SBA Announces 2024 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Stage One Winners, Up to $3 Million in Prizes Awarded

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s Cabinet for America’s more than 33 million small businesses and startups, announced the 2024 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) Stage One winners. Each received $50,000 in prize awards for impactful and inclusive approaches to foster a thriving, collaborative national innovation support ecosystem to advance small business research and development (R&D).

“SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Stage One winners join the SBA’s incredible network of entrepreneurial support organizations contributing to America’s innovative startup ecosystem, ensuring the next generation of science and technology-based innovations scale into thriving businesses,” said Administrator Guzman. “In its tenth year of driving our nation’s innovation ecosystem forward, this competition provides a unique opportunity to recognize the critical importance of those who help entrepreneurs from all backgrounds access opportunities to scale and grow. These GAFC winners advance American competitiveness and help us build an innovation economy that works for everyone.”

GAFC Stage One winners are organizations with ecosystem-building activities, including recruitment of new partners and strengthening existing alliances among stakeholders (including public, private, nonprofit, and academic partners), that aligned their submission with one of the following GAFC Theme Areas:

National and Economic Security, including but not limited to:

  • National Security and Defense
  • Artificial Intelligence 
  • Microelectronics
  • Advanced Computing and Software 
  • Quantum Computing
  • Human-Machine Interfaces
  • Other Critical and Emerging Technologies

Domestic Manufacturing and Production, including but not limited to:

  • Advanced Manufacturing R&D
  • Supply Chain Resiliency
  • Critical and Resilient Infrastructure
  • AgTech and Agricultural Innovation
  • Other Supply Chain, Infrastructure, and Manufacturing Technologies

Sustainability and Biotechnology, including but not limited to:

  • Energy and Sustainability
  • Biotechnology
  • Climate and Environment
  • Public Health
  • Renewable Energy Generation and Storage
  • Electric Vehicles
  • Blue Economy
  • Other Climate, Energy, and Life Science Technologies

Stage Two of the competition will offer an additional $50,000 to $150,000 in cash prizes awarded to Growth Accelerator Partnerships to assist entrepreneurs that transition R&D into the marketplace. Stage Two submissions will open in June and be prepared jointly by Stage One winners and ecosystem partners; SBA intends to announce 2024 winners for Stage Two by September.

“This year’s competition amplifies the success of last year’s revamped competition, which catalyzed bonds within the national innovation ecosystem and strengthened ties across local and regional support networks. The prize competition continues to open doors and deepen access to valuable resources and capital for entrepreneurs from undercapitalized and underserved markets by fostering partnerships around key themes and innovation sectors. It is with great enthusiasm that SBA recognizes the 2024 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition’s Stage One winners,” said Bailey DeVries, Associate Administrator for SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation.

Since its launch in 2014 through 2023, the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition has awarded 427 prizes totaling over $26 million to 314 unique winners across the U.S. and U.S. territories.  The 2024 Stage One winners represent 41 U.S. states and territories, including D.C. and Puerto Rico, and 65% are new awardees.

Stage One Winners
National and Economic Security

  • Ala: The Catalyst Center for Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Calif.: Starburst Accelerator
  • Colo. Catalyst Accelerator
  • Idaho.: Trailhead
  • Ind.: Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and Indiana Center for Emerging Technologies
  • La.: Maven Scouts
  • Md: Rural Autonomous Innovation Network (RAIN), Association of University Research Parks (AURP)
  • Mich.: BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting*
  • Miss.: Innovate Mississippi
  • Mo.: Codefi Foundation on Rural Innovation
  • Mont.: Early-Stage Montana
  • Neb.: Invest Nebraska
  • N.M.: University of New Mexico and NewSpace Nexus
  • Okla.: Metro Technology Centers
  • Pa.: The Crenshaw Institute of Applied Science and Technology
  • Texas: Capital Factory
  • Va.: Tambourine Innovation Ventures

Domestic Manufacturing and Production

  • Ariz.: Startup Tucson
  • Ark.: Endeavor NWA Entrepreneurs
  • Washington, D.C.: National Disability Institute
  • Fla.: Florida Institute of Technology and International Business Innovation Association
  • Hawaii: XLR8HI
  • Md.: Salisbury University – Rommel Center for Entrepreneurship
  • Mich.: Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council and BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting*
  • N.Y.: FuzeHub and Southern Tier High Technology Incubator, Inc.
  • N.C: RIoT and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
  • N.D.: Grand Farm Research and Education Initiative, Inc.
  • S.C.: TechConnect
  • Utah: Utah Advanced Materials Manufacturing Institute
  • Wash.: 360 Social Impact Studios

Sustainability and Biotechnology

  • Alaska: Spruce Root, Inc.
  • Calif.: Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator
  • Conn.: The Community Foundation-Mission Investments Company
  • Washington, D.C.: Women in Engineering ProActive Network
  • Ill.: University of Illinois Research Park, LLC
  • Maine: Central Maine Growth Council and Gulf of Maine Research Institute
  • Mass.: SeaAhead, Inc.
  • Mich.: BBC Entrepreneurial Training and Consulting*
  • Minn.: RuralWorks Partners, LLC
  • N.Y.: The Research Foundation for SUNY New Paltz’s School of Business
  • N.C.: Eva Garland Consulting, LLC
  • Ohio: Bounce Innovation Hub
  • Ore.: VertueLab and Oregon Health and Science University
  • Pa.: University City Science Center
  • Tenn.: BioTN Foundation, Inc. and Native American Investment and Capital Alliance
  • Texas: Health Wildcatters and Impact Hub Houston
  • Utah: Altitude Lab
  • Vt.: LaunchVT
  • Va.: FedTech
  • W. Va.: U.S. Research Impact Alliance Corp.
  • Wyo.: University of Wyoming

*SBIR in all three theme areas.

For more information about the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and how to connect with a Stage Two Growth Accelerator Partnership, please visit SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (


About the U.S. Small Business Administration  
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. 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, 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. To learn more, visit  

About SBA Office of Investment and Innovation
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Investment and Innovation (OII) leads programs that provide the high-growth small business community with access to two things: financial capital and R&D funds to develop commercially viable innovations. Our work is underpinned by public-private partnerships that help small businesses on their trajectory from idea to IPO. Learn more at

Christine Saah Nazer
U.S. Small Business Administration
[email protected]
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