Vogt Awards Applications Are Now Open!

Eligibility criteria expanded this year to reach more early-stage businesses 

The Community Foundation of Louisville is excited to announce that applications for our 22nd annual Vogt Awards are now open! Up to six early-stage businesses will receive $25,000 in non-dilutive grant funds, participation in a 10-week startup accelerator program, plus the opportunity to pitch their innovative product or service to the Louisville business community during Demo Day. 

The program is funded by the Vogt Invention and Innovation Fund, an endowment established at the Community Foundation 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 supporting innovative startups and inspiring entrepreneurship. The Fund’s originating $5 million principal is still intact after providing non-dilutive grants to 96 startup companies totaling more than $3.7 million, with 37% of those funds going to women or founders of color. What sets the program apart from other business accelerators is that founders retain full ownership of their startups.

“We’re proud of the incredible legacy of this program, which would not be possible without Mr. Heuser’s passion for innovation,” says Ron Gallo, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Louisville. “The Vogt Awards catalyzes human, social and financial capital to invest in talented, diverse inventors and innovators who are developing big solutions to large-scale problems. Past recipients have gone on to secure an additional $156 million in follow-on local investment. I believe Mr. Heuser would be proud to know that his vision for the evolution and growth of Louisville’s business community is being realized, one startup at a time.”

Applications for the 2022 Vogt Awards will be accepted through May 31. Eligibility requirements include:

  • Must have headquarters in the 13-county Louisville metro area 
  • Must be registered with either the Indiana or Kentucky Secretary of State
  • Is developing an innovation-led product or service, which is a new idea or invention of a new product or service that creates customer demand
  • Has received no more than $250,000/year of customer revenue
  • Has been funded by no more than $500,000 since its inception

 “This year, we have expanded the program’s eligibility criteria to remove some of the barriers facing the startup community, and the program remains very competitive,” says Lisa Bajorinas, Vogt Awards program director. “For example, two or more founders are no longer preferred. We’ve also eliminated the requirement that a founder work in the startup full time, which we understand may not be possible at this stage of their business. Instead, the selection committee will evaluate the strength of the company’s entire team as a whole.”

This year’s selection committee is led by chairperson Monique Quarterman, Deputy Executive Director, Kentucky Innovation, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development.

For more information about the program and to apply, click here. Recipients will be announced in July. The accelerator program will be held in August and September, with Demo Day planned for Oct. 13.