Office of Investment and Innovation | Resources

The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition
 

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

On August 31, 2016, 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.
 

See the full list of winners both past and present
 

Resources