The highly anticipated Pete du Pont Freedom Award is back after a one-year delay caused by the pandemic. The foundation will honor former credit card giant MBNA and announce the 2022 Reinventing Delaware winner Sept. 22 at the Hotel du Pont.

For the first time, the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation will honor a business instead of an individual. “This honoree captures both my father’s enthusiasm for entrepreneurial innovation and the priority he placed on job growth,” said Theré du Pont, Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation board chair.

“The 1981 Financial Center Development Act was the centerpiece of his efforts to attract employers to Delaware by creating an innovative regulatory environment. MBNA, displaying both courage and vision, was one of the first to take advantage of the FCDA and immediately created a distinctive culture wrapped around service to the customer and generosity to the local community. Its impact on Delaware continues to this day, and one wonders whether any of that would have happened without the vision shared by my father and MBNA’s leaders,” he added.

Recent Freedom Award recipients include Charlie Horn, entrepreneur, philanthropist and co-founder of Horn Entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware; Carol Ammon, founder and retired CEO of Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.; and former U.S. Rep. and Delaware Gov. Mike Castle.

The Pete du Pont Freedom Award is a key fundraiser to support the foundation’s work to promote innovation and enterprise. Proceeds will support the foundation’s initiatives, including the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem (E3) and Reinventing Delaware.

The foundation’s seventh annual Reinventing Delaware event was held Nov. 11, 2021, at CSC Station in Wilmington. The event, presented by Discover Bank, invited 100 people to present innovative ideas to create jobs and make Delaware a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Three finalists were chosen to participate in an idea development process. The foundation invites the public to get to know the entrepreneurs and their businesses before the winner is announced during the September event.

Angela Wagner, Esq.: Delaware Creative Economy
Angela’s vision is to establish a creative economy in Delaware that attracts filmmakers to the First State and replicates Georgia’s success of the past 30 years. A creative economy would provide quality, stable employment for residents; attract top talent and keep current talent; and build part of the economy that collects a larger dollar percentage than agriculture and construction.

To encourage the growth of the creative economy, Angela would build on the momentum of Akima Brown and Friends of Delaware Film, an organization that has lobbied for the passage of a tax incentive program and redesign of the Delaware Film Commission.

Theo Nix: DWS Drone School
DWS Drone School combines technology and entrepreneurship to alleviate two of Delaware’s social issues: lack of activities for teens and gun violence.

The DWS Drone School would focus on technology careers to help teens develop job skills and gain financial freedom. It aims to educate and employ 1,000 Delaware teens, offering technology certification, internships and job experience, and expand its business nationally.

Adam Stager: TRIC Robotics
Adam Stager and TRIC Robotics want to improve agriculture with engineering, data and robotics. Farmers, especially organic farmers, contend with pests and pathogens in their fields, including mites, mold and mildew. Pesticides and herbicides pose environmental and health risks.

TRIC Robotics uses a patented robotic design with UV-C light to control pests and reduce the use of chemicals to treat them. TRIC Robotics is the solution for this problem with Adam’s background in mechanical engineering and U.S. Agriculture Department research on UV-C light as a pesticide alternative.

To learn more about each entrepreneur, visit the Pete du Pont Freedom Foundation website:

This year’s Pete du Pont Freedom Award is sponsored by: Bank of America; MBNA legacy honorees: John Cochran, Bruce Hammonds and Lance Weaver; Barclays US Consumer Bank; Glenmede; Delaware State University; University of Delaware; Loyola University Maryland; the Fraser Family; and M&T Bank. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Each sponsorship includes a corresponding number of complimentary tickets, inclusion in the event program and mentions in event publicity. Contact Stephanie Johnnie to learn more: [email protected]