The U.S. Small Business Administration announced its 6th Annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) with the addition of a new component aimed at spurring investment in underrepresented communities within the innovation economy at scale. The 2021 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Catalyst programs will recognize the nation’s most innovative organizations with inclusive approaches towards supporting entrepreneurs in research and development (R&D). New to this year’s competition, two tracks will run totaling over $5 million in cash prizes.
"Utah is making a name for itself as one of the nations newest tech hubs. This isn't surprising as past studies have shown Salt Lake City workers have more technology degrees per capita than other metropolitan areas, to include Denver, Boston, and San Francisco," Utah SBA District Director, Marla Trollan stated. "Becoming a well known tech hub is a result of pairing these extensive technology capabilities with the supportive business environment of Utah. We are expecting a good number of Utah organizations will apply for both the Growth Accelerator and the SBIR Catalyst programs. We especially encourage those organizations that have a major focus in supporting our underserved entrepreneurs, women, and rural communities in Utah to apply."
“The Growth Accelerator and SBIR Catalyst programs are important parts of our efforts to support high-tech, deep-tech startups, by developing a network that targets the unique needs of pre-revenue, R&D-focused businesses,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We are committed to equity and will award prizes to organizations that are finding ways to inclusively support underserved entrepreneurs -- including women, people of color, and individuals living in underrepresented geographic regions -- so that they can participate, contribute, and benefit from the U.S. innovation ecosystem.”
Track 1-The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC): Prizes of $50,000 will be awarded to accelerators, incubators, and related entrepreneur programs proposing impactful assistance to STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math)/R&D entrepreneurs. This year, the competition will award an estimated 84 prizes to successful applicants who focus their proposed efforts on assisting the following groups: women entrepreneurs, minority entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs building technologies to address key policy issues such as clean energy and supply chain resilience, or an underserved target group identified by the applicant (i.e., rural, veterans, individuals with disabilities, etc.).
Track 2- SBIR Catalyst: For the first time, seven additional prizes of $150,000 will be awarded through SBIR Catalyst to scale collaborative partnerships and build regional collaborations in support of SBIR/STTR (Small Business Technology Transfer) applicants and awardees, fulfilling SBA’s mission of addressing gaps in access to the innovation economy for communities of color, women entrepreneurs, and rural communities.
For both tracks, applicants must submit a brief 12-slide presentation addressing the relevant elements of their track and a video narrative of no more than 90 seconds. Panels of expert judges from the private and public sector with experience in early stage investment, entrepreneurship, academia, startups and economic development will review proposals.
Competition rules, requirements and additional information can be found at www.sbir.gov/accelerators.
Submission period: May 26, 2021 4:00 PM EDT to July 2, 2021 4:00 PM EDT
Winners to Be Announced: August 2021