AWARE program offers proof of concept funding awards to underrepresented entrepreneurs

Category : EnterpriseWorks
Posted on: April 3, 2020

The AWARE (Accelerating Women And underRepresented Entrepreneurs) program is seeking to aid women and underrepresented entrepreneurs through a proof-of-concept award.

The AWARE proof of concept award provides funding to potential SBIR/STTR applicants to enable prototype development and accelerate the path toward commercialization. The award provides up to $1,5000 to each recipient to complete their proof of concept project. The deadline to apply is Thursday, April 30 at 5 pm.

Eligible applicants include individuals and teams with a scientific or technological idea with commercial potential. Applicants do not need to be incorporated. Learn more about the award and apply at

This is the second round of proof-of-concept funding AWARE has offered in the past year. In December 2019, Bianca Bailey and Amanda Smith and their teams received this award for their projects. Bailey and Smith have demonstrated potential to impact their industries, commercialize their concepts, and apply for SBIR funding

This announcement comes at the end of a four-part workshop series AWARE hosted to introduce researchers to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Participants explored the commercialization process, engaged with investment experts, and discovered local resources for entrepreneurs.



The AWARE (Accelerating Women And underRepresented Entrepreneurs) program is administered by the EnterpriseWorks incubator at the University of Illinois Research Park. The program was created to offer resources and an enhanced infrastructure to make the current entrepreneurial ecosystem more accessible to women and underrepresented entrepreneurs. The program, with funding from the Small Business Administration, offers resources, mentoring, training, and networking.

About the Research Park at the University of Illinois

The Research Park at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a technology hub for startup companies and corporate research and development operations. Within the Research Park there are 120 companies employing students and full-time technology professionals. More information at Find the Research Park on Twitter at @UIResearchPark.