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Science Trust wins $50K in SBA Growth Accelerator Fund competition

The Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust has won an initial prize of $50,000 through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition – Stage One “Catalyze” program and is now eligible to compete for an additional $50,000 to $150,000 later this summer.

The list of 40 winners that have developed strategies to speed up the launch, growth and scaling of STEM/R&D-focused small businesses through inclusive approaches, represents 30 states and includes Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

This year’s competition focused on four theme areas, with 25% of stage one winners focused on national security and global competitiveness, 27.5% on domestic manufacturing and production, 10% on climate and renewable energy, and 37.5% on underserved communities. Geographically, 17.5% of winners aim to serve at the local or sub-state region, 42.5% statewide, 20% regionally (across multiple states), and 20% nationwide, the federal agency explained.

The Science Trust competed in the underserved communities category and was the only entity representing Puerto Rico in the funding round.

“SBA’s Catalyze winners join SBA’s extensive network of support organizations that build thriving startup ecosystems to ensure the next generation of science and technology-based innovations develop into thriving businesses,” said Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzmán. 

“At a time when the Biden-Harris Administration is investing in American R&D, manufacturing and future growth industries, our Catalyst partners will help ensure entrepreneurs from all backgrounds can leverage opportunities. We know these investments will advance American competitiveness and help us build an economy that works for everyone,” she said.

By supporting connections across diverse networks, the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition aims to foster a thriving national ecosystem that advances equitable investment in innovative high growth small businesses.

Since its launch in 2014, the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition has awarded 387 prizes totaling more than $19 million to 284 unique winners across 52 states and U.S. territories.

This year’s competition introduced a multistage approach with stage one focused on catalyzing an ecosystem around a particular theme.

The SBA stated that this year’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition “aims to bring together organizations, entities, groups and individuals beyond geographic boundaries to support innovators and innovation needed to confront the challenges of today from inequity and climate change, to supporting national defense and community-driven economic prosperity. The real opportunity is now to find a place in the innovation ecosystem.”

Organizations that were not selected in stage one, as well as diverse local, regional and national entities from any sector or location, are eligible to connect with stage one winners to develop Growth Accelerator Partnerships in a bid for stage two prizes. 

Stage Two cash prizes of $50,000 to $150,000 will support the “Growth Accelerator Partnerships” to further develop strong innovation ecosystems to accelerate the launch, growth and scale of diverse “STEM/R&D-focused” small businesses, the federal entity stated.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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