Opening Doors Blog

SBA Launches 3rd Annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition to Award $3.95 Million for Small Business Startups

Thursday, May 12, 2016
For the third year, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is launching a Growth Accelerator Fund competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each, totaling $3.95 million.  The application period is from May 2-June 3 and information about the application process can be found at: www.sba.gov/accelerators or www.challenge.gov

The announcement about the fund competition was made during National Small Business Week. 

“As we celebrate National Small Business Week this week, it is only fitting that we launch our third annual Growth Accelerator Fund competition to empower more of America’s small businesses,” said Mark Walsh, Associate Administrator for the Office of Investment and Innovation.  “Accelerators provide valuable resources to potential startups: a physical infrastructure to work in their infancy, mentoring, business-plan assistance, networking, opportunities to obtain venture capital, and introductions to potential customers, partners and suppliers—all critical elements to ensuring that small businesses flourish and succeed.  Last year’s competition was so successful, we’ve added more federal partners including our very own Office of Native American Affairs and Office of Veterans Business Development to help bring more Native-American-owned, veteran-owned, women-owned and minority-owned small businesses into the fold.”


New to this year’s competition, SBA is partnering with several other federal agencies -- National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Education  (DoED) and Department of Agriculture (USDA) -- to provide additional prizes to accelerators that assist entrepreneurs with submitting proposals for the Small Business Innovation (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.  SBA’s Office of Investment and Innovation (OII), with support from the Office of International Trade (OIT), is also partnering with the Inter-American Development Bank to provide prizes to U.S. accelerators that assist the African descendant start-up community in Latin America and the Caribbean.  Special consideration will be given to these accelerator models which support women-owned or minority-owned small businesses.  


Similar to last year’s competition, several panels containing expert judges from the private and public sector with collective experience in early stage investing, entrepreneurship, academia, start-ups and economic development will select the winners.  The competition includes accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, shared tinker-spaces or other models.  The panel will give particular attention to applicants that fill geographic gaps in the accelerator and entrepreneurial ecosystem space.


Through this competition, the SBA is looking to support the development of accelerators and their support of startups in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of access to capital (i.e., venture capital and other investors).


In addition, the SBA is also seeking accelerators headed by women and those who support them or other underrepresented groups, 44 percent of last year’s accelerator winners were run by women and 41 percent were classified as underrepresented groups. 


Special consideration will be given to manufacturing accelerator models and models which support the White House Power Initiative during this year’s competition, because they are critical to job growth and strengthening the nation’s economy.

For more information on last year’s competition, please read the Report to the Congress of the United States on Q1 metrics and results from our first batch of winners. 


Please click here for the Growth Accelerator Fund Fact Sheet and specifics on how to apply and the timeline for 2016’s competition.  For questions or comments, please contact accelerators@sba.gov.

National Small Business Week in Colorado

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


A new website has been launched in honor of Colorado Small Business Week!

This website has been launched in honor of this year's Small Business Week for the Colorado Small Business Development Center (SBDC), along with several small businesses, community organizations and financial institutions.The website is www.coloradosmallbizweek.com. It will be available for people in Colorado to find all events, workshops, webinars, and celebrations that will occur during that week in local communities. If you would like to add an event to the website, one that supports or provides training for small businesses, fill out the comment section on the website and include all the event information.

"Small Business Week highlights the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout Colorado," said Fiona Arnold, Executive Director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. "With over 560,000 small businesses in Colorado and half of our workforce employed by small businesses, this week will celebrate their critical contributions with workshops, events and festivities to celebrate Colorado's entrepreneurial spirit."

Since 1963, the president of the United States has declared a National Small Business Week to highlight the impact of small business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S. This year the US Small Business Administration's National Small Business Week is May 1-7, 2016. 

Celebrate the week with Boulder SBDC by joining us for some workshops we are hosting!

Tuesday, May 3
2:00pm-4:00pm

Wednesday, May 4
5:30pm-7:30pm

Wednesday, May 4
6:00pm-8:00pm

SBIR Roundtable: Challenges of Getting Phase II and Commercialization
Thursday, May 5
8:00am-10:00am

You can join the conversation with the hashtags #ColoradoCollaborates and #DreamSmallBiz.





Colorado Small Business Week Winners Announced

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Image courtesy of the U.S. Small Business Administration

Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced this year’s Small Business Person of the Year winners from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. All of the winners have been invited to attend ceremonies in Washington, D.C on May 1-2 where they will be awarded their individual awards along with recognition of the runners-up and the naming of the 2016 National Small Business Person of the Year.  Reed Howard Silberman, Founder and CEO of Denver-based Ink Monstr, is the 2015 Colorado Small Business Person of the Year winner.


In making the announcement, SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said: “It is my distinct pleasure and honor to announce the 54 winners from across the U.S. and her territories.  These small business owners represent the best of the best and showcase daily their entrepreneurial spirit and what it takes to be successful in today’s evolving and competitive business environment.”


The Colorado Winners include:


1.     Colorado Small Business Person of the Year winner is Reed Howard Silberman, Founder and CEO of Denver-based Ink Monstr.  Ink Monstr is a custom print shop specializing in interior design, wall and window wraps, branding, and web design.

 2.     Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Excellence and Innovation Center Award. Our colleagues at the Southern Colorado SBDC, based in Pueblo, are the winner of this award.  The center, and its director Caroline Trani, have played a vital role in helping entrepreneurs across Southern Colorado gain access to business training and counseling services.  The Southern Colorado SBDC was also named the Region VIII winner of this award.


3.     8(a) Graduate award of the Year Award. Richard Lewis, President and CEO, of Denver-based RTL Networks, Inc. RTL Networks, Inc. is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned (SDVOSB) company focused on maximizing customer technology systems and processes in order to meet immediate needs and long-term objectives. RTL Networks, Inc. was selected for this award because of his overall qualifications and expertise of their management, recognition of their special achievements and exceptional past performance record, their cost performance, innovative services and their economic engagement of disadvantaged communities.


 4.     Region VIII Administrator’s Small Business Advocacy Award.  Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and the Office of Economic Development, are the winners of this year’s award.  The mayor, and Office of Economic Development, have both played critical roles in promoting small business development with the establishment of the Commons on Champa, and their continued collaboration with the U.S. Small Business Administration on multiple programs and initiatives.

Congratulations to all of this year's winners!


This year, Denver was selected to host a national Small Business Week event on May 4.  SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet will be in Denver to participate in the day’s events. In the morning the SBA will host a Celebrating Women’s Business Forum at the Federal Reserve Bank Denver Branch office.  Following the women’s event, an awards celebration will be held at the History Colorado Museum where each of the Colorado Small Business Week winners will receive their awards; four new businesses will be inducted into the Colorado Small Business Wall of Fame; and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, and Office of Economic Development, will receive the Regional Administrator’s Small Business Advocacy Award. Various events will be held across Colorado celebrating small business week.


Each year since 1963, the president has issued a proclamation calling for the celebration of National Small Business Week.  National Small Business Week is set as the first week in May, and this year the dates are May 1-7 with national events planned in Washington, D.C., New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Phoenix and San Jose and Oakland, California.


In Boulder County, during National Small Business Week, we at the Boulder SBDC currently have a couple of workshops scheduled:

Wednesday,  May 4, 5:30 - 7:30 PM: Boot Camp de Planificación de Negocios Parte 1

We hope to see you that week!

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