It’s so fitting that during National Entrepreneurship Month we celebrate the 50 accelerators that were awarded $50K each in the first ever Small Business Association Growth Accelerator Fund! Last week, all the winners were honored at the White House where we heard from top ranking government officials including the Administrator of the SBA, Maria Contreras-Sweet, and the newest Chief Technology Officer for the United States, and former Vice President at Google[x], Megan Smith.
This group of accelerators and incubators are not only diverse geographically (representing 31 states and Puerto Rico), but they vary in experience level from established programs to brand new programs, and range in industries from biotech to tourism.
Many of the accelerators are focused on aiding under served groups and are based in rural areas around America that are in need of economic stimulation. Helping these programs in turn helps the communities they reside. As Maria Contreras-Sweet said at the events in D.C. last week, “accelerators are the gold standard for growing businesses and creating jobs.”
The financial and education support and partnership from the SBA has helped add credibility to these programs, especially the programs just launching. Their progress will be tracked and upon receiving their grant, the winners will share their growth metrics with the SBA every three months for the next year. These metrics include stats on job creation, qualitative impact on the community, corporate partnerships obtained, the number of startups launched, and the amount of funds raised or dollars invested.
A community amongst these 50 accelerators has already begun, a huge perk to being part of this exclusive group selected by the SBA. The newer programs have a great resource in the established programs; they are learning how to attract applicants and best ways to structure their curriculum. Gaining knowledge from accelerators all around the country has shown to be invaluable and the strong connections made last week in D.C. will only grow more important as these accelerators grow and launch their new cohorts.
“The world of incubation and acceleration continues to evolve as organizations throughout the U.S. utilize these tools and approaches to spur entrepreneurship to create and foster innovation and wealth. It’s an exciting time with a lot of dedicated and creative individuals innovating programmatically as well,” said SBA winner Thea Chase from the Telluride Venture Accelerator .
It’s amazing to see how strongly the US government is supporting the accelerator model to promote economic development and to see GAN members stand out as leaders amongst this group.