By Amelia Gandara | EnterpriseCorp

Amelia Gandara

Amelia Gandara

Do you think you have the next billion dollar idea? Luckily, there is a program right here in the Greater Louisville region designed to help early-stage entrepreneurs from Kentucky and Indiana do just that.

Applications for the Vogt Awards, a source of grant funding and mentorship for startups, are open until May 31. Each company will receive $25,000 in non-dilutive funding (no equity is taken), mentorship, a portfolio of service-provider resources, and a 12-week program culminating in a Demo Day in mid-November. The program is available to companies based in Clark, Floyd, Washington, Scott, and Harrison counties Indiana, and Bullitt, Henry, Jefferson, Meade, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer and Trimble counties in Kentucky.

TriBlue Engineering, a 2015 Vogt Awards alumnus focused on natural gas desulfurization, is successfully building their company throughout the state of Kentucky. Their manufacturing facility is in Nelson County, but TriBlue keeps their headquarters in Louisville due to the central location to TriBlue’s founders, Joseph Alexander and Hunter Gerlach, who met in graduate school at the University of Kentucky.

“The financial award from the Vogt program allowed us to accelerate and complete the field testing of the gas processing technology,” Alexander said. “The instruction and program itself allowed us to identify weaknesses in our business plan and to correct them. It also opened our awareness to potential opportunities and challenges that may be encountered during our growth.”

The Vogt program ended with a Demo Day in November 2015. Since then, business is growing quickly for TriBlue. The company is in the process of servicing initial customers in western Kentucky and West Virginia, and revising plans for the construction of a factory, which will break ground this fall.

“We intend to build TriBlue into a world-class company servicing an international market with our center in the commonwealth of Kentucky. Our team members currently have several disruptive technologies in large markets that we intend to bring to realization as we progress,” Alexander said. 

The Vogt program welcomes consumer and business-to-business products into the program. After applications close on May 31, a selection committee will select up to six companies for the coveted $25,000 in funding, mentorship and programming. For more criteria details and to apply, click here.

About the Author: Amelia Gandara is EnterpriseCorp’s director of commercialization and engagement at Greater Louisville Inc., the city’s chamber of commerce where she is also the program manager for the Vogt Awards.