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2021 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and SBIR Catalyst Competition Results

 

SBA announces $5.4 Million in Prizes to Support Inclusive Entrepreneurship in the Innovation Ecosystem

The 2021 competition features 84 winners for the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and eight winners for the SBIR Catalyst competition, a new component aimed at spurring investment in underrepresented communities within the innovation economy at scale, receiving a combined total of $5.4 million in awards.innovation-focused entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) with programs to speed the launch, growth, and scale of deep-tech small businesses across the country. 

The winners come from 48 states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia and have been awarded based on their proposals for innovative ideas that inclusively support entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations.  
 
Two prize tracks were run simultaneously:

  • Track 1 - Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC)—The winners of the GAFC are accelerators and incubators who proposed targeted assistance to STEM/R&D entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, rural, and veteran entrepreneurs. The GAFC prize winners support a broad range of industries including clean energy, supply chain resilience, and infrastructure. Many accelerators and incubators also work to expand the participation of innovation-focused small businesses located in HUBZones. GAFC winners will each receive a $50,000 prize. Up to 84 prizes are anticipated for this track.
  • Track 2 - SBIR Catalyst—The winners of the SBIR Catalyst competition facilitated eight collaborative partnership proposals aimed at building connections across entrepreneur support organizations that foster innovation driven entrepreneurs from underserved communities. The winners are recognized connectors across programs that fund innovation clusters, hubs, and other technology-based economic development initiatives. SBIR Catalyst winners will each receive a $150,000 prize.  Up to 7 prizes are anticipated for this track.
  • List of Prize Winners

    Track

    State / Territory

    Awardees

    Proposal Video 

    SBIR Catalyst

    FL

    Florida High Tech Corridor Council and partners

    Video

    SBIR Catalyst

    IL

    Southern Illinois Research Park, Inc. and partners

    Video

    SBIR Catalyst

    KY

    XLerator Network and partners

    Video

    SBIR Catalyst

    MI

    BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting and partners

    Video

    SBIR Catalyst

    NE

    University of Nebraska Medical Center UNeTech Institute and partners

    Video

    SBIR Catalyst

    NM

    New Mexico State University Arrowhead Center and partners

    Video

    SBIR Catalyst

    NY

    Cornell University and partners

    Video

    SBIR Catalyst

    OK

    OK Catalyst, The University of Oklahoma and partners

    Video

    GAFC

    AL

    The Catalyst Center for Business & Entrepreneurship

    Video

    GAFC

    AL

    Innovation Portal, Inc.

    Video

    GAFC

    AR

    Conductor Health Sciences Bootcamp

    Video

    GAFC

    AR

    Science Venture Studio: EMPOWER

    Video

    GAFC

    AZ

    Startup Tucson

    Video

    GAFC

    AZ

    University of Arizona Center for Innovation

    Video

    GAFC

    AZ

    SEED SPOT

    Video

    GAFC

    CA

    UCI Beall Applied Innovation

    Video

    GAFC

    CA

    Water, Energy and Technology (WET) Center

    Video

    GAFC

    CA

    Long Beach Accelerator

    Video

    GAFC

    CA

    Startup Redding

    Video

    GAFC

    CA

    Oak Crest Institute of Science

    Video

    GAFC

    CO

    Catalyst Accelerator

    Video

    GAFC

    CO

    CU Innovations

    Video

    GAFC

    CT

    HAYVN LAUNCH

    Video

    GAFC

    DC

    Walker's Legacy Foundation

    Video

    GAFC

    DC

    The WEPAN Accelerator

    Video

    GAFC

    DE

    Delaware Technology Park - DTP@STAR

    Video

    GAFC

    DE

    Horn Entrepreneurship Blue Hen Proof Of Concept Program

    Video

    GAFC

    FL

    Domi Education Inc

    Video

    GAFC

    FL

    Tampa Bay Wave

    Video

    GAFC

    GA

    Southeast Innovation Institute

    Video

    GAFC

    GA

    Invest Atlanta

    Video

    GAFC

    HI

    XLR8HI

    Video

    GAFC

    IA

    Rural Business Innovators Iowa SBDC

    Video

    GAFC

    IA

    The New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo)

    Video

    GAFC

    ID

    Idaho State University College of Business - Bengal Solutions

    Video

    GAFC

    IL

    Clean Energy Trust

    Video

    GAFC

    IN

    Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, Inc.

    Video

    GAFC

    KS

    KU Innovation Park Bioscience & Technology Business Center

    Video

    GAFC

    KY

    Accelerated Innovative Manufacturing - University of Louisville

    Video

    GAFC

    KY

    Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC)

    Video

    GAFC

    KY

    Inventors Network KY

    Video

    GAFC

    LA

    Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation

    Video

    GAFC

    LA

    Nexus Louisiana Technology Park

    Video

    GAFC

    MA

    VentureWell

    Video

    GAFC

    MA

    The Capital Network

    Video

    GAFC

    MA

    BlueSwell Incubator - SeaAhead

    Video

    GAFC

    MD

    Bethesda Green Innovation Lab

    Video

    GAFC

    MD

    Clean Energy Business Network

    Video

    GAFC

    MI

    TechTown Detroit

    Video

    GAFC

    MI

    Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University

    Video

    GAFC

    MN

    Defense Alliance

    Video

    GAFC

    MO

    Lindenwood University (ITEN)

