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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 Clean Energy Business Network 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

      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.

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

  • 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.

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