Delaware Innovation Space unveils new $6M growth space for startups

The Delaware Innovation Space (DISI), Wilmington DE, formally opened a new $6M lab space for early stage science companies at an event with over 120 attendees last Friday, September 13th.  Federal, Academic, Business & Delaware State leaders in attendance spoke about the importance of startup companies for today’s economy along with the importance of supportive state and federal policies that provide resources needed to lift startups from formation & proof of concept to becoming growth businesses.   

DISI CEO & President, Bill Provine kicked off the event by expressing excitement in the completion of enhancements to DISI. “We have transformed a building originally built for one company, the DuPont Merck joint venture, and have created what you see here today – a highly interactive, collaborative, and supportive environment for many startup companies,”  said Provine.  According to Provine, the renovation enhances the ability of DISI to grow and scale these companies, potentially into the next large scale employers like a DuPont, Agilent, Gore, or Incyte.  In particular, he spoke to building “companies that will last for generations and ultimately employ thousands of employees and will be future cornerstones of our community.” 

Assistant Secretary of US Dept of Commerce and head of Economic Development Administration (EDA), Dr. John Fleming spoke about the importance of driving growth of local economies and job creation. “What has lifted mankind the most over time has been innovation and increased productivity, and America does that best,” Fleming said enthusiastically, “and this is the best of America.” The EDA provided $3M in funding to create the new private lab pods & collaboration spaces to give early-stage science companies with the tools and capabilities to startup and scale-up into successful businesses. 

U.S. Senator, Tom Carper spoke to the importance of adaptable startups in today’s world in saying “the world has changed, and we have to be able to be nimble and to change as well. And, this building and the folks that are in here and starting businesses and growing here are the face of change.”  Delaware Governor, John Carney echoed Carper’s comments by proclaiming that “new discoveries, new jobs, and new businesses are more likely to spin out of a facility like this than to be driven by some of our bigger corporate citizens in our state.”  According to Provine, since launching 2 years ago, DISI programs have actively supported over 30 companies, which enabled the growth or retention of over 240 jobs with an average salary of over $100,000 per year, and client startup companies have raised over $120 million dollars in private investment to date. 

 University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis spoke to the importance of entrepreneurship to UD, specifically that it is one of the five priorities of the university. “We take the position very seriously that we have to help transform our economy towards a knowledge based economy and what we’re doing is clearly going in this direction,” said Assanis.  He quickly highlighted two recent success startup success stories, starting with W7 Energy.  W7 is a company focusing on developing advanced fuel cell materials to create price parity with traditional gasoline engines, the company was just awarded over $4 million via Department of Energy’s ARPA-E grant program.  He also spoke about MCET Technologies, a new spin-out from UD which just won a DuPont sponsored competition for free space at DISI for a year.  Assanis spoke that DISI is “going to help our entrepreneurs become more creative, become more successful, and we’re happy to have our students come to the incubator and work with the companies and create a wonderful eco system within our state.” 

 Alexa Dembek, DuPont’s Chief Technology and Sustainability spoke to a critical component of DuPont’s innovation strategy: collaborating with startups. “The reason that’s important today is because we know to stay relevant, we have to rely on partnerships and collaborations in a very different way than we were comfortable with before in the past,” said Dembek.  She continued by mentioning several key decisions she made when accepting the role, specifically in ending a culture of “not invented here”  Dembek explained further, “it’s super important because with that mindset, that means that entrepreneurism, that means collaboration with the state, that means collaboration with the University of Delaware is essential for all of us to win and especially to win in our hometown of Delaware.” 

 During the ceremony, Provine & Assanis highlighted DISI’s FastPass competition, where startups can be awarded up to 1 year of free space at DISI combined with access to DISI’s business building programs & with a $5000 credit for supplies. Currently, DISI is seeking companies that are affiliated with the University of Delaware, either by leveraging technologies developed at UD or consisting of leadership teams with current facility, staff, students or alumni.  Assanis boasted “Don’t underestimate the mighty 150 square feet of incubator space that we’re providing, believe me, here people turn their dreams into reality.” 

Carney, Carper, Coons, Blunt Rochester Announce a $3 Million Grant Award for Delaware Innovation Space

WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, Governor John Carney, U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (all D-Del.) announced a $3 million grant award from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). This federal grant will support capital investments in the Delaware Innovation Space, a new mission based public-private partnership between the State of Delaware, DuPont and the University of Delaware, formed to accelerate science entrepreneurship and build a new world-class innovation community focused on growth and incubation of new business.

“We’re about supporting innovation in Delaware, and working with business and higher education to prepare our workforce, create good-paying jobs, and drive economic growth,” said Governor Carney. “That’s exactly what is happening at the Delaware Innovation Space, and why we have redesigned how our state does economic development to build on this model. Our partnership with DuPont and the University of Delaware will provide supports for early-stage science-based companies, give Delaware innovators the tools they need to build a business, and connect young scientists with leaders in their field. This grant will build on that work, and I want to thank Senator Carper, Senator Coons, and Representative Blunt Rochester for their continued leadership on behalf of Delawareans across our state.”

