Two Pennsylvania-based incubators have won $50,000 from the Small Business Administration as part of a national competition designed to invigorate growth accelerator funds.
Phase 1 Ventures at the University City Science Center and the Ben FranklinTechcelerator based in Carlisle are among the 68 accelerators that landed a total of $3.4 million of awards, which were announced by the SBA Thursday.
Both Phase 1 and the Techcelerator were chosen by more than 100 experts in entrepreneurship, investment, startups, academia and fundraising among a pool of more than 400 applicants.
Each of the $50,000 awards require the accelerators to report job creation, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsorships to the SBA every quarter for the coming year.
Phase 1, launched after the University City Science Center received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration in 2014, funds startups focused on biotech, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, energy and medical technology during their early stages and will fund up to $450,000 directly before assisting a new company in securing additional capital.
The Ben Franklin Techcelerator, a partner of statewide economic development program Ben Franklin Technology Partners, operates in Carlisle, outside of Harrisburg, as well as University Park and aims to spur entrepreneurship and build up an innovation-focused culture in Central and Northern Pennsylvania.
The awards both received as part of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition developed out of a partnership the SBA launched with the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education in 2014 to bolster connections between small businesses and entrepreneurs, boost job growth and encourage innovation in areas where entrepreneurism is in need of greater support. In the previous two years combined, 138 accelerators landed the $50,000 prize. The SBA said the awards have funded 5,000 companies that have raised more than $1.5 billion in capital and created more than 20,000 jobs.
“SBA will continue to explore ways to creatively harness this powerful network and connect startups with one another and with available government resources,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet in a statement. “With the addition of the 2016 winners, the number of SBA supported entrepreneurs will significantly grow.”