What Makes a Great Vogt Awards Candidate

By Lisa Bajorinas, Vogt Awards Program Director

The Community Foundation of Louisville’s Vogt Invention & Innovation Awards offers entrepreneurs in the Louisville region a unique and exciting opportunity to take their startups 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 startup 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 startups.

This year’s recipients will join the ranks of Vogt Awards alumni RxLightning, Stuccco, BrainSTEM, Forecastr, Symba, FreshFry, Captain (previously WeatherCheck), and Avanos Medical (previously with Inscope Medical), to name a few. You’ll benefit from startup advice and guidance from seasoned entrepreneurs who are a step ahead of you, and the camaraderie of the founders in your cohort. To cap it all off, you’ll present your startup at this year’s Demo Day in October.

Not sure you have what it takes to compete? Read on to find out what makes a great Vogt Awards candidate.

What We’re Looking For
Ideal Vogt Awards applicants are coachable founders and entrepreneurs of promising startups 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 prefer in a strong applicant:

  • Technology-enabled product – Tech-enabled companies aren’t building the internet, mobile devices or social media platforms; they’re using those technologies to develop a new product or service
  • A product or service that has a protectable advantage in the market
  • A business model that can grow significantly — revenue has the potential to grow exponentially, along with improving profitability
  • A product or service that doesn’t require a long regulatory approval cycle (for example, companies working on a new drug may be excluded)

NEW THIS YEAR: We’ve expanded the eligibility guidelines for this competitive program, removing some of the most common barriers facing today’s startups. 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 2022 Vogt Awards selection committee will use the following scoring rubric in evaluating the strength and merit of each applicant:

  • LEADERSHIP: The founder(s) understands the problem they are solving for, 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 has the potential for significant economic impact in the Louisville region.

Don’t miss your opportunity to be part of the 2022 Vogt Awards program! We encourage you to submit your application by May 31, 2022.