Client Success Story: Droneversity

Developing the Future of Aviation

Young Industry = New Challenges

In the early stages of Droneversity, Ashlee Cooper, MLS (ASCP) faced the challenge of bridging the gap between educational innovation and workforce development. Transitioning from her microbiology career, she envisioned using aerial drones as an educational and engagement strategy for communities across Delaware. Cooper recognized the potential of drones across diverse industries and knew she had to make a plan. The challenge lay in introducing children to aviation with fun and engaging activities, while aptly preparing youth and adults for the Federal Aviation Exam. A critical hurdle for the U.S. is the shortage of certified uncrewed aircraft pilots, particularly in Delaware.

Cooper began to dive into business development – with a great idea, and an acute awareness of the inequities in aviation and technology sectors, she began to build. As she progressed in business, her team needed to scale along with her brand, and Droneversity was on the hunt for opportunities to grow.

Delaware SBDC Support

The Delaware Small Business Development Center (SBDC), through advisor Audrey Scott-Hynson, jumped in to help solidify Cooper’s growth plan. Advising sessions provided invaluable assistance with grant applications, identifying funding opportunities, and establishing connections with key resource partners throughout the state. The strategic guidance from the SBDC not only brought business acumen to the table but complimented Droneversity’s mission. With Cooper’s hard work, dedication, and a bit of SBDC guidance, this business was able to jump into action at pitch competitions, apply to major grant opportunities, and build the network necessary to align educational entertainment with the practical demands of over 20 industries utilizing drones.

Flying to New Horizons

Droneversity has seen incredible success in the last few years – they now offer diverse avenues for skill development, including FAA Part 107 certification, drone soccer leagues, veterans’ drone pilot exam prep classes, online drone pilot exam prep classes, and experience with recreational piloting. Boasting a 100% pass rate for the FAA Part 107 exam, Droneversity has not only triumphed in education but also in business competitions. The $1,500 Runner-up Winner of the Swim with the Sharks Pitch Competition is just one accolade in a string of achievements. Droneversity was also awarded $50,000 in the State of Delaware’s EDGE Grant competition. Of course, Ms. Audrey was there in the crowd to cheer her on.

Through community collaborations and media coverage, including features on 6ABC, Fox 29, and DETV, the company has established itself as an innovative and impactful brand. Droneversity was recognized with the award of Best of Philadelphia 2023 Technology Company, and received recognition from True Access Capital via the H.E.R. Grant. Droneversity was ready to grow and compete in United Way’s Stand By Me Small Business Incubator and Delaware’s Pitch or Ditch Competition. After all these accolades, each student in Cooper’s program still gets a down-to-earth, accessible, and inspired leader to look up to while learning. Droneversity stands as a beacon of success, contributing to a skilled workforce that meets the demands of the rapidly growing drone industry.

Onward & Upward

As this venture takes to the skies, Cooper can already celebrate the impact that she has had – students get incredible role models, a supportive environment to learn and grow, and a love for applied STEAM concepts. Cooper and her daughter have even captured their excitement for Drone Aviation in their book, ‘Drones, Drones, Everywhere!’, published in March of 2023.

We can’t wait to watch Droneversity soar to new heights in 2024!

Droneversity

www.droneversity.org

“[The] SBDC and my counselor Audrey Scott, in particular, have been invaluable. The assistance has resulted in a clear mission, business plan and increased networking that has furthered Droneversity’s outreach. Droneversity would not be where it is today without the SBDC!”

Ashlee Cooper, MLS(ASCP), Founder, Droneversity 

The Delaware SBDC, a unit of the University of Delaware’s Office of Economic Innovation and Partnerships (OEIP), is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the State of Delaware. All opinions, conclusions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or the sponsoring agencies. All programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. As equal opportunity/affirmative action employers, the SBA, the University of Delaware and the State of Delaware are all committed to assuring equal opportunity to all persons. The University of Delaware is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and Title IX institution. For the University’s complete non-discrimination statement, please visit http://www.udel.edu/home/legal-notices/. - powered by Enfold WordPress Theme