Two New Jersey-based groups were among the winners of the U.S. Small Business Administration Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Catalyst competition, SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced Sept. 28.
The New Jersey Innovation Institute in Newark and Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship in Union won as part of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) program track, which included entries from accelerators and incubators proposing targeted assistance to STEM and R&D entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, rural areas and veteran entrepreneurs.
In total, the annual competition had $5.4 million in awards available.
Guzman noted that “President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda would enable SBA to ramp up this program even more, helping to reach thousands of innovators from underrepresented communities and geographic areas.”
“I am proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and SBIR Catalyst prize competition,” she said. “This year’s cohort of winners emphasizes our commitment to equity.”
Winners of the award support a broad range of industries, including clean energy, supply chain resilience and infrastructure. Many accelerators and incubators also work to expand the participation of innovation-focused small businesses located in HUBZones, as well.
“It is quite exciting to have two winners of this highly selective competition here in New Jersey,” noted SBA New Jersey District Director Al Titone. “With the wide range of startups and innovators who are working on cutting edge STEM/R&D ideas here in the Garden State, these awards will help provide additional access for these small businesses to technical support and capital.”
Nationally, the competition’s 84 winners come from 48 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia; they were awarded based on proposals for innovative ideas that inclusively support entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations.
Competitors were required to submit a presentation deck and a 90-second video to describe their overall plan for an award, including their work with targeted entrepreneur groups, experience with STEM/R&D, and implementation plans for the prize funds. Applications were judged by panels of experts from the private and public sector with experience in early-stage investment, entrepreneurship, academic, startups and economic development.
A full list of winners can be accessed here.