SBA Awards $4.4 Million To Business Accelerators

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the winners of the second annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. PowerMoves.NOLA was one of 80 winners of the 2015 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. The recipients represented 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each organization will receive a cash prize of $50,000 from the SBA.

PowerMoves.NOLA is an initiative to increase the number of minority-founded, venture-backed, high-growth entrepreneurial businesses in the United States. Based in New Orleans, PowerMoves.NOLA is developing a national community of entrepreneurs, mentors, and investors to support underrepresented entrepreneurs of color who are in the early stages of startup company growth.

[Related: Morgan Stanley Teams Up With Invest Detroit To Help Minority Entrepreneurs Get Venture Capital]

Accelerators serve entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors — from manufacturing and tech start-ups, to farming and biotech — with many focused on creating a diverse and inclusive small business community. “SBA is continuing to make advances in supporting unique organizations that help the start-up community grow, become commercially viable, and have a real and sustained economic impact,” said SBA Administrator, Maria Contreras-Sweet, during the announcement at the White House’s Demo Day. “Through the wide-spread outreach of this competition, we are able to reach entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country. My commitment is to make our resources available to 21st century entrepreneurs where they are and these accelerators, also known as incubators and innovation hubs, are the gathering place for today’s innovators and disruptors.”

Each accelerator will receive a cash prize of $50,000 from the SBA. In accepting these funds, the accelerators will also be committing to quarterly reporting for one year. They will be required to report metrics such as jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained. This will allow the SBA to continue building upon its database of accelerators and their impact, and to develop long-term relationships with the startups and constituents in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities.

 “We are honored to have participated in the White House Demo Day and extremely grateful to receive the SBA Growth Accelerator Fund award. Demo Day underscored that an investment in startups founded by entrepreneurs of color is an investment in the American economy, and the resources we received will help us continue to scale a national ecosystem of support for entrepreneurs of color,” states Leslie Jacobs, founder of PowerMoves.NOLA.

PowerMoves.NOLA helps participating entrepreneurs refine their business models, shape their go-to-market strategies, connect with advisors, and secure early investment to launch, operationalize and scale their businesses. In just one year, PowerMoves.NOLA has nationally sourced 100 companies from 26 major cities across the country and helped secure more than $17 million in capital commitments.

“There is an abundance of talent and drive across America, but too many of our world-class entrepreneurs don’t have access to the early-stage-friendly ecosystems and capital to grow beyond the ideation phase,” adds Earl Robinson, president of PowerMoves.NOLA. “That’s why we are working to bridge the gap and ensure that those underrepresented in entrepreneurship have the tools they need to succeed.”

The purpose of the SBA’s competition was to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. While there are entrepreneurial activities occurring nationwide, some are better supported by private sector ecosystems than others.

“The support we received from SBA will help us build our national infrastructure, allowing us to serve more entrepreneurs of color in more cities across the U.S. The result will be a robust network of mentors, founders, and funders and, ultimately, more game-changing ideas taking off in America,” Robinson continued.