SBA Announces Over $5 Million in Awards to Support STEM, R&D-Focused Small Businesses

Growth Accelerator Fund Awards $150,000 to 35 Partnerships Across National Priority Areas

WASHINGTON– Today,  Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s Cabinet for America’s 33 million small businesses, announced the SBA’s 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Stage Two winners. Thirty-five award-winning accelerator partnerships will receive $150,000 each to help advance equitable investment in innovative startups and high-growth small businesses across several priorities, including National Security & Global Competitiveness, Domestic Manufacturing and Production, Climate and Renewable Energy, and Underserved Communities. 

“Through the SBA’s 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition awards, the Biden-Harris Administration is delivering on its commitment to entrepreneurship, competition, and equity,” said Administrator Guzman.  “This network of accelerators will help ensure high-growth small businesses and innovative startups have access to resources and networks to scale in critical technologies across America.” 

In 2023, the SBA introduced a new two-stage format for the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. In May, Stage One Catalyze winners received $50,000 to build capacity and connections across the U.S. innovation ecosystem, focused on themes of National Security & Global Competitiveness, Domestic Manufacturing and Production, Climate and Renewable Energy, and Underserved Communities.  

The SBA awarded 40 Stage One prizes to organizations from 30 states and territories, including D.C. and Puerto Rico, and invited them to apply for Stage Two of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.  During Stage Two, the SBA will provide $150,000 to ecosystem partnerships led by Stage One winners to promote equitable access to resources and accelerate support to high-growth STEM and R&D-focused small businesses.  

“These new Growth Accelerator partnerships will strengthen collaboration among local and national entrepreneurial organizations committed to enhancing the chance of success for science and technology driven companies to turn their innovations into impact,” said SBA Associate Administrator for Investment and Innovation, Bailey DeVries. “We’re thrilled to bring in new partners who have not previously been engaged in the innovation ecosystem.”   

Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Stage Two Winners 

Learn more about each Growth Accelerator Fund Competition partnership in the public directory.

National Security & Global Competitiveness  
  • DE: Delaware Technology Park  
  • KY: XLerateHealth (dba XLerator Network)  
  • MS: Mississippi State University  
  • NH: Hannah Grimes Center  
  • NM: University of New Mexico (dba New Mexico Bioscience Authority)   
  • ND: University of North Dakota UND Center for Innovation Foundation  
  • TX: BioMedSA  
  • VA: Virginia Small Business Development Center at George Mason University  
  • WA: Greater Seattle Partners  
Domestic Manufacturing and Production  
  • CA: AgTech Innovation Alliance (AgStart)  
  • HI: Hawaii Island Business Plan Competition  
  • IL: mHUB  
  • IN: Indiana Economic Development Corporation  
  • KS: Wichita State University  
  • MA: Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI)  
  • MI: Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University  
  • OH: Youngstown Edison Incubator Corp. (dba Youngstown Business Incubator or YBI)  
  • SD: South Dakota Biotechnology Council (dba BioRise)  
  • WI: StartingBlock Madison, Inc  
Climate and Renewable Energy  
  • CA: The Orange County Center for Innovation & Social Enterprise SPC (dba RevHubOC)  
  • FL: Seaworthy Foundation, Inc. (dba Seaworthy Collective)  
  • VA: Hanover County Clean Technology Innovation Center (dba Dominion Energy Innovation Center)  
  • Underserved Communities  
  • AR: University of Arkansas, Fayetteville  
  • FL: The University of Central Florida Board of Trustees (dba Florida High Tech Corridor)  
  • GA: Black Innovation Alliance (BIA)   
  • ID: Actuate Boise, Inc. (dba Trailhead)  
  • IA: The New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative, Inc (dba NewBoCo)  
  • ME: Central Maine Growth Council Dirigo Labs Business Accelerator  
  • MD: UpSurge Baltimore Community Inc  
  • MI: BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting LLC  
  • NC: NC Hispanic American Chamber of Commerce  
  • PR:  Puerto Rico Science, Technology and Research Trust  
  • TN: FoundersForge   
  • TX: VILCAP Inc (dba Village Capital)  

2023 Competition Goals:  
  • Increase the pipeline and success of STEM/R&D-focused entrepreneurs and small businesses;  
  • Increase the success of STEM/R&D-focused entrepreneurs in accessing capital and resources to advance their businesses;  
  • Incentivize innovation ecosystem stakeholders to provide equitable access to resources for underserved communities and industries;  
  • Catalyze partnerships and relationships between stakeholder groups to strengthen the national innovation ecosystem; and  
  • Connect both new and established participants in the national innovation ecosystem.  


About the 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition 

In 2023, a total of $7.25M in prizes will be awarded to support organizations in fostering innovation ecosystems nationwide and advance research and development (R&D) from ideas to impact. Since its launch in 2014, the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition has awarded 387 prizes totaling more than $19 million to 284 unique winners across 50 states and U.S. territories. For more information please visit:    

About the U.S. Small Business Administration 

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. Learn more at
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