The annual Hen Hatch startup funding competition draws investors, recruiters and visionaries determined to move the next big idea to market.

 While some may associate new product, technology and business creation with Silicon Valley or Boston’s Route 128 corridor, Delaware challenges such assumptions thanks to the entrepreneurial boost of the Lerner College and the annual Hen Hatch pitch competition.

Consider the potential impact from:

  • A cube-shaped device that saves dental labs time and money.
  • An innovative therapy for acute kidney injuries.
  • A wearable simulator that lets nurses practice procedures on actors instead of patients.
  • An app that classifies the longevity and quality of fine art.
  • A detection system that prevents narcotic theft in hospitals.

Each of these innovations and the entrepreneurial teams behind them won a share of a $100,000 prize pool as a winner of the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship’s Hen Hatch pitch competition.

Every year, the Horn Program provides UD students, alumni, faculty and staff with numerous opportunities to pitch their best and most creative ideas to panels of prestigious judges for prizes of cash and in-kind services.

“This is amazing. Just to get the validation that other people agree with this idea just as much as we do really helps us a lot.”

Hen Hatch winner Jordan Gonzales

“This is amazing,” said Hen Hatch winner Jordan Gonzales. Gonzales’ STEM tutoring startup with partner Keith Doggett won $6,000 in cash and in-kind services at the 2015 Hen Hatch competition.

“Just to get the validation that other people agree with this idea just as much as we do really helps us a lot.”

At this year’s Hen Hatch competition, Horn Program director Dan Freeman said that these pitching opportunities are a key part of the Horn Program’s mission to revolutionize and rethink entrepreneurial education.

“What if higher education focused on missions, not majors?” Freeman asked. “What if we prioritized impact, not rankings?”

“What if we viewed students as active collaborators who are responsible for co-creating and pursuing educational opportunities, rather than passive recipients of knowledge? What if we design our programming to ignite imaginations and empower world-changers?”

His team at the Horn Program, he said, “is dedicated to answering these what-if questions.”

For information about the 2017 Hen Hatch competition, visit