“After losing thousands of jobs over the year to plant closures and layoffs, Delaware continues to find innovative ways to drive economic growth and opportunity – and the Innovation Space is a critical component to this recovery,” said Senator Carper. “The EDA has recognized that Delaware has a long history of scientific innovation, and this project will leverage their federal investment and use the resources of the University of Delaware and DuPont to attract, retain and grow new industry here. We must continue to find ways to grow our economy for the long-term, and this grant will help foster that innovation.”

“This money will allow Delaware to build on its strong chemical heritage for the future,” said Senator Coons. “With this EDA grant, we will help transform an impressive lab on the DuPont Experimental Station campus and make it more accessible for smaller companies to help fuel the future of our economy. This grant, combined with funding from the State, DuPont, and University of Delaware, will make Delaware home to one of the largest deep technology wet lab incubators in the country.”

“Small business incubators and accelerators are crucial to the future of Delaware’s economy,” said Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. “The Delaware Innovation Space will provide an environment for small businesses to grow through STEAM education and research, as well as create good paying jobs here at home. This grant from the Economic Development Administration is an important investment in the Delaware Innovation Space and in building a 21st century economy in the First State.”

“EDA’s investment in support of the Delaware Innovation Space will be used to advance and sophisticate our capabilities to better support the needs of the emerging and high growth businesses that we are attracting from across the United States and beyond,” said Delaware Innovation Space President and CEO Bill Provine.“Sharing the innovative strength of Delaware in key markets and sectors from advanced materials, biotechnology, and health care with science entrepreneurs will accelerate economic growth that will sustain for decades, if not for hundreds of years.”

The Delaware Innovation Space is a vital resource in the scientific startup ecosystem and is a non-profit, public-private partnership that offers multi-dimensional, resource-rich support for scientific entrepreneurs at the Experimental Station campus in Wilmington, Del. The Delaware Innovation Space offers a centric location and proximity to world-renowned research institutions, global multi-national corporations and a thriving scientific start-up community.


Leaders from Europe’s foremost science and healthcare clusters to meet with Delaware bioscience experts at new Delaware Innovation Space

Emma Pautler global
Director of Marketing
Global Delaware

Wilmington, DE – A delegation from Europe’s leading science and healthcare clusters will meet with distinguished Delaware researchers, industry professionals and entrepreneurs to discuss exciting work being done here in bioscience, cancer research and healthcare fintech. The event will be held on Friday, June 16 at the Delaware Innovation Space ( business incubator and research institute at the DuPont Experimental Station.

The European delegates represent bioXclusters+, the leading European meta-cluster on personalized healthcare. bioXclusters+ brings together four of the fastest-growing life science and healthcare clusters in Europe and representing 3,300 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the areas of personalized medicine, oncology, cardiovascular, inflammatory, infectious diseases and the central nervous system.

They will attend this exclusive one-day event en route to the International BIO Convention in San Diego. Organized in collaboration with the Enterprise Europe Network, European American Enterprise Council and French American Chamber of Commerce, the event gives Delaware the opportunity to showcase its competitive advantages for bioscience businesses and to give local companies and institutes the chance to explore collaboration opportunities with their European counterparts.

“Delaware has much to offer international bioscience companies looking for a gateway to the U.S. market and for collaboration opportunities with U.S. companies and researchers,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “We look forward to sharing information about our resources, domain experts and entrepreneurial community with our guests at DISI.”

Delaware Innovation Space President and CEO Bill Provine will give delegation members a guided tour of the facilities, which will soon include laboratory suites, shared open laboratory space, premium lab equipment, hands-on support services, and shared-use conference rooms.

Secretary Bullock and New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer will welcome delegates at a networking lunch, followed by an afternoon of roundtable discussion with local experts. Topics will include bioscience innovation in Delaware and opportunities for collaboration; an exciting cancer research project involving gene editing currently underway at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center; and how distributed ledger technology can be used to manage and share healthcare records more safely and efficiently.

Some of Delaware’s most influential and innovative bioscience professionals will be on-hand for the discussion. “This is a unique opportunity for delegates to connect with an exceptional group of professionals and to appreciate what Delaware can offer the international bioscience community,” said Helen Stimson, President of the Delaware Bioscience Association.

“Delaware has the whole package: cutting-edge facilities, an engaged team of public officials, a dynamic community of scientific and business experts, and the quality of life that companies seek when looking to start up new operations,” says Bill Provine. “We look forward to engaging with our guests and showcasing for them the value that Delaware can deliver.”

Members of the press are welcome at this event. Please complete this form if you plan to attend.

About the Delaware Innovation Space
The Delaware Innovation Space, Inc. ( is a non-profit corporation for scientific entrepreneurship, based in Wilmington, Del. And formed from a partnership between the State of Delaware, DuPont and the University of Delaware. It is a catalyst for the growth of science-based businesses, providing entrepreneurs with state-of-the-art research space, business training and tools as they progress their ideas from concepts to commercial realities.

