Learn about the competition results, total amounts awarded, and watch the proposal videos from different awardees.

2021 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and SBIR Catalyst Competition Results

The 2021 competition features 84 winners for the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and eight winners for the SBIR Catalyst competition, a new component aimed at spurring investment in underrepresented communities within the innovation economy at scale, receiving a combined total of $5.4 million in awards. Innovation-focused entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs) with programs to speed the launch, growth, and scale of deep-tech small businesses across the country.

Award Data


Awards since 2014


Prize funds since 2014


Competitions from 2014-2022


States/Territories represented


Unique Winners

Two prize tracks were run simultaneously

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.

SBIR Catalyst

The winners of the SBIR Catalyst competition facilitated eight collaborative partnership proposals 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.

Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman announced 84 winners for the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and eight winners for 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 total of $5.4 million in awards.

List of Prize Winners

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Track State / Territory Awardees Proposal Video
SBIR Catalyst FL Florida High Tech Corridor Council and partners Video
SBIR Catalyst IL (KY, TN) Southern Illinois Research Park, Inc. and partners Video
SBIR Catalyst KY (MS, SC) XLerator Network and partners Video
SBIR Catalyst MI (CT, IN, MN, MO, NE, NH, RI, SD, VA, VT,WI) BBC Entrepreneurial Training & Consulting and partners Video
SBIR Catalyst NE (IA, KS, MO, SD) University of Nebraska Medical Center UNeTech Institute and partners Video
SBIR Catalyst NM (AK, ID, MT) New Mexico State University Arrowhead Center and partners Video
SBIR Catalyst NY (VA) Cornell University and partners Video
SBIR Catalyst OK (AR, KS, MO, NE) OK Catalyst, The University of Oklahoma and partners Video
GAFC AL The Catalyst Center for Business & Entrepreneurship Video
GAFC AL Innovation Portal, Inc. Video
GAFC AR Conductor Health Sciences Bootcamp Video
GAFC AR Science Venture Studio: EMPOWER Video
GAFC AZ Startup Tucson Video
GAFC AZ University of Arizona Center for Innovation Video
GAFC CA UCI Beall Applied Innovation Video
GAFC CA Water, Energy and Technology (WET) Center Video
GAFC CA Long Beach Accelerator Video
GAFC CA Startup Redding Video
GAFC CA Oak Crest Institute of Science Video
GAFC CO Catalyst Accelerator Video
GAFC CO CU Innovations Video
GAFC DC Walker's Legacy Foundation Video
GAFC DC The WEPAN Accelerator Video
GAFC DE Delaware Technology Park - DTP[@]STAR Video
GAFC DE Horn Entrepreneurship Blue Hen Proof Of Concept Program Video
GAFC FL Domi Education Inc Video
GAFC FL Tampa Bay Wave Video
GAFC GA Southeast Innovation Institute Video
GAFC GA Invest Atlanta Video
GAFC IA Rural Business Innovators Iowa SBDC Video
GAFC IA The New Bohemian Innovation Collaborative (NewBoCo) Video
GAFC ID Idaho State University College of Business - Bengal Solutions Video
GAFC IL Clean Energy Trust Video
GAFC IN Northeast Indiana Innovation Center, Inc. Video
GAFC KS KU Innovation Park Bioscience & Technology Business Center Video
GAFC KY Accelerated Innovative Manufacturing - University of Louisville Video
GAFC KY Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC) Video
GAFC KY Inventors Network KY Video
GAFC LA Propeller: A Force for Social Innovation Video
GAFC LA Nexus Louisiana Technology Park Video
GAFC MA VentureWell Video
GAFC MA The Capital Network Video
GAFC MA BlueSwell Incubator - SeaAhead Video
GAFC MD Bethesda Green Innovation Lab Video
GAFC MD Clean Energy Business Network Video
GAFC MI TechTown Detroit Video
GAFC MI Centrepolis Accelerator at Lawrence Technological University Video
GAFC MN Defense Alliance Video
GAFC MO Lindenwood University (ITEN) Video
GAFC MS Innovate Mississippi Video
GAFC MT Biomimicry Launchpad Video
GAFC MT Early Stage MT Video
GAFC NC RIoT Accelerator Program Video
GAFC NC First Flight Venture Center Video
GAFC NC KickStart Venture Services Video
GAFC ND University of North Dakota Center for Innovation Video
GAFC NJ New Jersey Innovation Institute Video
GAFC NJ Institute for Life Science Entrepreneurship Video
GAFC NM The New Mexico Start-Up Factory Video
GAFC NV University of Nevada InNEVator Video
GAFC NY Biomedical Acceleration and Commercialization Center Video
GAFC NY Koffman Southern Tier Incubator Video
GAFC NY College of Staten Island Tech Incubator Video
GAFC OH The Ohio State University Keenan Center for Entrepreneurship Video
GAFC OH University of Akron Research Foundation Video
GAFC OK Southeastern Oklahoma State University SBDC Video
GAFC OR Opportunity Knocks Video
GAFC PA University City Science Center Launch Lane Accelerator Video
GAFC PA Innovation Works Video
GAFC PA Temple Small Business Development Center Video
GAFC PR Parallel18 Video
GAFC SC Don Ryan Center for Innovation Video
GAFC SC USC Columbia Technology Incubator Video
GAFC SD University of South Dakota Video
GAFC SD Elevate Rapid City Video
GAFC TN FoundersForge Video
GAFC TX Capital Factory Video
GAFC TX Health Wildcatters Video
GAFC USVI Accelerate VI Video
GAFC UT RevRoad Video
GAFC VA The Dominion Energy Innovation Center Video
GAFC VA FedTech Video
GAFC WA Life Science Washington Institute Video
GAFC WA Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) Video
GAFC WI WERCBench Labs Accelerator Video
GAFC WI gener8tor Management LLC Video
GAFC WV New River Gorge Regional Development Authority - WV Hive Network Video