    Video

    GAFC

    MO

    BioSTL

    Video

    GAFC

    MS

    Innovate Mississippi

    Video

    GAFC

    MT

    Biomimicry Launchpad

    Video

    GAFC

    MT

    Early Stage MT

    Video

    GAFC

    NC

    RIoT Accelerator Program

    Video

    GAFC

    NC

    First Flight Venture Center

    Video

    GAFC

    NC

    KickStart Venture Services

    Video

    GAFC

    ND

    University of North Dakota Center for Innovation

    Video

    GAFC

    NJ

    New Jersey Innovation Institute

    Video

    GAFC

    NJ

    Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship

    Video

    GAFC

    NM

    The New Mexico Start-Up Factory

    Video

    GAFC

    NV

    University of Nevada InNEVator

    Video

    GAFC

    NY

    Biomedical Acceleration and Commercialization Center

    Video

    GAFC

    NY

    Koffman Southern Tier Incubator

    Video

    GAFC

    NY

    College of Staten Island Tech Incubator

    Video

    GAFC

    OH

    The Ohio State University Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship

    Video

    GAFC

    OH

    University of Akron Research Foundation

    Video

    GAFC

    OK

    Southeastern Oklahoma State University SBDC

    Video

    GAFC

    OR

    Opportunity Knocks

    Video

    GAFC

    PA

    University City Science Center Launch Lane Accelerator

    Video

    GAFC

    PA

    Innovation Works

    Video

    GAFC

    PA

    Temple Small Business Development Center

    Video

    GAFC

    PR

    Parallel18

    Video

    GAFC

    SC

    Don Ryan Center for Innovation

    Video

    GAFC

    SC

    USC Columbia Technology Incubator

    Video

    GAFC

    SD

    University of South Dakota

    Video

    GAFC

    SD

    Elevate Rapid City

    Video

    GAFC

    TN

    CO.LAB

    Video

    GAFC

    TN

    FoundersForge

    Video

    GAFC

    TX

    Capital Factory

    Video

    GAFC

    TX

    Health Wildcatters

    Video

    GAFC

    USVI

    Accelerate VI

    Video

    GAFC

    UT

    RevRoad

    Video

    GAFC

    VA

    The Dominion Energy Innovation Center

    Video

    GAFC

    VA

    FedTech

    Video

    GAFC

    WA

    Life Science Washington Institute

    Video

    GAFC

    WA

    Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC)

    Video

    GAFC

    WI

    WERCBench Labs Accelerator

    Video

    GAFC

    WI

    gener8tor Management LLC

    Video

    GAFC

    WV

    New River Gorge Regional Development Authority - WV Hive Network

    Video


     

2021 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and SBIR Catalyst Competition Information

The 2021 submission period was open from May 26, 2021 until July 2, 2021.

Proposals were welcomed from the nation’s innovation-focused entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) that have the ability to speed the launch, growth, and scale of high-tech small businesses. By addressing the capital gap many ESOs face, SBA’s prizes assist critical activities around the country – new collaborations, targeted programs, and support services for early-stage startups to increase the likelihood of STEM/R&D entrepreneurs to not only take off, but de-risk their work for follow-on investors.

  • Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC)—Prizes of $50,000 for efforts to provide focused assistance to STEM/R&D entrepreneurs, including support for company formation as well as awareness and education of SBIR/STTR programs. Contestants must focus their proposed efforts on one of the following groups: women entrepreneurs, minority entrepreneurs, or other target entrepreneurs identified by applicants (ie. rural, veterans, individuals with disabilities, etc.). 84 prizes are anticipated for this track.

  • SBIR Catalyst—Prizes of $150,000 to scale collaborative partnerships, strengthen ties between stakeholders (including public, private, non-profit, and academic partners) in support of SBIR/STTR applicants and awardees.  SBIR Catalyst winners will help fulfill the SBA’s mission of addressing current gaps in access to the innovation economy for communities of color, women entrepreneurs, and rural communities. 8 prizes are anticipated for this track.

  • Resources:

    History

    The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) was first launched by SBA in 2014 to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship across the country. GAFC prize awards have funded a wide range of accelerators and incubators in an effort to provide increased support to entrepreneurs, particularly in the STEM/R&D innovation ecosystem. Each competition has varied in total prize dollars as well as targeted groups and/or geographies.

    GAFC Map
    Total prize awards since 2014 303
    Total prize funds since 2014 $15,150,000
    Number of competitions 2014-2020 5
    Number of states/territories represented 51
    Number of unique winners 222

    2019 Competition

    2019 GAFC Competition Details

    The 2019 Competition featured sixty (60) $50,000 prize awards for accelerators working with high-tech entrepreneurs, mainly potential applicants to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Tech Transfer (STTR) programs. Winners proposed at least 60 percent of their competition-related work to entrepreneurs in one of the following groups: women; socially and/or economically disadvantaged individuals; entrepreneurs in states with lower numbers of SBIR/STTR awards; or entrepreneurs living in or whose business was located/operating in an Opportunity Zone. See competition details for more information on the guidelines, and the press release below for the list of winners.

    Past GAFC Announcements

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