Tuesday, in downtown Austin, TX and coinciding with the South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Global Accelerator Network (GAN) hosted an Accelerator Demo Day at the Capital Factory.
To kick off the event, Pravina Raghavan, Deputy Associate Administrator in the Office of Investment and Innovation at the SBA, announced that the agency will be running a $2.5m contest for accelerators to compete with each other for cash awards. The cash awarded to contest winners is intended to assist accelerators in funding their operations and focus on opportunities for growth. The overall goal of the competition is to award capital to the best in class models focused on strengthening the accelerator and entrepreneurial ecosystems nationwide.
This event marked the first of three events that SBA and GAN plan to co-host in 2014. GAN is a worldwide network of accelerators that provides members with access to a large network and mentorship opportunities. On a list of the top 15 accelerators in the country put out by Yael Hochberg at MIT and other experts, 10 out of the 15 are members of the GAN. The event in Austin, and the others to come, provide opportunities for accelerators to give brief pitches on their models to a room full of accelerators, aspiring accelerators, startups, entrepreneurs and potential funders.
At our first event, 13 accelerators gave 5 minute pitches. We heard from accelerators based in Detroit, Cleveland, Memphis and Houston (to name a few). They also were representative of several sectors ranging from film, to energy, to biotechnology. All are focused on long term support of startups and on creating jobs to strengthen their communities. Pitches were followed by networking which was possibly the most fruitful part of the day.
We look forward to more successful Demo Days in the coming months, and stay tuned for more details on the competition. Please email email@example.com with any questions.