Blue Hen 17&43 Awards

Celebrating Innovation & Economic Opportunity

After five years, Horn Entrepreneurship and the Lerner College of Business and Economics are updating the way we recognize the success of University of Delaware affiliated ventures through the Blue Hen 17&43 Awards. Because innovation and the expansion of economic opportunity are vitally important to the University and the economy, we are focusing our efforts on recognizing alumni success in new venture creation.

We invite alumni to submit information about their new ventures for consideration for a Blue Hen 17 & 43 Most Promising Venture Award. University and industry leaders will also nominate potential award recipients. Through the Blue Hen 17&43 Most Promising Awards alumni can gain recognition, build momentum and amplify the early successes of their startup ventures. 

Selection Criteria

To be eligible for a Blue Hen 17 & 43 Award, ventures must be founded by a UD alumnus or alumnae or be led by UD alumni in C-Suite roles. In addition, businesses must meet the following criteria:

  • Award winners will be selected based on their potential to make positive societal and economic impacts.
  • Ventures should have achieved one or more verifiable milestones to illustrate their potential impacts, including: contracts, partnerships, grants, seed investments, other awards and/or the generation of customer revenues.
  • In general, ventures should be no more than 5 years old and generate customer revenues to demonstrate traction; however, older, pre-revenue companies will also be considered if they are working in deep tech industries (i.e., those based on IP with long new product development cycles).

What is the value of winning a Blue Hen 17&43 Award?

  • Horn Entrepreneurship, the Lerner College of Business & Economics and the University of Delaware will share the list of Blue Hen 17&43 Most Promising Ventures through internal and external communications platforms including blog posts, press releases, social media and professional networking sites.
  • Recipients will receive physical awards and social media badges with significant signaling value.
  • Recipients will be invited to give an elevator pitch for their venture and connect with potential investors, other founders, and business leaders at the 2023 Hen Hatch Finals on November 16 at the University of Delaware.
  • Eligible ventures will receive an invitation to participate in Horn Entrepreneurship’s commercialization programming, including new offerings of the Coalition for Translational Entrepreneurship. 


Sept. 1, 2023

Application opens 

Oct. 15, 2023

Application deadline

Nov. 16, 2023

Blue Hen 17&43 Awards at Hen Hatch


Blue Hen 17&43 Most Promising recipients will be recognized at Hen Hatch on November 16, 2023.

About the Blue Hen 17&43 Awards

The Blue Hen 17&43 Awards build on the University of Delaware’s long tradition of leadership, innovation and entrepreneurship that began when the university was founded in 1743. It honors promising new ventures and growing companies founded or led by our students and alumni. This project is a collaboration of UD’s Horn Entrepreneurship and Alfred Lerner College of Business & Economics.