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SBA Recognizes Philadelphia Accelerator as Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Winner

Advisory Date: 
Monday, September 12, 2016
Advisory Number: 
Robert Goza (610) 382-3084 |
SBA Leaders Visit University City Science Center Sept. 14

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Small Business Administration Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho and Eastern Pennsylvania Director Tony Leta officially recognize the University City Science Center’s Phase 1 Ventures program as a winner of SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition at the Science Center headquarters at 3711 Market Street, 8th Floor, Sept. 14 at noon. Media are invited to attend.

SBA recently announced the 68 winners of the third annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.  Two of the 68 winners are from Eastern Pennsylvania: Phase 1 Ventures at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia and Ben Franklin TechCelerator in Carlisle, Pa. Each will be awarded $50,000 of a total of $3.4 million in prizes to boost the economic impact of accelerators across the nation.

“Promoting entrepreneurship has been core to the President’s national innovation strategy,” said SBA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho. “We are excited to have so many Accelerators in the Region empowering and engaging organizations with the sole purpose of helping start-ups create economic growth, innovation, and inspire and empower diverse a community of great American companies.”

WHO:       Natalia Olson-Urtecho, Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration

Antonio (Tony) Leta, Director, U.S. SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District

Saul A. Behar, Vice President and General Counsel, University City Science Center

Jim Harris, CEO, PolyCore Therapeutics

WHAT:    SBA recognizes University City Science Center’s Phase 1 Ventures program as a winner of its national Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

WHEN:   Sept. 14, 2016 at noon    

WHERE:  University City Science Center, 3711 Market Street, 8th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104

“The purpose of the competition was to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Olson-Urtecho. “The winning accelerators, like the University City Science Center, 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.”

“We’re honored that the SBA Growth Accelerator Fund has recognized Phase 1 Ventures as an investment-worthy program,” said Science Center President and CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA. “Through Phase 1 Ventures, we’re creating a better pathway for technology transfer in the 21st Century. As we do so, we’re scaling up the SBA’s mission to create a strong national economy based on scientific excellence and strong technological innovation.” 

The University City Science Center’s newest commercialization program, Phase 1 Ventures (P1V) soft launched in 2014 and formally rolled out earlier this year. P1V is a startup accelerator for “long horizon” technologies – those requiring significant development and/or regulatory approvals – such as healthcare, materials, or energy companies. Phase 1 Ventures provides know-how, management, facilities, and investment to universities looking to spin out new companies, and to startups formed for the purposes of commercializing academic technologies.

The program leverages the Science Center’s network of experienced entrepreneurs along with corporate and product-development professionals to strategically contribute expertise to the commercialization process and help applicable companies apply for Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.

Funding from the SBA Growth Accelerator Fund will match experts in the P1V network with companies applying for SBIR funding. These experts are well-versed in research and commercialization, having supported many companies on the path from discovery to IPO. Support from the SBA will allow P1V to support an additional 10 companies through the SBIR application process.

To date, 10 companies have participated in P1V. They have collectively raised over $1.2 million in non-dilutive funding and have been awarded close to $700,000 in P1V funding. The companies are developing technologies from six academic institutions including Drexel University; Lehigh University; Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Temple University; Thomas Jefferson University and the University of Pennsylvania. A partnership between the Science Center and Wexford Science + Technology, P1V is also supported by funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. 

“It’s wonderful to see innovative business accelerators in Pennsylvania are being recognized,” said Antonio (Tony) Leta, Director, U.S. SBA Eastern Pennsylvania District. “University City Science Center deservedly won this competition, but the real winners who will benefit from this SBA initiative are the small businesses these accelerators help.”

“SBA continues to make advances in support of unique organizations helping the start-up community grow, become commercially viable, and have a real and sustained economic impact,” said Olson-Urtecho. “Through the wide-spread outreach of this competition, we are able to reach entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country. Our commitment is to make resources available to 21st century entrepreneurs where they are, and these accelerators, also known as incubators and innovation hubs, are the gathering place for today’s innovators.”


To request interviews or photos, contact Robert Goza, SBA’s Public Information Officer in the Eastern Pennsylvania District Office, at 610-382-3084 or

Located in the heart of uCity Square, the University City Science Center is a dynamic hub for innovation, and entrepreneurship and technology development in the Greater Philadelphia region. Founded in 1963 as the nation’s first urban research park, it provides business incubation, programming, lab and office facilities, and support services for entrepreneurs, start-ups, and growing and established companies. Graduate firms and current residents of the Science Center’s business incubator support one out of every 100 jobs in Greater Philadelphia and drive $12.9 billion in economic activity in the region annually. For more information about the Science Center, go to

The U.S. Small Business Administration is an independent federal agency of the U.S. government whose mission is to help small businesses start, grow and succeed through loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses. SBA also helps people recover from disasters and rebuild their lives by providing affordable, timely and accessible financial assistance to homeowners, renters and businesses.