SBA Announces $250,000 to Upstate New York Awardees to Support Inclusive Entrepreneurship in the Innovation Ecosystem
SYRACUSE – U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman recently announced three winners from Upstate New York for the agency’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Catalyst competition, a new component aimed at spurring investment in underrepresented communities within the innovation economy at scale, receiving a combined award total of $250,000 in the region.
Albany Medical Center’s Biomedical Acceleration and Commercialization Center (BACC) and Binghamton University’s Koffman Southern Tier Incubator were each awarded $50,000 for the GAFC prize, and Cornell University and partners were awarded $150,000 for the SBIR Catalyst prize. The three Upstate New York organizations are among 84 national GAFC winners and eight national winners of the SBIR Catalyst competition.
The full list of winners come from 48 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia, and they have been awarded a combined total of $5.4 million based on their proposals for innovative ideas that inclusively support entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations.
“I am proud to announce the winners of the 2021 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and SBIR Catalyst prize competition. This year’s cohort of winners emphasizes our commitment to equity. Our awardees have innovative plans to support underserved entrepreneurs, including women, people of color, and individuals from underrepresented geographic areas,” said SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “The Growth Accelerator prize funds will ensure a wide range of startups and innovators working on cutting edge STEM/R&D ideas have access to technical support and capital. The success of the first-ever SBIR Catalyst track will ensure newly piloted regional collaboratives represent the diverse potential of the U.S. innovation ecosystem. And President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda would enable us to ramp up this program even more, helping to reach thousands of innovators from underrepresented communities and geographic areas.”
“The three competition winners from Upstate New York are an excellent demonstration of the innovative spirit and economic opportunity in the region. Their members have pioneered businesses in fields such as clean energy, medical devices, software, and bioscience technologies,” said SBA Upstate New York District Director Bernard J. Paprocki, who also serves as the Acting Atlantic Regional Administrator for the agency. “These organizations provide valuable resources allowing entrepreneurs to start up and thrive, including business advice and mentorship, office and co-working space and supportive startup communities. The GAFC and SBIR prizes will help expand these supports to underrepresented groups and accelerate technology-based economic development across Upstate New York.”
“I came to the BACC with a desire to prove to women that they belong in biotech,” said Stephanie Dosiek, Director of the Biomedical Acceleration and Commercialization Center at Albany Medical College. “Our incubator was created to support biotech commercialization in our region, and one of our primary goals is to foster an inclusive environment for women in biomedical commercialization; the GAFC prize will help us continue that work.”
“Binghamton’s Koffman Southern Tier Incubator offers world-class resources to grow startups, including our Clean Energy Incubator and three business development centers,” said Per Stromhaug, Associate Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development at Binghamton University. “The GAFC prize will help us build on existing resources to reach and support more women entrepreneurs in STEM and R&D and to promote inclusivity in the Upstate New York startup community and throughout the SUNY system.”
“The SBIR Catalyst prize will help us recruit a diverse group of entrepreneurs from around New York State and support them in applying for SBIR grants, ensuring better representation of women, minorities, rural and veteran entrepreneurs and continued economic contributions to the Upstate New York innovation ecosystem,” said Tom Schryver, Executive Director of the Center for Regional Economic Advancement at Cornell University.
This important initiative would be expanded significantly by the $25 billion Biden-Harris Administration Build Back Better for small business agenda, which would invest an additional $400 million in the GAFC to support start-up accelerators and incubators working with underrepresented entrepreneurs. In providing a template for the SBA to further scale its innovation programming, these awards also highlight the outsized impact local winners can have at home with increased resources and the expanded role of small businesses as hubs for job creation and economic growth in our country.
In a first for the agency, this year the SBA held two prize tracks simultaneously: the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Catalyst Competitions.
- Track 1 – The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC):The winners of the GAFC are accelerators and incubators who proposed targeted assistance to STEM/R&D entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, including women, people of color, rural, and veteran entrepreneurs. The GAFC prize winners 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. GAFC winners will each receive a $50,000 prize.
- Track 2- SBIR Catalyst: The winners of the SBIR Catalyst competition facilitated eight collaborative partnerships aimed at building connections across entrepreneur support organizations that foster innovation-driven entrepreneurs from underserved communities. The winners are recognized connectors across programs that fund innovation clusters, hubs, and other technology-based economic development initiatives. SBIR Catalyst winners will each receive a $150,000 prize.
Competitors for both tracks 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.
For a full list of winners, please visit www.sbir.gov/accelerators.
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 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. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.