"The Vogt Awards really accelerated us from not just being a concept, but being a product, and doing it in a timeframe that actually makes sense."

2014 VOGT AWARD WINNER: JEREMIAH CHAPMAN | CEO | FRESHFRY

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Download a pdf of the Vogt Award Criteria or scroll down to read more.

Application Period is Now Closed for the 2020 Cohort

The Vogt Awards provide funding, resources, and recognition to entrepreneurs with products in the early growth stage. Vogt Award recipients are chosen from early-stage entrepreneurs in the Louisville area that have the potential to create a scalable business based on innovative, technology-based products that they develop themselves. During these exceptional times, the Community Foundation of Louisville’s Vogt Awards planning team is working hard to ensure the program will continue on schedule with or without physical distancing. No matter the situation, we will deliver the same quality startup education, mentorship, and experience by leveraging the best digital tools available.

The Community of Louisville’s Vogt Awards provide each selected startup with:

  • $25,000 non-dilutive grant funding
  • Full ownership of your business, no equity taken
  • 11 weeks of lean startup progression through an accelerator program
  • Coaching from experienced startup CEOs
  • Mentorship from industry experts
  • Vogt Award alumni access
  • Startup network introductions
  • Camaraderie through a similar stage, fast paced cohort
  • Demo Day with the Louisville regional startup community
  • Business headquartered in the 13-county Louisville MSA
    • Indiana – Clark, Floyd, Washington, Scott, Harrison
    • Kentucky -Bullitt, Henry, Jefferson, Meade, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, Trimble)
  • Developing an innovative, technology-enabled product (need not be tangible product)
  • Early-stage business with a revenue cap of $100K/year and a lifetime funding cap of $500K (this includes SBIR and other non-dilutive forms of funding, but excludes co-founders’ personal investments)
  • Independent business, not a subsidiary or corporate spinout
  • A team of active founders, not a solo founder
  • A full-time effort, not a side project
  • Intellectual property that is protected or protectable
  • A business model that can scale significantly – revenues that can grow exponentially, along with increasingly improving profitability
  • A product that doesn’t require a long regulatory approval cycle (for example, no companies working on a new drug)
  • The decision of the Vogt Awards selection committee is final.  
  • The committee cannot reconsider applications that have been denied in the current application cycle.
  • Repeat applicants are welcome to apply, if they have not already received the award for their current company.
  • You will work with the Vogt team to create a budget and a commercialization plan.  Funds may be used for product development, marketing and other expenses.
  • The funds cannot be used to pay down debt.
  • The funds will be delivered in two tranches, after itemized receipts are approved for the spend of the previous tranche. Each tranche is subject to approval.

Vogt Award Winner Requirements

Up to six early-stage businesses will be selected for the 2020 Vogt Awards program. The following are required for the the winners to receive funds. SPECIAL NOTE: Due to the current pandemic, all dates, locations, times and formats are subject to change.

  • Participate in ALL Thursday workshops, lunch through evening, without fail, from start in August to end in October 2020. See program schedule below.
  • Spend extra time during business hours, to work on your company
  • Attend press conferences and other public Vogt Awards events including but not limited to the Vogt Demo Day/20th Anniversary event
  • Participate in LaunchIt, three hours/week for 10 weeks, in the evening, (only necessary if company has no prior Lean Startup training)
  • Attend 1:1 coaching sessions with Vogt team and mentors (one hour/week).

NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 quarantine, workshops and meetings may be subject to change to an online format with dates and times to be determined.

  • Selection Day:  July 28, 2020 
  • Vogt Accelerator Workshops will be held on the following Thursdays from 12:00 noon to 5:00pm: 
    • August 6, 13, 20, and 27
    • September 3, 10, 17, and 24
    • October 1 and 8
  • Pitch Practice #1:  October 8 or October 9
  • Pitch Practice #2:  October 12-14
  • Vogt Awards Demo Day / 20th Anniversary Celebration:  October 15, 2020 (details TBD)

Frequently Asked Questions

The Vogt Awards accelerator starts on August 6 at 12 noon with lunch through to 5pm. This schedule is for the duration of 10 consecutive Thursday afternoons. The program days include updates from each startup on the progress of their business, work from the previous week, feedback from the startup CEO coaches, business-focused workshops with industry experts, and 1:1 coaching time with the accelerator organizers.  Outside of program days, startups are expected to complete their business assignments, conduct customer interviews, and begin work as directed on their investor pitch for Demo Day.  Startups will meet with their industry mentors weekly.  It’s important as well for the startups selected to have time to socialize as a cohort with their peer founders and Vogt Awards alumni.  And finally, the Vogt Awards Demo Day and 20th anniversary celebration is scheduled for October 15.  The general program requirements and program attendance can be found above.

We are looking for a team of active founders, not simply a solo founder and where your startup is a full-time effort, not a side project.  The application asks you to provide information about your team and their relevant experience to your business as well as which founder is responsible for product development and marketing and sales. More information about the Vogt Awards criteria for eligibility can be found above.

Ideally there is more than one founder or entrepreneur engaged in your startup.  We understand that at this stage of your business you may not have revenue and therefore you are unpaid entrepreneurs.  It is important to include your advisors and the role they play in advising your startup based upon their relevant expertise in your application.

The Vogt Awards application asks for three pieces of financial information.  Please respond to the best of your ability regarding:

Current funding round — if you are actively raising equity investment now, let us know and how much you are raising.  If you are not actively raising equity, then you are seeking $25,000 from the Vogt Awards.

Funding history — how have you financed your startup to date, from whom and how much?  If you have personally funded your startup to date, let us know.

Annual financials –– provide your financials for this year and last year, as well as projections for the next three years, to the best of your ability.

All applications are due by midnight on Sunday, May 31, 2020 for consideration.

Vogt Award recipients are chosen from early-stage entrepreneurs in the Louisville area that have the potential to create a scalable business based on innovative, technology-based products that they develop themselves. The product may be a unique technology such as a SaaS platform business or it may be a tangible, consumer or commercial product where the product itself is innovative, utilizes innovative technology in its product development or eCommerce for distribution, as examples. You can see previous Vogt Awards alumni with their varying businesses and industries here.

If your startup business has received outside equity investment, and you are spending it on a monthly basis, that is your burn rate or amount you are spending each month as a pre-revenue company. If you had customer revenue last month or last quarter, and you anticipate this to continue in the future, you can reasonably assume a monthly or quarterly run rate of revenue going forward by indicating that amount per month or per quarter.  If neither of these situations apply to your startup, it is fair to indicate “0.”

Vogt Awards recipients will work with the Vogt organizers to develop a budget and commercialization plan.  Funds may be used for product development, marketing and other expenses. The funds cannot be used to pay down debt.  The funds will be delivered in two tranches, after itemized receipts are approved for the spend of the previous tranche. Each tranche is subject to approval.  Specific information regarding the use of funds can be found above.

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For more information contact:

Lisa Bajorinas
Lisa Bajorinas »
Vogt Awards Program Director
(502) 836-0735
[javascript protected email address]