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SBA Names Basalt-Based Challenge America as ‘Lab-to-Market’ $10,000 Prize Winner

Release Date: 
Friday, January 22, 2021
Release Number: 
Stephen Collier,

DENVER The U.S. Small Business Administration, in partnership with the National Science and Technology Council, announced Basalt-based Challenge America as one of 18 organizations nationwide to be named a prize winner of the “Lab-to-Market” competition.

Challenge America, a non-profit organization whose mission is to connect U.S. armed forces, veterans and their families with a variety of dynamic resources, won $10,000 in L2M funds in the “Ecosystem Responder” category. One of four organizations to win in this category, an Ecosystem Responder is recognized for innovative and effective responses to support research and development through the pandemic environment.

“A big congratulations goes out to Challenge America for being recognized with this unique honor,” said Frances Padilla, SBA Colorado district director. “The nationwide organizations competing for L2M prize funds are some of the best entities in their field of work, so this recognition is quite coveted. Colorado businesses and organizations continue to be innovative while responding to challenges from the COVID pandemic. This is just another example of that excellence on display.”

In all, $330,000 in prizes were awarded to organizations in three, different categories. Entities were also identified as “Supper Connectors” for supporting research and development activities in underrepresented communities, as well as “Visionary” organizations for creative and actional ideas leading toward more inclusive R&D ecosystems.

The L2M prize competition recognizes the most impactful organizations, programs and ideas that support the research and development (R&D) innovation ecosystems, particularly those focused on underrepresented communities and pandemic responses.  The competition’s goal is to encourage entrepreneurship and inclusive, sustainable growth by developing and commercializing technology to improve access to resources.    

Submissions were evaluated for quality and clarity by a panel of federal employees and non-federal partners with relevant expertise.  Final selection was made by an interagency committee in coordination with the SBA’s Office of Innovation and Technology.

About Lab-to-Market (L2M)
The Lab-to-Market (L2M) subcommittee of the National Science and Technology Council’s Committee on the Science and Technology Enterprise leads the federal government-wide implementation of the Lab-to-Market Cross Agency Priority (L2M CAP) goal to improve the transition of federally-funded R&D from the laboratory to the marketplace as part of the President’s Management Agenda.  Key strategies include increasing engagement with private sector technology development experts and supporting innovative tools and services for technology transfer.  To learn more, visit


About the SBA Office of Innovation and Technology
SBA coordinates the Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, which each year provide more than $4 billion in early stage seed capital totaling over 5,000 awards to small businesses.  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


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, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit