5 Traits That Make a Great Vogt Awards Candidate

By: Lisa Bajorinas, Vogt Awards Program Director


The Community Foundation of Louisville’s Vogt Invention and Innovation Awards offers entrepreneurs in the Louisville region a unique and exciting opportunity to take their business to the next level. Each year, up to six early-stage businesses receive $25,000 in non-dilutive grant funding, participation in a 10-week accelerator program, coaching, and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs, strategic introductions, and recognition — all designed to boost your companies’ growth. Unlike other business accelerator programs, the Vogt Awards allows founders to retain full ownership of their business.

This year’s recipients will join the ranks of Vogt Awards alumni RxLightning, Stuccco, Forecastr, BrainSTEM, Xena Intelligence, Melanated Healthcare, and FreshFry, to name a few. Your business can benefit from:

  • Startup coaching from some of Louisville’s most experienced advisors
  • Mentor matching with later-stage entrepreneurs and investors
  • High-caliber networking with Louisville’s startup community
  • Investor pitch preparation
  • Strategic introductions to angel investors, venture funds, influencers, customers, and partners. 

In addition, recipients will participate in weekly business workshops led by curated subject matter experts on topics such as financial modeling, product/market fit, lead generation, and sales. To cap it all off, you’ll present your business at this year’s Demo Day in October 2023.  

What We’re Looking For 

Ideal Vogt Awards applicants are coachable founders and entrepreneurs of promising businesses who are passionate about solving a big problem. You want to disrupt your industry through innovation, customer acquisition and strategic partnerships. And you’re able to tell us why you’re the best ones to solve this problem.  

Here’s what we look for in a strong applicant:

  • A business leveraging technology, making use of new advances in technology for the purpose of better serving customers, gaining a competitive advantage, and/or evolving the marketplace
  • A business is leveraging technology in a new, unique or original way to develop a new product or service
  • The product or service being developed has a protectable advantage (intellectual asset) in the market
  • A business is developing a business model that can grow significantly — revenue has the potential to grow quickly, along with improving profitability
  • The product or service being developed doesn’t require a long regulatory approval cycle (for example, companies working on a new drug may be excluded)

Similar to last year, we’ve expanded the eligibility guidelines for this competitive program, removing some of the most common barriers facing today’s early-stage businesses. Candidates are no longer required to work full time in their business at this stage, and you do not need to have a co-founder.

The 2023 Vogt Awards selection committee will evaluate the strength and merit of each applicant based on the following characteristics:

  • Leadership:  The founder(s) understands the problem they are solving, cares about the problem, is coachable, and can execute/scale the business
  • Solution: The solution solves a pain point for customers
  • Market: There is a large, total addressable market
  • Validation: The business has validated the market
  • Advantage: The business has a protectable competitive advantage
  • Exit: There is a potential exit path for the business
  • Economic Impact: The business is potentially venture-backable and will have an eventual economic impact in the Louisville region (e.g.: job creation, payroll taxes, talent attraction, indirect investment in community)

Don’t miss your opportunity to be part of the 2023 Vogt Awards program!   Apply by May 30, 2023.