SBA Launching $2.5 Million Competition for Accelerators

The U.S. Small Business Administration is launching a $2.5m competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each. Applicants will be judged by an expert panel that will consider each applicant’s stated mission, founding team members and business goals among other core components. The deadline for the application is August 2, 2014.

The panel will give particular attention to, and the SBA encourages, applicants that fill geographic gaps in the accelerator and entrepreneurial ecosystem space. Through this competition, the SBA is looking to support the development of accelerators, and thus startups, in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of access to capital.

In addition to accelerators which fill the gaps described above, the SBA is also seeking accelerators which are run by and support women or other underrepresented groups. Lastly, special consideration will be given to any accelerator models which support manufacturing.

This contest was designed to provide winners with supplemental and critical capital to the operating budgets of entrepreneurial ecosystems across the United States. With access to capital via this highly competitive process, applicants will have greater opportunity to scale up (if already existing) or to launch something completely new. The basic tenet is simple: the startup world and a portfolio’s survival is driven by a game of numbers. More quality startups supported by more well-funded entrepreneurial ecosystems leads to successful startups growing into competitive, exciting and high-value job creators.

Over the coming months, SBA will be working with the Global Accelerator Network to host a number of Demo Days across the country to showcase accelerators applying for the funds. Demo Days provide opportunities for networking and the sharing of best practices among accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models. The first Demo Day of 2014 was held in Austin, TX at the Capital Factory and concurrent with the South by Southwest (SXSW) Festival. 13 accelerators across multiple industries and geographies gave five minute pitches to a room full of their peers. SBA is working to develop more of these events in different cities around the country in 2014.

Click Here to Apply

Questions? Contact: accelerators@sba.gov