Steps to Start a Business

Your small business starts with the Delaware Economic Development Office. We serve as the primary point of contact for entrepreneurs looking for business evaluation, guidance, support, resources and more.

We can help you set a foundation for success through the following steps for forming a new business entity in Delaware, including:

Register Your Business

The State of Delaware’s One Stop Business Registration and Licensing System makes registering a business hassle-free for entrepreneurs. Register your business or apply for new or additional licenses .

Raising Capital

The Delaware Economic Development Office can link your small business to unique programs for raising capital, such as the First State Innovation Angel Network and The Delaware SBIR Gateway.

The First State Innovation Angel Network aims to improve Delaware’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing investment to high-quality deals. The First State Innovation regularly hosts Angel-only events to feature regional entrepreneurs and the companies they are building. The Angel Network has a broad and diverse technology-based background across a diverse range of sectors, including:

  • Biotechnology and Life Sciences
  • Advanced Materials
  • Information Technology
  • Nanotechnology
  • Financial Services
  • Supporting Infrastructure

The federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs provide well over $2.8 billion of non-dilutive capital every year to small businesses developing high risk, high return technology-based products. The money is targeted specifically to fund R&D activities to reduce the technical risk, thereby helping to facilitate access to follow-on funding. Delaware’s SBIResource™ program , facilitated by the Delaware Small Business Development Center , provides qualified Delaware entrepreneurs and early-stage R&D companies help accessing these funds through direct 1:1 counseling, access to local and regional partners and resources, and in-depth training events tailored to the various government agencies required to participate.

Small Business Support

Whether you’re in the business of laptops or labcoats, Delaware wants to help your innovations become a reality.

The University of Delaware’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP) partners with the community outside of the University to help turn research discoveries into meaningful inventions. OEIP has worked with the state, Delaware Technology Park, numerous researchers and companies throughout the state to create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Technology Transfer Center of University of Delaware (TTC) assists with licensing, commercializing and business growth to protect intellectual property, in the form of patents, copyrights, trademarks, contracts and other research-related agreements. The TTC works in cooperation with the Delaware Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to assist with growth of new business as inventors become entrepreneurs, providing consultation and training in the following areas:

  • Business strategy and planning
  • Funding strategy
  • Team development
  • Management skill development

The Procurement Technical Assistance Center gives businesses a range of expert services at little or no charge to help them compete successfully for federal, state and local government contracting.

The Delaware Small Business Development Center hosts numerous programs and events to connect small businesses to the resources and networks they need. The center also offers educational training classes and counseling.

The Delaware State University Center for Enterprise Development provides business training programs, one-on-one technical and managerial assistance, plus access to capital for aspiring and new youth and adult entrepreneurs and enterprise managers.