Friday night marked the launch of Start It Up Delaware, Inc. Gov. Jack Markell and Delaware Development Office Director Alan Levin joined in the ribbon cutting ceremony at Start It Up’s headquarters at 605 Market St., Wilmington. It was the last of three events that introduced the program to the business and technology communities..
The partnership includes Delaware’s financial, accounting, legal and real estate communities, Also involved are the University of Delaware , Delaware State University, Delaware Technical Community College and other educational institutions.
“Delaware is known for having an economy driven by knowledge and innovation. Through initiatives such as Start It Up Delaware, we will use those assets as the seeds to grow new companies,” Markell said. “Companies that grow here in Delaware are more likely to take root and stay, helping to fortify the foundation of our economy.”
Those in attendance were given a chance to pitch their business idea, with the winner getting a case of Red Bull energy drinks and Ramen noodles, a reflection of the long hours required in starting a new venture.
Pitches included an app that would help collect and distribute local news, providing funding for educational television through crowd sourcing and a quick way to quickly tell bloggers about typographical errors.
Start It Up Delaware was incorporated in August 2012 as a ompany operating through its wholly-owned subsidiary, the coIN Loft Inc.
The coInLOFT, which offers co-work space and services, recently moved to expanded quarters in the Market Street building.
Its team also includes the University of Delaware, entrepreneurs from the Archer Group and WellDoc, and the venture capital firm Fairbridge Venture Partners.
“Start It Up Delaware is exactly what the state needs to create a critical entrepreneurial ecosystem. What results from this are more companies starting here, growing here and succeeding here,” said Jon Brilliant, Start It Up Delaware board member, mentor and Chief Financial Officer of WellDoc. “The partnership with the state strengthens our efforts to identify promising startups and accelerate and nurture their growth towards becoming profitable, job-creating entities that call Delaware home.”
The Delaware Economic Development Office awarded Start It Up Delaware with a $250,000 grant that will serve as seed funding for the partnership’s plan for stirring entrepreneurial activity. The strategy includes launching activities to gather together entrepreneurs and their ideas; establishing a central community hub for entrepreneurial activity by expanding the coIN Loft, home to more than 60 tech-based startups and professionals; and creating a program to nurture growth through mentoring and investment of in-kind services and financial resources.
Already planned are classes on start=ups and designing an app for a smartphone or other device.
“Our economy will reap huge benefits from the ingenuity, teamwork and time that these entrepreneurs and business leaders put into Start It Up Delaware,” said Alan Levin, director of the Delaware Economic Development Office. “We are more than happy to provide them with the push they need to get started.”