How to Apply

“The Vogt Awards were a turning point in my startup journey, as they provided invaluable support from a community of mentors, entrepreneurs, investors, and well-wishers. Being part of this community infused a great deal of value into XENA, and the credibility we gained through the experience was truly priceless.”


The 23rd Vogt Invention and Innovation Awards application is closed.

The application will open in Spring 2024 for next year’s cohort.

2023 Vogt Awards Selection Committee Chair

“Having so many great applicants makes it challenging to select our cohort. We are fortunate to have an outstanding committee ask the tough questions to narrow our list to the final recipients.”

Monique Quarterman
Executive Director KY Innovation | KY Cabinet for Economic Development

Vogt Award Criteria & Requirements

What You Receive if Selected

The Vogt Awards provide each selected business with:

  • $25,000 non-dilutive (does not need to be paid back) grant funding
  • Retain full ownership of your business
  • 10 weeks of startup education through an accelerator program
  • Coaching from experienced startup CEOs and advisors
  • Mentorship from successful entrepreneurs
  • Vogt Award alumni access
  • Startup network introductions
  • Camaraderie through a similar stage, fast-paced cohort
  • Demo Day pitch to the Louisville regional startup community

Mandatory Criteria

Requirements that must be true for application consideration:

  • The business is headquartered in the 13-county Louisville Metro area (MSA):
    • Indiana – Clark, Floyd, Washington, Scott and Harrison counties
    • Kentucky – Bullitt, Henry, Jefferson, Nelson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble counties
  • The business is registered with either the Indiana or Kentucky Secretary of State and in good standing (business can be organized in another state, e.g.: Delaware):
  • The business is developing an innovation-led product or service. The Vogt Awards define innovation as a new idea or the invention of a new product or service that creates customer demand.
  • The business is in the early stages, with customer revenue of less than $250,000/year to date.
  • The business has a lifetime funding maximum of $500,000 (this includes grants, investments, and loans but excludes founders’ personal investments).
  • The business is independent, not a subsidiary of another business or corporate spinout.

Strongly Preferred Criteria

Applications will be given stronger consideration by the Selection Committee if these aspects are included and well-described in a founder’s application:

  • The business is 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.
  • The 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.
  • The 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).

The Fine Print

  • 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 their current company has not been previously selected for a Vogt Award.

Fund Restrictions

  • Selected businesses will work with the Vogt Awards 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 any prior debt.
  • The funds will be delivered in two payments after itemized receipts are approved for the spend of the previous payment. Each payment is subject to approval.

General Requirements

If selected, the founder(s) agree to:

  • Participate in ALL Thursday program meetings and workshops, lunch through the evening, without fail, from August 10 to October 12, 2023.
  • Spend extra time during/after business hours to work on your business.
  • Attend press conferences and other public Vogt Awards events, including but not limited to the Vogt Awards Demo Day.
  • Attend 1:1 coaching sessions with the Vogt Awards team and mentors (one hour/week).

2023 Vogt Award Timeline

Click the icon below to view this year’s important dates timeline.


Vogt Awards Demo Day

The 10-week accelerator program wraps up with a highly engaging “Demo Day” event, featuring introductions of the founders and their company pitch presentations. Attendees include entrepreneurs, investors and the Louisville startup community.

The day is a public celebration of everything that the Vogt Awards cohort represents: their “a-ha” moments, formation of their teams and establishing their companies, first milestones, such as a prototype or minimum viable product (MVP), first customers or revenue. It highlights the founders’  pure grit, drive and determination that allowed them to create something new and innovative — hopefully, something with the right product-market fit that will go on to become a successful venture.

Vogt Awards Demo Day is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, October 12, 2023, at a location to be determined.


The Selection Committee

The Vogt Awards Selection Committee has the challenging task of reviewing the competitive applications for the program and making the final decision for this year’s cohort. They represent a diverse group of Vogt Awards alumni, founders, entrepreneurs, investors and service providers who care about the quality and continued legacy of the Vogt Awards. The committee members will be announced at a later date.

We're Here to Answer Your Questions!

Lisa Bajorinas
Lisa Bajorinas
Vogt Awards Program Director
(502) 836-0735
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Angelica Vega
Angelica Vega
Senior Program Officer, Economic Equity
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