“DENVER – The U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced two Colorado firms were awarded $50,000 grants each as part of the SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. The recipients, Catalyst Space Accelerator of Colorado Springs, and Innosphere based in Fort Collins, join 58 other winners from across a total of 39 states and territories.

The SBA awarded a total of $3 million nationwide to numerous accelerators and incubators, each focused on a broad set of industries and sectors that work with startups and entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations.

SBA Regional Administrator Dan Nordberg, who oversees SBA operations in Colorado, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Utah, said GAFC funds are a natural fit for the growing high-tech corridors that run through Colorado.

“Once again, Colorado has multiple winners in this year’s Growth Accelerator Fund competition,” said Nordberg. “Colorado’s winners represent very diverse small businesses working in the defense and national security industries, and high-impact science and technology fields. Both Catalyst Space Accelerator and Innosphere assists entrepreneurs speed the launch, growth, and scale of their businesses and, ultimately, the creation of jobs.”

The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition will infuse the accelerators and incubators with additional operating capital to provide focused assistance to entrepreneurs. This assistance includes support for company formation as well as awareness and education on the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Notably, the prizes are not for direct investing in the entrepreneurs’ small businesses.

Frances Padilla, SBA Colorado District Office director, said both of the awarded incubators were well deserving of the GACF funds.

“Both Catalyst and Innosphere have a proven track record of advancing small businesses and business startups in the tech sector,” Padilla said. “It’s no wonder that of all the applicants for this funding program, they were two of 60 nationwide, which speaks to their success rate. We look forward to hearing about even greater successes from these essential small business supporters.”

This year’s award recipients will focus at least 60 percent of their Competition-related work to entrepreneurs who represent one of the following groups: women; socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; entrepreneurs living in or whose businesses are located and operate in states with a lower number of SBIR/STTR awards, or in an Opportunity Zone. By focusing the accelerators’ and incubators’ efforts on these entrepreneur groups, SBA aims to increase the pipeline of future SBIR/STTR applications and STEM-related innovations.

Applicants to the Competition submitted a brief presentation deck and an optional twominute video outlining the organization’s overall approach, experience working with the targeted entrepreneur group, and key metrics that will be used to evaluate the success of the proposed plan. Applications were judged by panels of experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector.

For more information about the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and a full list of award winners past and present, visit: www.sba.gov/accelerators and www.sbir.gov/accelerators. -end

About the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

A total of $3,000,000 was appropriated to be awarded as prizes to accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, or other entrepreneurial ecosystem models. Each prize of $50,000 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 can be found at www.sba.gov/accelerators and www.sbir.gov/accelerators.

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 and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.”

About Innosphere

Innosphere is Colorado’s leading science and technology incubator, accelerating the success of high-impact startup and scaleup companies. In addition to the incubation program, Innosphere has office and wet lab real estate, and a seed stage venture capital fund.

Innosphere’s program focuses on ensuring companies are investor-ready, connecting founders with experienced advisors and early hires, making introductions to corporate partners, exit planning, and accelerating top line revenue growth. Innosphere supports entrepreneurs in many industries, including but not limited to: bioscience, medical device, B2B software solutions, FinTech, smart cities, and artificial intelligence. Innosphere has been supporting startups for over 20 years, has locations in Fort Collins, Boulder, Denver, and Castle Rock, and is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a strong mission to grow Colorado’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. innosphereventures.org