For the third year, the U.S. Small Business Administration is launching an Accelerator Growth Fund competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for prizes of $50,000 each, totaling $3.95 million.
“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 U.S. 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.”
Last year’s competition was so successful, the SBA added more federal partners including its Office of Native American Affairs and Office of Veterans Business Development to help bring more Native-American-owned, veteran-owned, women-owned and minority-owned small businesses into the fold, SBA officials said.
New to this year’s competition, SBA is partnering with several other federal agencies — the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture — to provide additional prizes to accelerators that assist entrepreneurs with submitting proposals for the Small Business Innovation and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.
SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation is also partnering with the Inter-American Development Bank to provide prizes to U.S. accelerators that assist the African descendant start-up 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.
Through this competition, the SBA is looking to support the development of accelerators and their support of startups in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of access to capital, such as venture capital and other investors.
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, because they are critical to job growth and strengthening the nation’s economy.