By Debbie Gregory.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be launching its Growth Accelerator Fund Competition that will award monetary prizes, totaling $4 million, to entrepreneurial ecosystems and accelerators.
SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet announced the competition last week at Manufacture New York. For the second year, the SBA will be conducting its Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, awarding separate prizes of $50,000 to winning entrepreneurial accelerators. In 2014, the SBA awarded 50 winners a total of $2.5 million in monetary prizes. For the 2015 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, the SBA will award 80 winners with $50,000 each for a total of $4 million.
“We’re launching a second Accelerator Growth Fund competition to spur even greater opportunities for America’s small businesses,” said SBA Administrator Contreras-Sweet. “Last year’s event was so successful, we’re looking forward to discovering and empowering the next trailblazers. 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.”
Accelerators provide mentorship and guidance to startup small businesses, and are a vital resource for entrepreneurs. The SBA uses the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition to support the development of accelerators and the startups that they support, especially in industries and areas of the country where there is limited access to startup capital.
For the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, several panels of judges, both from the public and the private sectors, will select the winners. While “Accelerator” is in the name of the competition, it is also open to incubators, shared-tinker spaces, co-working startup communities and other models that promote multiple startup businesses.
The panel of judges will give special consideration for accelerators in under-resourced geographic locations. They will also look to support accelerators headed by or that support women or other underrepresented groups. The SBA has also ordered that manufacturing accelerator models be given special consideration, because manufacturing is critical to strengthening the U.S. economy.
The application period for the SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition will run from April 10 through June 1, 2015. To learn more about the SBA, accelerators and the competition, visit www.sba.gov or go to the 2015 SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Competition application.
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VAMBOA: SBA Announces Contest for Business Accelerators: By Debbie Gregory