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NEWS RELEASE: WMed Innovation Center Wins $50,000 Growth Accelerator Award

Michigan Business Network
October 23, 2019 11:00 AM

sba-1WMed Innovation Center Wins $50,000 Growth Accelerator Award from SBA to Support Women Entrepreneurs

KALAMAZOO – The WMed Innovation Center is one of 60 accelerators and incubators that have won a U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2019 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition award.

 Its $50,000 award is part of $3 million the federal agency allocated across 39 states and territories to support startups and entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations, company formation, and awareness and education on the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transferprograms. Notably, the prizes are not for direct investing in the entrepreneurs’ small businesses.

“SBA’s $50,000 award to supplement WMed Innovation Center’s training budget is geared to provide focused assistance for specific entrepreneurial groups,” SBA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Rob Scott said. “In turn, we aim to increase the pipeline of future SBIR/STTR applications and STEM-related innovations that will continue to advance this country and revitalize communities.”

This year’s award recipients are to focus at least 60% of their Competition-related work on entrepreneurs who are either women; socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; in states that receive less than 50% of the total annual SBIR/STTR funding; or in an Opportunity Zone.

“Michigan has ranked at the top of the nation for the growth of women-owned firms since 2014,” said Constance Logan, the SBA’s Michigan district director. “This SBA Growth Accelerator award to support WMed Innovation Center’s efforts will help the growing number of Michigan women entrepreneurs with starting and expanding their businesses and further help the state’s economy by supporting innovation and job creation.”

“The SBA Growth Accelerator award is a great benefit to the WMed Innovation Center,” said Sandra Cochrane, WMed Innovation Center assistant dean. “These funds will allow us to develop additional programs aimed at helping female entrepreneurs in high-tech sectors succeed.

Expert panels with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, and academic backgrounds from the public and private sector judged the approximately 200 applications for Growth Accelerator awards by reviewing each applicant’s brief presentation deck and optional two-minute video outlining the organization’s overall approach, experience working with the targeted entrepreneur group, and key evaluation metrics for the proposed plan.


About the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

A total of $3 million was appropriated to be awarded as prizes to accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, or other entrepreneurial ecosystem models. Each $50,000 prize provides operational funding to the awardee for their work in supporting startup businesses. The Competition was conducted by SBA pursuant to the government wide prize competition authority known as the America COMPETES Act (15 U.S.C. 3719).  Additional information including a full list of award winners past and present can be found at www.sba.gov/accelerators andwww.sbir.gov/accelerators.


SBA coordinates the SBIR/STTR programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, which each year provides more than $3.7 billion in early stage seed capital totaling over 5,000 awards to small businesses. Eleven participating federal government agencies announce funding opportunities as either grants or contracts to address their research and development needs. Companies supported by the SBIR/STTR programs often generate some of the most important breakthroughs each year in the U.S.  Additional information about the programs, as well as past and current topics can be found at www.sbir.gov.

About the U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. 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.

Michigan Business Network is an online broadcasting company that provides knowledge, news, and insights into Michigan’s businesses, industries, and economy.