About Global Delaware
Global Delaware is an international economic development initiative of the Department of State. It plays a vital role in transforming the State’s economy and building a prosperous global center for innovation by helping Delaware companies develop markets overseas, attracting international companies to locate in Delaware, and promoting Delaware’s role as the worldwide leader in corporate governance.

Partnership Creates Major Business Incubator & Research Institute at Experimental Station

State of Delaware, DuPont and University of Delaware partner to form Delaware Innovation Space, Inc.
WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday announced the creation of the Delaware Innovation Space, Inc. – a nonprofit public-private partnership established by the State of Delaware, DuPont, and the University of Delaware that will catalyze the entrepreneurial growth of new science-based businesses and ventures in Delaware.

The Delaware Innovation Space will be headquartered at the DuPont Experimental Station research campus in Alapocas.

Formed as a separate nonprofit organization and legal entity and governed by an independent board, the Delaware Innovation Space will operate as an incubator to accelerate and drive new business growth, and as a research institute for the advancement of science in collaboration with the diverse scientific talent base in Delaware.

Each founding partner will contribute assets in support of the formation of the nonprofit, and two members to its initial Board of Directors.

“Delaware’s economy remains in transition, and we should do everything we can to support innovation, and partner with the private sector to drive business and job growth,” said Governor Carney. “DuPont and the University of Delaware have long histories of innovation, and remain crucially important to the future of our economy and our state. This partnership will draw upon the resources of those institutions to help science-based businesses grow here in Delaware, and connect Delaware’s students to the work of our most talented innovators.”

“The Innovation Space at the Experimental Station shows that DuPont, the state and the University of Delaware are committed to creating a nurturing environment for business to grow and thrive,” said U.S. Senator Tom Carper. “Delaware may be small, but we are nimble. We have all levels of government partnering with the private and non-profit sectors to find ways to make Delaware a more attractive place to do business. The Innovation Space is another example of a great idea that came from the power of partnerships.”

“This building will provide Delaware with what startups in our region need the most, high quality and market rate lab space,” said U.S. Senator Chris Coons. “In the Senate, I have worked hard to give science based early stage companies tools they need, but ultimately Delaware needs more lab space like this in order to help local companies grow and for us to attract other companies from outside of our state. I am thrilled to see this building come to fruition, and excited to see what technologies emerge from this site.”

“It’s exciting to see what we can accomplish when we come together, and I’m grateful for the University of Delaware and DuPont for their continued support of a brighter future for Delaware,” said Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. “Not only will this partnership promote economic growth and attract new businesses, it will also provide students with exciting opportunities to get hands on research experience in growing fields.”

“DuPont’s vision for the Experimental Station is to harness the power of collaboration to drive innovation,” said Doug Muzyka, DuPont Senior Vice President and Chief Science and Technology Officer. “The Delaware Innovation Space will accelerate new business growth and give entrepreneurs, scientific leaders, and businesses access to best-in-class talent, resources and the culture of the Experimental Station.”

“UD fosters a strong, productive and longstanding relationship with the State and DuPont that advances scientific inquiry, strengthens our economy and improves the lives of Delawareans,” said Dennis Assanis, University of Delaware President. “The Delaware Innovation Space represents a new and exciting chapter in that partnership, one that will benefit our community for many more decades ahead.”

The partnership of the State of Delaware, DuPont and the University of Delaware at the Experimental Station not only will fuel growth of science-based businesses; it will spur job creation, creativity, and develop, attract and retain science talent in Delaware.

The Delaware Innovation Space will focus on key Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) areas that align with strengths both DuPont and UD bring to the venture. They include industrial biotechnology, renewable energy, advanced materials, chemical ingredients, nutrition and healthcare to help strengthen Delaware’s presence as a leader in those areas.

It also will provide education to entrepreneurs and startups, help accelerate the formation of new businesses, and connect Delaware’s students with the work of innovators and entrepreneurs.

The Delaware Innovation Space will be located in a dedicated building (E500) at the Experimental Station. It will include approximately 100,000 square feet of innovative laboratory and office space comprised of a mix of large shared lab spaces and open office areas in addition to private laboratory and office suites.  Delaware Innovation clientele also will have access to other common spaces and leveraged capabilities at the Experimental Station.

Partner contributions include:
State of Delaware:

  • $5 million in startup funding support over 3 years from the Delaware Strategic Fund
  • Key support from public stakeholders in attracting companies to Delaware


  • $1.25 million in startup funding
  • Modern laboratory and office building at the Experimental Station, valued at approximately $15 million today
  • Laboratory equipment valued at up to $2 million
  • Nonprofit set-up costs

University of Delaware:

  • $1.5 million in startup funding over three years
  • Student internships
  • On-site workshops and seminars led by UD faculty members
  • Grant writing support