WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced 60 winners of SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. The recipients, representing accelerators and incubators across 39 states and territories focused on a broad set of industries and sectors, will receive a total of $3 million in awards to support startups and entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations.
“I am proud to announce the winners of the 2019 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Over the past five years, the competition has provided awards to innovative and promising accelerators and incubators. This year’s recipients, who will each receive an award of $50,000 from the SBA, are no exception,” said Acting SBA Administrator Chris Pilkerton. “This includes entrepreneurs located in Opportunity Zones – where job creation and investments are moving forward to revitalize communities.” In Alabama, the Innovation Depot was the award winner. Sarah McFarland with the Innovation Depot is the primary contact.
The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition will infuse the accelerators and incubators with additional operating capital to provide focused assistance to entrepreneurs. This assistance includes support for company formation as well as awareness and education on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Notably, the prizes are not for direct investing in the entrepreneurs’ small businesses.
This year’s award recipients will focus at least 60 percent of their Competition-related work to entrepreneurs who represent one of the following groups: women; socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; entrepreneurs living in or whose businesses are located and operate in states with a lower number of SBIR/STTR awards, or in an Opportunity Zone. By focusing the accelerators’ and incubators’ efforts on these entrepreneur groups, SBA aims to increase the pipeline of future SBIR/STTR applications and STEM-related innovations.
Applicants to the Competition submitted a brief presentation deck and an optional two-minute video outlining the organization’s overall approach, experience working with the targeted entrepreneur group, and key metrics that will be used to evaluate the success of the proposed plan. Applications were judged by panels of experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector.
About the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition
A total of $3,000,000 was appropriated to be awarded as prizes to accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, or other entrepreneurial ecosystem models. Each prize of $50,000 provides operational funding to the awardee for their work in supporting startup businesses. The Competition was conducted by SBA pursuant to the government wide prize competition authority known as the America COMPETES Act (15 U.S.C. 3719). Additional information can be found at www.sba.gov/accelerators and www.sbir.gov/accelerators.
SBA coordinates the SBIR/STTR programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, which each year provides more than $3.7 billion in early stage seed capital totaling over 5,000 awards to small businesses. Eleven participating federal government agencies announce funding opportunities as either grants or contracts to address their research and development needs. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S. Additional information about the programs, as well as past and current topics can be found at www.sbir.gov.
About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.