the basis for efforts to grow High Tech Entrepreneurship in the county. The goal of the Innovation Challenge is to promote entrepreneurship and business growth by identifying and supporting companies that are developing truly innovative products and services in Loudoun County.
The Loudoun Economic Development Innovation Challenge (“The Challenge”) is administered by the Economic Development Authority of Loudoun County, Virginia (EDA). Applications will be accepted between January 23, 2020, and March 31, 2020. Winners will be announced on May 4, 2020 at the Loudoun County Small Business Conference. Each winner will be awarded an Innovation Grant.
In the event that an announced winner fails to satisfy any of the Terms & Conditions that Applicant shall not be entitled to receive an Innovation Grant, and the grant may be awarded to another eligible Applicant, or the grant may not be awarded, at the EDA’s sole discretion.
All materials submitted to The Challenge will be treated as public records and subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) rules and regulations. If you have questions or concerns about this requirement please contact the Department of Economic Development at 703-777-0585 before submitting your application.
- No purchase is necessary to enter or win.
- To be eligible, Applicant must be an established business entity in Loudoun County, Virginia.
- Applicant must have a physical location in Loudoun County and/or demonstrate a commitment to establish future office location and/or jobs in Loudoun County.
- Each Applicant must have at least one Principal who is a legal resident of the United States and at least 18 years old at the time of entry. Businesses owned, controlled or represented by members of the EDA or by employees or officers of Loudoun County are not eligible for entry.
- All businesses entered into The Challenge must be for-profit. Non-profit businesses are not eligible.
- Applicants must provide a Business Plan that includes your most recent annual financial statements to include: income statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flows. Please include an explanation for any extraordinary events and/or balances, or any items you wish to explain to the reviewers evaluating the statements.
- Applicants must agree to be available for an in person pitch and any public announcement of The Challenge. Applicants shall authorize the EDA to utilize service marks in marketing efforts and shall participate in interviews with media at the local, state and national levels at the conclusion of the program.
How to Enter
To apply for The Challenge, please complete the application found here:Innovation Challenge Application
An applicant business must demonstrate:
- How its product or service is truly unique and innovative, and how it can create value for existing or potential customers;
- The potential economic benefits to Loudoun County, for example, highlighting increased contributions to the business tax base, jobs at or above the targeted medium income level, and other economic benefits;
- The potential to scale the proposed product or service offering to realize ongoing and growing benefits to Loudoun County;
- Any additional value to Loudoun.
- Round 1 – Applicants will submit their online applications through The Challenge website. The application calls for inclusion of various information regarding an Applicant’s business plan. Submissions may include any or all of the following: PDF, Word Doc, Photos, Pitch Deck or a YouTube link to a video for the business. Loudoun County Department of Economic Development (DED) staff screen applications for eligibility and then forward the completed applications to the EDA.
- The completed applications received between January 23, 2020 and February 15, 2020, will be reviewed at the February EDA meeting.
- The completed applications received between February 16 and March 15, 2020, will be reviewed at the March EDA meeting.
- The completed applications received between March 16, 2020 and March 31, 2020, will be reviewed at the April EDA meeting.
- EDA members will individually score the presentations.
- Round 2 – EDA members will meet between April 17, 2020 and April 30, 2020 and review the top 5 Applicants. The top 5 Applicants may be invited to present their Innovation Challenge application to the EDA for final selection of the grant winners.
- Up to three (3) separate businesses will be selected as finalists and will receive $25,000 each in grant money.
- One (1) winner will be selected to receive the Grand Prize Award and $75,000 in grant money.
Terms & Conditions
- Entry into The Challenge constitutes unconditional agreement to and acceptance of the Terms and Conditions. The Applicant is responsible for ensuring his or her familiarity with the Terms and Conditions.
- The materials submitted via The Challenge Application shall be the original work of the Applicant. By submitting an application, the Applicant certifies that it is not under any agreement or restriction that prohibits or restricts its ability to disclose or submit the materials included in the application or otherwise to participate in The Challenge.
- Applicants acknowledge and agree that the following materials submitted by Applicants will be used in the promotion of The Challenge and will be displayed on public webpage(s) showcasing The Innovation Challenge and the Applicants:
- Names (Account Creator, team members) and Company name
- Location of business or primary residence (city, county, state)
- Industry represented by your business
- Length of time your business has been in operation
- Company Description Abstract (only)
- Pictures submitted with the application
- Video submitted with the application
- Content posted on social media profiles listed in application
4. In consideration of the time, expertise and other resources provided by the EDA, the Applicant, to the full extent permit by law, by submitting an application voluntarily releases the EDA and the County of Loudoun from any and all claims, actions, damages, costs or liabilities of any kind relating to or arising out of Applicant’s application for and/or participation in The Innovation Challenge. Prior to receiving any grant money, all winners must agree, in writing, to release the EDA and the County of Loudoun, from any and all liability, loss or damages arising from or in connection with the awarding, advertising, receipt, and/or use or misuse of grant or participation in any Innovation Challenge-related activities.
To apply, please visit LoudounInnovationChallenge.com.