Best Practices

U.S. Small Business Administration Announces Awards and Launches New Resources

Published Sep 22, 2015 by Sarah Mote

What do you think of when you think "SBA"? Many would ​say loans, but the SBA has a long history of providing more than SBA-backed loans to entrepreneurs.

Below, read just a few updates of SBA awards and resources aimed at helping entrepreneurs start and grow.

Growth Accelerator Fund
Through its Growth Accelerator Fund competition, the SBA announced total awards of $4.4 million to 88 startup accelerators, including those that fill geographic gaps and foster entrepreneurship among women and other underrepresented groups. Seven U.S.SourceLink affiliate organizations received awards.

Awardees represent 39 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and eight awards are primarily dedicated to Native American entrepreneurs and small businesses. 

For details on the Growth Accelerator Fund winners, click here.

Startup in a Day
As part of the Startup in a Day initiative announced by President Obama earlier this year, the SBA is announcing 27 prizes of $50,000 each to cities and Native American communities to help them streamline the licensing, permitting and other requirements needed to start a business in their areas, with the goal of enabling entrepreneurs to apply for everything necessary to begin within one business day. The SBA is also awarding a $250,000 cash prize to the city of Los Angeles to create an open-source solution that will be replicable and scalable on a broad basis. 

For details on the Startup in a Day winners, click here

InnovateHER Women's Business Challenge
Building off the success of the first InnovateHER Women’s Business Challenge earlier this year, SBA is expanding this initiative to more than double the number of local competitions designed to identify products and services that have measurable impacts on the lives of women and families, have potential for commercialization, and fill a need in the marketplace.

Given that only around three percent of venture capitalists are women, but women make up over 80 percent of U.S. purchasing power, this expanded Challenge promises to provide a platform for innovations that are often overlooked.

As part of this expansion, Microsoft will more than double the prizes awarded. For more details, click here.

Business Smart Toolkit
The SBA is releasing the Business Smart Toolkit, a ready-to-use workshop toolkit developed with the National Association for Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL), which will help lay the groundwork for assisting new and aspiring entrepreneurs in building credit-ready businesses.

The SBA/NAGGL partnership also includes more than 10 national organizations that will help deploy the modules through workshops across local communities. For more details, click here.

I-Corps for Main Street
The SBA is partnering with NSF to adapt the I-Corps program for “Main Street” small businesses, utilizing the insights of “lean startup” methodology that challenge conventional notions of business-model planning.

Through this new partnership, the SBA plans to issue a challenge this fall for its resource partners – including Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and SCORE chapters – for an I-Corps “Train-the-Trainer” program.

These partners will leverage their training to adapt and deliver, on a pilot basis, a lean-startup training curriculum to small businesses and entrepreneurs in traditional sectors.