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SBA Announces $3.4 Million for Small Business Startups

68 winners in 32 states will receive funding to boost economic impact of growth accelerators across the country
Release Date: 
Wednesday, August 31, 2016
Release Number: 
Tiffani S. Clements (202) 401-0035

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Investment and Innovation, Office of Native American Affairs, and Office of Veterans Business Development, along with the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Department of Education, announced 68 winners of SBA’s third annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.  The recipients will receive a total of $3.4 million in prizes to boost the economic impact of accelerators across 32 states and the District of Columbia. 

In making the announcement, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said: “SBA created the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition in 2014 as a way to make new connections and strengthen existing bonds within America’s small business support network, bringing entrepreneurs and innovators together and connecting them with local and national resources that support small business job creation and growth. These awards deliver on a longstanding commitment at SBA to strengthen and modernize these support systems especially in parts of the country where access to capital has been a major barrier to starting a business. This year’s winners show that our efforts are bearing fruit and further cementing our nation’s most pioneering accelerators, incubators and innovation hubs as major players driving America’s technology startup ecosystem.”

The purpose of the competition was to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. While there are entrepreneurial activities occurring nationwide, some are better supported by private sector ecosystems than others. SBA has created connective tissue among the over 200 winning entrepreneurial ecosystems now part of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition program. 

“Accelerators serve entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors – from manufacturing and tech start-ups, to farming and biotech – with many focused on creating a diverse and inclusive small business community.  Through this national competition, we are also empowering accelerators which are led by and support women or other underrepresented groups.  SBA will continue to explore ways to creatively harness this powerful network and connect startups with one another and with available government resources.  We reported to Congress 138 winners from 2014 and 2015 – made up of 5,000 companies that have raised $1.5 billion and employ nearly 20,000 people.  With the addition of the 2016 winners, the number of SBA supported entrepreneurs will significantly grow,”  Contreras-Sweet added. 

Applications were judged by more than 100 experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, capital formation and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector.  The first panel of judges reviewed over 400 applications and presentations and established a pool of 200 highly qualified finalists.  The second panels evaluated the finalists’ presentations and pitch videos and selected the 68 winners.

Each organization will receive a cash prize of $50,000 from the SBA.  In accepting funds, the accelerators will also be committing to quarterly reporting for one year.  They will be required to report metrics including jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained. This will allow SBA to continue building upon its database of accelerators and their impact, and to develop long-term relationships with the startups and constituents in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities.

The 2016 Growth Accelerator Competition Award winners are:

406 Labs Bozeman Mont.
ABQid Albuquerque N.M.
AccelerateHER™ Inc. Williamsburg Va.
AlphaLab Pittsburgh Pa.
Authentically Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Portland Ore.
Autonomous Alley Grand Forks N.D.
Ben Franklin Techcelerator Harrisburg Pa.
BIG Accelerator (formerly FOCUS) Atlanta Ga.
BioAccel (Southwest Commercialization Center) Phoenix Ariz.
Bioscience & Technology Business Center Lawrence Kan.
BioSTL Fundamentals St. Louis Mo.
BoomStartup Online Salt Lake City Utah
Bunker Labs Chicago Ill.
Chef Space Louisville Ky.
Cherokee Center for Cultural Art and Technology Cherokee N.C.
Circular Board Houston Texas
Civic Accelerator Atlanta Ga.
Coalition for Queens Long Island City N.Y.
CONNECT San Diego Calif.
Creative Startups Santa Fe N.M.
EforAll Lowell Mass.
Fannin Innovation StudioCalif. Houston Texas
FAST (Fellows All Star Team) South San Francisco Calif.
FastForward Baltimore Md.
Good Food Business Accelerator Incubator Without Walls Chicago Ill.
GVS Transmedia Accelerator Kona Hawaii
Harlem Biospace  New York N.Y.
Ho'okahua Capacity-Building Accelerator Waimanalo Hawaii
IGNITE Community Accelerator Albuquerque N.M.
Innosphere Fort Collins Colo.
Jefferson Education Accelerator Arlington Va.
La Cocina's Business Incubator Program San Francisco Calif.
Lansing Proto Lansing Mich.
Launch – Chattanooga Chattanooga Tenn.
Launch Alaska Anchorage  Alaska
LaunchTN Network Nashville Tenn.
Local First Delta Spark Little Rock Ark.
Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator Los Angeles Calif.
Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives Worcester  Mass.
Maui Food Industry X-celerator Kahului Hawaii
MedTech Innovator Los Angeles Calif.
Mergelane Boulder Colo.
Mortar  Cincinnati  Ohio
mystartupXX at University of California San Diego (UC San Diego)  La Jolla Calif.
Native American Business Incubator Network Flagstaff Ariz.
Native Entrepreneur In Residence Albuquerque N.M.
NeuroLaunch Atlanta Ga.
New Biz Launchpad  Wardensville WV
New England Pediatric Device Consortium Lebanon N.H.
New Orleans BioInnovation Center New Orleans La.
NewSchools Ignite/WestEd Research Partnership Redwood City Calif.
North Shore InnoVentures, Inc. Beverly Mass.
Phase 1 Ventures at the University City Science Center  Philadelphia Pa.
Prince William Science Accelerator Manassas Va.
PROPEL at the iBIO Institute Chicago Ill.
SCAPE Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs Durango Colo.
Startup Tucson Tucson Ariz.
Tamp WaVE Tampa Fla.
Texas Health Catalyst Austin  Texas
The Refinery Westport Conn.
The Rosie Network's Military Entrepreneur Center San Diego Calif.
The Wedge  Tacoma Wash.
Upstate Accelerator Buffalo N.Y.
Veteran Incubator Brooklyn N.Y.
Village Capital  Washington D.C.
WIN for Life Sciences Entrepreneur Mentoring Program Seattle  Wash.
WiSTEM (1871's Women's Program) Chicago  Ill.
XLerateHealth  Louisville Ky.

For more information about accelerators and the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, visit:



The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.  The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.  Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.