SBA Announces $5.4 Million in Prizes in Support of Inclusive Entrepreneurship

growth accelerator fund competition

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced a combined total of $5.4 million in awards for its Growth Accelerator fund competition and new Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Catalyst component.

SBA Administration Administrator, Isabella Casillas Guzman announced 84 winners for the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and eight winners for the SBIR Catalyst competition – a new component designed to encourage investment in underrepresented communities.

SBA Awards $5.4 Million in Business Grants Prizes for Inclusive Entrepreneurship

The awards recognize and emphasize the importance entrepreneurs play in the creation of jobs and economic growth in the United States. With the right resources, entrepreneurs, especially those in underrepresented communities, can be developed and continue to play a pivotal role in the economy.

The CAFC was launched in 2014 as a means of stimulating innovation and entrepreneurism across the US. In a bid to provide support to entrepreneurs, especially those in the STEM/R&D innovation system, prize awards have been responsible for funding accelerators and incubators.

Accelerating the Launch, Growth and Scale of Small Businesses

Receiving a combined total of $5.4 million in awards, innovation-focused entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) will be provided with programs to accelerate the launch, growth and scale of small businesses across the country.

Talking about the purpose of the awards, Isabella Casillas Guzman said: “This year’s cohort of winners emphasizes our commitment to equity. Our awardees have innovative plans to support underserved entrepreneurs, including women, people of color, and individuals from underrepresented geographic areas.

“The Growth Accelerator prize funds will ensure a wide range of startups and innovators working on cutting edge STEM/R&D ideas have access to technical support and capital. The success of the first-ever SBIR Catalyst track will ensure newly piloted regional collaboratives represent the diverse potential of the U.S. innovation ecosystem.”

Supporting Entrepreneurs Researching and Developing STEM-Related Innovations

The winners came from 48 states, including the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Entrees were awarded based on their proposals for innovative ideas aimed at inclusively supporting entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations.

Winners of the GAFC are accelerators and incubators who projected assistance targeted to STEM/R&D entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups. These groups include women, people of color, those in rural locations, and veteran entrepreneurs.

Winners came from a range of industries, including supply chain resilience, infrastructure and sustainable energy.

Winners of the SBIR Catalyst competition were focused on building connections across entrepreneur support organizations that foster entrepreneurs driving innovation in underserved communities.

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Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".