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Two Kentucky Accelerators Awarded $50,000 from SBA for Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

Louisville-Based Chef Space and XLerateHealth Receive Awards
Release Date: 
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Release Number: 

KENTUCKY – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the 68 winners of the third annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Two award winners from Kentucky, Chef Space and XlerateHealth, will receive $50,000 each from a total of $3.4 million in prizes to boost the economic impact of accelerators across 32 states and the District of Columbia. 

Ralph Ross, SBA’s District Director for Kentucky, is encouraged by the awards to Chef Space and XLerateHealth. Regarding Chef Space, he stated, “The West Side of Louisville has 112,000 people with an annual income of $655 million. More local restaurants and dining alternatives need to be developed there so people can spend some of that income without going so far from home. We sincerely appreciate our partners at Community Ventures and the work they have done on this Chef Space project.

Ralph Ross continued, “XLerateHealth is a valuable resource to Louisville-area startups. Health-based startups follow a path from research to human trials to a final scale-up for delivery to patients all over the world. Each step takes special knowledge and special funding. XLerateHealth has a broad network of partner-experts with scientific and financial experience.

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 connectivity among the 200 plus winning entrepreneurial ecosystems that are 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.  The 2016 competition focused on building upon the success of the previous two years and providing different areas of focus under which winners could be funded, including: General, Small Business Innovation (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, Veteran, and Native American. 

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 panel 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 these funds, the accelerators will also be committing to quarterly reporting for one year and be required to report metrics such as 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, as well as develop long-term relationships with the startups and constituents in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities.

The awards for the 68 winners of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition were coordinated through SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation (OII), Office of Native American Affairs, and Office of Veterans Business Development, along with its federal partners: the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Department of Education. 

In addition to the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, SBA’s OII also supports investment and innovation in Kentucky and across the nation through two flagship programs: Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). SBA licenses SBICs and provides $2 in government guaranteed debt for every $1 in private investment. Since it was created in 1958, over $80 billion has been invested nationwide, helping finance 170,000 American small businesses, including companies that have grown into recognizable brands, like COSTCO, Amgen, Apple, FedEx, Staples, Tesla and Intel.

The SBIR/STTR program is a key pillar in the federal government’s strategy to provide seed capital to talented entrepreneurs in science, technology and engineering. Since its inception in 1982, the program has awarded over 157,000 awards with $43.5 billion in funding to early stage companies, including small firms that grew to become many of America’s leading large firms, such as Qualcomm, Biogen, iRobot, and Symantec. The federal government made 549 SBIR/STTR awards to small businesses in Kentucky totaling almost $177 million since 1983.

For more information about accelerators and the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, visit or contact the SBA Kentucky District Office at 502-582-5971.