Growth Accelerator Fund Competition


Growth Accelerators provide focused assistance to STEM/R&D entrepreneurs to start and scale their businesses. Typically run by experienced entrepreneurs, accelerators help small businesses access seed capital, mentors, counseling, overhead services and networking opportunities. These organizations help accelerate a startup companys path towards success with targeted advice on revenue growth, job growth and sourcing outside funding. Accelerators also help foster an inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem by stimulating entrepreneurship outside of traditional startup hubs. Applicants in the 2021 Competition focused their proposed efforts on one of the following groups: women entrepreneurs, minority entrepreneurs, or other target entrepreneurs identified by applicants (ie. rural, veterans, individuals with disabilities, etc.).

General information about this opportunity
Last Known Status
Program Number
Federal Agency/Office
Small Business Administration
Type(s) of Assistance Offered
C - Direct Payments For Specified Use
Program Accomplishments
Fiscal Year 2015 FY 2015 data not yet available FY 2015 See
Fiscal Year 2016 FY 2016 data not yet available
Fiscal Year 2017 FY 2017 data not yet available
Fiscal Year 2022 Since inception in 2014, the program has awarded 387 prizes of $50,000 each to organizations in 49 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. In 2022, the SBA maintained oversight of the $4.2 million in prizes to accelerators and incubators awarded in FY 2021. Focus areas for winners included assistance programs for women and minority entrepreneurs and applicant’s choice, which mostly supported programs for rural entrepreneurs, but also veterans and individuals with disabilities. Targeted technology areas reflected Administration priorities and were primarily supporting clean energy, followed by supply chain and infrastructure, in addition to other STEM-related technology areas. For more information about SBA accomplishments, access the SBA Congressional Budget Justification and Annual Performance Report:
America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Reauthorization Act of 2010 ("America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010").
Who is eligible to apply/benefit from this assistance?
Applicant Eligibility
This competition is open to citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of their submission of an entry (or teams of such individuals); and private entities, such as corporations or other organizations, both for profit and nonprofit, that are incorporated or organized in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States. Individuals submitting on behalf of corporations, nonprofits, or other organizations or groups of individuals (such as an academic class or other team) must meet the eligibility requirements for individual Contestants. Consult and for further information.
Beneficiary Eligibility
Not applicable.
An SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Application must be completed online. Additional documentation may be included at the applicant's discretion. Awardees must be registered as an entity through and have an active account. Consult for further information on accessing the application. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87 and is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Subpart E - Cost Principles.
What is the process for applying and being award this assistance?
Pre-Application Procedure
Preapplication coordination is not applicable.
Application Procedure
2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards applies to this program. This program is excluded from coverage under 2 CFR 200, Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular A-102. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular A-110. An SBA Growth Accelerator Fund Application must be completed online. Consult for further information on accessing the application.
Award Procedure
Applicant is notified by an SBA official of award by letter or email. Awardees must register through as an entity with an active account to receive award.
April 6, 2015 to June 8, 2015 Consult for annual application open period information. Variable; Early April to early June. Contact the headquarters or regional location, as appropriate for application deadlines
Approval/Disapproval Decision Time
Variable: Generally, 90 days from close of application period.
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
How are proposals selected?
How may assistance be used?
Award funds are intended for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to fund operating budgets, not for direct investing in the entrepreneurs’ small businesses. For the purposes of this competition, Growth Accelerators include accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, or other models to accomplish similar goals. Consult the current funding opportunities, guidelines, or program announcements for complete information (
What are the requirements after being awarded this opportunity?
Not applicable.
Not applicable.
This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-133.
Other Assistance Considerations
Formula and Matching Requirements
Statutory formula is not applicable to this assistance listing.

Matching requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.

MOE requirements are not applicable to this assistance listing.
Length and Time Phasing of Assistance
No required period of performance. One disbursement via the Automated Clearing House (ACH). Method of awarding/releasing assistance: See Length and Time Phasing of Assistance.
Who do I contact about this opportunity?
Regional or Local Office
None/Not specified.
Headquarters Office
Office of Innovation and Technology
409 3rd St., SW
6th Floor
Washington, DC 20416 US
Phone: 202-710-5163
Website Address
Financial Information
Account Identification
(Direct Payments for Specified Use) FY 22$250,000.00; FY 23 est $10,000,000.00; FY 24 est $10,000,000.00; FY 21$3,750,000.00; FY 20$400,000.00; FY 19$2,650,000.00; - updated FY22 actuals
Range and Average of Financial Assistance
Depending on award year, $1,000,000 to $4,400,000 cumulative awards; $50,000 for individual awards.
Regulations, Guidelines and Literature
Examples of Funded Projects
Fiscal Year 2015 Consult Consult
Fiscal Year 2016 Consult
Fiscal Year 2017 Consult
Fiscal Year 2019
Fiscal Year 2022 The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) stimulates innovation and entrepreneurship by infusing accelerators and incubators with $50,000 of additional operating capital. The prize competition seeks to identify and fund gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem by providing funding to accelerators, incubators, co-working communities, makerspaces, and other organizations that provide entrepreneurial support, mentorship, and commercialization assistance to STEM/R&D entrepreneurs. Each year, the competition identifies groups and/or geographies that traditionally have difficulty obtaining R&D funding and investment capital such as rural communities and those owned or led by women, minorities, and veterans. The program’s design allows it to quickly pivot in support of any specific group or critical technology.


Federal Grants Resources