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SBA Launches 3rd Growth Accelerator Fund Competition to Award $3.95M for Startups

By on May 2, 2016

SAN JUAN – For the third year, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is launching a competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each, totaling $3.95 million. The application period is from May 2-June 3 and information about the application process can be found at: www.sba.gov/accelerators or www.challenge.gov.

Yvette Collazo

Yvette Collazo, SBA’s Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands district director

“In the last two years, we have announced three Puerto Rican companies as national winners of SBA’s Accelerator Growth competition – Piloto Labs, Codetrotters Academy and EnterPrize,” said Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands District Director Yvette T. Collazo. “We encourage our local accelerators to continue submitting applications as part of this annual competition, to further promote innovation and growth in our community.”

New to this year’s competition, SBA is partnering with several other federal agencies – National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Education (DoED) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) – to provide additional prizes to accelerators that assist entrepreneurs with submitting proposals for the Small Business Innovation (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation (OII) is also partnering with the Inter-American Development Bank to provide prizes to U.S. accelerators that assist the African descendant startup community in Latin America and the Caribbean. Special consideration will be given to these accelerator models which support women-owned or minority-owned small businesses.

Similar to last year’s competition, several panels containing expert judges from the private and public sector with collective experience in early stage investing, entrepreneurship, academia, startups and economic development will select the winners. The competition includes accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, shared tinker-spaces or other models. The panel will give particular attention to applicants that fill geographic gaps in the accelerator and entrepreneurial ecosystem space.

“As we celebrate National Small Business Week this week, it is only fitting that we launch our third annual Accelerator Growth Fund competition to empower more of America’s small businesses,” said Mark Walsh, associate administrator for the Office of Investment and Innovation. “Accelerators provide valuable resources to potential startups: a physical infrastructure to work in their infancy, mentoring, business-plan assistance, networking, opportunities to obtain venture capital, and introductions to potential customers, partners and suppliers—all critical elements to ensuring that small businesses flourish and succeed.”

In addition, the SBA is also seeking accelerators headed by women and those who support them or other underrepresented groups, 44% percent of last year’s accelerator winners were run by women and 41% percent were classified as underrepresented groups.

Special consideration will be given to manufacturing accelerator models and models which support the White House Power Initiative during this year’s competition.

For more information on last year’s competition, please read the Report to the Congress of the United States (https://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/files/2014_Report.pdf) on Q1 metrics and results from the first batch of winners.

Click here for the Accelerator Growth Fact Sheet and specifics on how to apply and the timeline for 2016’s competition. For questions or comments, contact accelerators@sba.gov.

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