The U.S. Small Business Administration has received more than 800 applications from accelerators and incubators hoping to win one of 50 cash prizes of $50,000 each in the SBA’s first Growth Accelerator Fund competition. Aug. 2 was the deadline to submit an application.
Accelerators and entrepreneurial ecosystem models representing industries that include technology, health services, agriculture, fashion and food production from 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico make up the applicant pool. The competition was launched May 12, 2014.
For the purposes of this competition, growth accelerators included incubators, accelerators, co-working startup communities, shared tinker-spaces and other business models striving to achieve similar goals.
The SBA is seeking organizations that will strengthen entrepreneurial ecosystems nationwide, while filling the gaps in much needed capital for these small businesses. Applicants in underserved areas, women-owned startups, companies in the manufacturing sector and businesses headed by members of underrepresented groups will receive special consideration.
Once the finalists are selected — within the next few weeks — they’ll be asked to submit a video expressing why their firm deserves the $50,000 award. A panel of experts from both the public and private sectors will evaluate the application packages, and the 50 winners will be announced in mid-September.