21st Annual Vogt Awards to Open Applications April 30

Early-stage businesses could win $25,000 and more

To ensure the continued success of new and future businesses in the Louisville area, applications for the Community Foundation of Louisville’s 21st annual Vogt Awards will open Friday, April 30. The Vogt Awards are funded by the Vogt Invention and Innovation Fund at the Community Foundation of Louisville, an endowment established in 1999 thanks to the generosity of businessman and philanthropist Henry Vogt Heuser Sr. The Fund’s purpose is to strengthen Louisville’s economic health by providing funding and support to innovative startups and inspiring entrepreneurs.

The Fund’s originating $5 million principal is still intact today after providing non-dilutive grants to nearly 90 startup companies totaling more than $3.5 million. Vogt Award winners receive $25,000, along with a 10-week program of coaching, mentorship, strategic introductions and recognition. Last year, six startups walked away with the prize.

“The Vogt Invention & Innovation Fund’s purpose is to memorialize the Vogt engineering tradition in the Louisville region by providing engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs with grants to fund product development and commercialization of ideas,” says Ron Gallo, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Louisville. “Mr. Heuser understood that in order for Louisville to be a manufacturing leader like the Vogt Machine Co. was, we had to have people inventing new things.”

Applications for the 2021 Vogt Awards will be accepted through May 30. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Must be an early-stage business developing an innovative, technology-enabled product
  • Have a customer revenue cap of $250,000 per year
  • Have a lifetime funding cap of $500,000 (includes SBIR and other non-dilutive forms of funding, but excludes co-founders’ personal investments)

“The Community Foundation is quite proud that this has been such a longstanding and unique asset for the entrepreneurial community in Louisville,” Gallo says. “As our region makes its way forward with economic recovery, the Vogt Awards offer a unique way to support a resilient community around innovation, business creation and hopefully generational wealth.”

“We are particularly proud of the program’s history of diverse entrepreneurs and are excited to continue to support talented inventors and innovators who are developing big solutions to large-scale problems. Since 2010, 35% of Vogt Award-winning companies have had at least one person of color or female founder,” says Lisa Bajorinas, Vogt Awards program director.

“Every year, we see innovative companies with the drive to break the glass across a variety of industry sectors, as was Mr. Heuser’s vision for what the Vogt Awards would one day do,” adds Gallo. “We look forward to seeing a diverse selection of applicants ready to take on those challenges.”

For more information about eligibility and to apply, click here. Winners will be announced in July. The accelerator program will be held in August and September, with a demo day planned for mid-October. This year’s selection committee is led by chairperson Maggie Galloway, founder of InScope Medical Solutions, a 2015 Vogt Award-winning company.