Ten Delaware companies have received state grants ranging from $32,000 to $100,000 to expand and improve their services or products.
The biggest awards — four $100,000 grants — went to companies dealing with science, technology, engineering or math (or all at once).
The EDGE grant, an acronym for the Division of Small Business’s Encouraging Development, Growth and Expansion, are chosen from applicants that can be no more than seven years old and employ no more than 10 workers, or the equivalent.
“The EDGE competition allows our division to do what it was created to do – help small businesses start and grow,” said Division of Small Business Director Regina Mitchell. “The quality of the fall applications was so strong, it made it more challenging to select the finalists. Each EDGE round continues to show progress in terms of the quality of submissions.”
This competition’s winners include a company developing an improved hand/arm prosthetic that’s easier to use, one developing an adapted mobility device for getting into bed, and one looking to purchase cutting edge computers and streaming equipment for its e-sports events and camps.
The first EDGE Grant Competition for 2024 began accepting applications on Feb. 1. They will continue to be accepted until Friday March 1, at 4:30 p.m. Visit de.gov/edge
for access to the application and other resources.
EDGE is a matching grant program. The Division of Small Business matches a winning business’s investment on a 3-to-1 basis.
This is the eighth round of funding for the program, which as seen $5.6 million has been awarded to 90 Delaware small businesses since 2019.
Approximately 115 businesses applied for funding in September. Sixteen finalists gave public presentations in November at the University of Delaware’s FinTech building on the STAR Campus.
EDGE STEM recipients
Marins Med of Georgetown received $100,000. A pioneering prosthetics innovations company, it is distinguished by their woman-owned status and its chief technical officer, an amputee and accomplished engineer. Marins Med’s goal with EDGE grant funding is to move through the final stages of research and development prototyping through final design and manufacturing to ensure the innovative ProHensor reaches those with limb loss. Funding will be used to purchase manufacturing equipment and for marketing assistance.
Omni Potential Energy Partners
The OmniPotential Energy Partners of Wilmington will use its $95,400 funding to build a proof-of-concept pilot program of curbside, residential electric vehicle chargers and install them on Delaware properties. They will finalize their supply chain, identify final business partners, solicit seed customers and tool-up to build and deploy a pilot program of approximately 10 Curbstar devices in the state of Delaware over 12 months. Curbside, residential EV chargers are a potential solution to EV owners who live in multi-family units with street or lot parking only.
ACE Running LLC, known as RunDNA, brings running gait analysis to all levels of runners. Their service leverages innovative camera and software technologies at a competitive price point to provide real time analysis of running gait. This powerful tool is used by running professionals throughout the world to effectively modify a runner’s form to prevent injury and optimize performance. RunDNA’s flagship product is their Helix 3D running gait analysis device. The company’s EDGE award of $100,000 will allow them to expand their motion capture capabilities to walking gait. EDGE funding will be used for purchasing equipment, software licenses, and covering research and development staff costs.
Sindri Materials Corp.
Sindri Materials of Wilmington is a manufacturer and product development company dedicated to delivering ultra-high quality graphene materials and products to market. Sindri can produce graphene that is a completely continuous, large-area sheet that yields electrical performance. With its $100,000 EDGE grant, Sindri will develop a high-capacity graphene manufacturing system. Its product can accelerate drug and vaccine development by optimizing the speed and resolution structural biologists image macromolecules using a ground-breaking new method called cryogenic electron microscopy (the “cryo-em” market). The graphene grids essentially hold the macromolecules in place for imaging.
Studio Charter has begun making virtual studios that eliminate the need for costly video productions. These studios can be installed in any 10×15 or larger room at a customer’s
home or office. They are permanent studio installations with true cinema cameras that can be run remotely, without a crew, for simple, repeatable genres like podcasts and
testimonials. The studios allow recording of cinematic medium-closeups in any location, real or imagined. The goal of Studio Charter is to make video production accessible to
anyone. Nonprofits, schools, and government will all finally be able to produce video at a high level and volume. It will use its EDGE funding of $100,000 for staff, design, prototyping and
EDGE Entrepreneur recipients
Smyrna’s Baybird Orthodontics is a minority women-owned business run by Dr. Sita Patel. The clinic offers a range of orthodontic treatments, including orthodontic appliances, traditional braces, and clear aligners. However, the one service they currently do not provide is 3D printed braces in house. The $39,00 EDGE grant funding will be used to purchase a 3D printing system to allow them to produce clear aligners on-site, reducing the cost of orthodontic care for their customers. Funds will also be used to support the aligner machine by providing additional equipment, supplies, and a computer. Marketing and advertising expenses are also included.
Delaware Dynamix LLC of Harbeson, which just opened for classes, provides gymnastics instruction and associated activities for children up to age 17, as well as similar opportunities for
adults. A market analysis determined a lack of services like theirs within a convenient drive to the Milton, Lewes, and Rehoboth Beach area, thereby supporting the need for such a facility. The owners boast more than 30 years of experience in gymnastics and youth sports instruction. They will use their EDGE grant funds of $31,900 for equipment and staffing at their 7,000 square foot facility for a Little Ninja program aimed at young boys, and gymnastics and trampoline programming for special needs children.
Futures First Gaming
Futures First Gaming LLC, of Middletown and Wilmington, is a STEM.org™ Accredited Educational Technology, Media, and Esports Entertainment Company. Futures First brings together gamers and esports enthusiasts to compete, build community, and engage in educational opportunities to explore career pathways in STEM and relevant esports disciplines. The company is known for its accreditation in educational technology, media, and esports entertainment. Its EDGE Grant funding of $50,000 will be used to acquire cutting-edge gaming and streaming computers, software and furniture for their esports technology workforce training facility as well as offer more workforce development trainings, esports events and esports camps.
The Hive on Loockerman
The Hive, in Dover, is a minority-owned member-based business and event center that aims to support entrepreneurs and non-profit founders by providing them with the space, equipment, and resources necessary for their business growth and long-term success. The Hive primarily offers hourly space rentals and a range of business-building services, including corporate event planning, marketing, basic brand development, document printing, and secure shredding. EDGE grant funding of $34,860 will be used for facade improvements and construction to meet code requirements and for design, technology and equipment upgrades to better serve customers.
The LeGrand Company
The LeGrand Co.’s Bed Ledge is an adaptive mobility product designed to assist individuals with decreased strength, coordination, or balance safely lift their legs into bed. The inability to safely navigate in and out of bed leads to increased risk for injury and falls and can be the determinate as to whether someone can safely live in his/her home without assistance. Bed Ledge is the first leave-in-place device that allows the user to move from a sitting position to reclining through incremental movements, thereby decreasing risk of injury and promoting independence. The Hockessin company’s EDGE funding of $50,000 will be used to fund the creation of plastic injection molds and a first production.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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