The U.S. Small Business Administration is launching a $2.5 million competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each to fund operating budgets. To award the prizes, 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 application deadline 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. It is well known that the most successful accelerators to date were founded on the coasts. Through this competition, we are 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 (e.g., venture capital and other investors).
In addition to accelerators which fill the gaps described above, we are also seeking out 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.