NCC Innovates announced its finalists for its entrepreneurial sponsorship award.

New Castle County launched NCC Innovates to drive economic development through support for local entrepreneurs. Nationally, entrepreneurs establish half a million small businesses each year, and small businesses create nearly two-thirds of new private sector jobs. In July, this county initiative kicks off by awarding one local start-up with a one-year membership to the Resident Incubator Program at the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce Emerging Enterprise Center.

An open competition to select this year’s inaugural award winner was launched this spring through a partnership with the Emerging Enterprise Center. Local entrepreneurs submitted applications in May, and submissions have been reviewed by a panel of five members of the Emerging Enterprise Center’s Advisory Board, who together represent a broad background of interests and expertise. The two finalists, selected by those panelists June 8, were announced June 13.

“New Castle County is the premier location to build and grow a business,” said County Executive Matt Meyer. “Through NCC Innovates, we can help promising entrepreneurs capitalize on the next great idea and achieve success.”

This year’s finalists are:

— D150 Fueling, an on-site fueling and fuel marketing company for commercial fleets that offers ultra-low-sulfur diesel, biodiesel and off-road diesel. Coupled with FuelCloud software, D150 Fueling offers a fueling program tailored to an individual fleet’s needs that saves time, money and emissions. With contracts in hand, D150 Fueling is in full launch mode and ready to expand its market.

— SAS Nanotechnologies, which has developed a proprietary, patent pending anticorrosive coating technology that not only prevents corrosion but also heals and protects metals from corrosion in the case of surface scratch/damage. Growing out of Ph.D. research, the technology was recently awarded an NSF SBIR grant to further develop the technology and is in conversations with potential strategic partners for technology testing and licensing.

The two finalists were selected after submitting a five-page business canvas, which included information on the business, market and industry landscape, go-to-market strategy and financial estimates. Each application was judged on several criteria, including business feasibility, understanding of market need and opportunity, clear articulation of value proposition, go-to-market strategy and realistic financial projections.

The winner of the inaugural NCC Innovates Entrepreneurial Sponsorship Award will be announced by County Executive Matt Meyer on July 12 at the 2018 Delaware Entrepreneurial Summit and will receive office space and amenities at the Emerging Enterprise Center, one-on-one business mentoring, business growth workshops and a one-year membership in the New Castle County Chamber of Commerce.

NCC Innovates is a New Castle County Initiative coordinated by the county’s office of economic development to support job creation through entrepreneurship, attract new companies to New Castle County and develop a strong innovation ecosystem.

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