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Village of Park Forest - Top Story News

Posted on: September 4, 2014

Park Forest one of 50 to win Growth Accelerator Fund competition

Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced, after reviewing more than 800 applications, the 50 winners of the first Growth Accelerator Fund competition. The recipients represent 31 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The accelerators come from a broad set of industries and sectors - from manufacturing to tech start-ups to farming as well as a focus on a diversified range of demographic groups.

"The SBA is empowering accelerators and startups that are on the cutting edge of successful, innovative new endeavors," said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. "We’ve seen the enormous success of the accelerator model in communities like Silicon Valley. We believe we can export this type of sophisticated support structure across the country to help start-ups become commercially viable and create jobs more quickly. I want SBA to stand for 'Smart, Bold and Accessible' and these accelerators encompass all three of these goals.”

Winners were selected by a panel of seven judges who are experts in entrepreneurship, investing and business plans both inside and out of the federal government. The judges reviewed the applications and pitch videos submitted by the 100 finalists in the competition.

Each organization 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 among other pieces of information. This will allow the SBA to create a useful database of accelerators and their impact, and to develop long-term relationships with the startups and constituents in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities.

The purpose of the competition was to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. There are entrepreneurial activities taking place in all 50 states, but some are better supported by private sector ecosystems than others.

The first year of this contest presents an opportunity for the SBA to engage with and support organizations whose sole purpose is to help start-ups to grow, become commercially viable and have real and sustained economic impact. The SBA is going to honor the winners at a Fly-In day in Washington, D.C. in November during National Entrepreneurship Month, in partnership with the Global Accelerator Network.

The fifty winners are:

Rocket City Launch- Madison, AL

Arizona Center for Innovation- Tucson, AZ

Edson Student Entrepreneur Initiative- Scottsdale, AZ

My Startup XX- La Jolla, CA

Telluride Venture Accelerator- Telluride, CO

The Refinery- Westport, CT

EatsPlace- Washington, DC

Starter Studio- Orlando, FL

Sunshine Labs- Longwood, FL

Venture Hive- Miami, FL

GVS Transmedia Accelerator- Kailua-Kona, HI

Iowa Startup Accelerator- Cedar Rapids, IA

James E Hogge Technology and Entrepreneurship Center- Nampa, ID

Good Food Business Accelerator- Oak Park, IL

Park Forest Maker Space- East Hazel Crest, IL

712 Innovations- Topeka, KS

Bioscience Technology Business Center- Lawrence, KS

XlerateHealth- Louiville, KY

UpTech, Inc- Convington, LA

Smarter in the City- Boston, MA

Accelerator for the Commercialization of Technology- Columbia, MD

Coolhouse Labs- Harbor Springs, MI

Prosper Women Entrepreneurs Startup Accelerator- St. Louis, MO

Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship- Wilmington, NC

City Startup Labs- Charlotte, NC

RevTech Labs- Charlotte, NC

Rutgers Food Innovation Center- Bridgeton, NJ

Center for Unique Business Enterprises- Reno, NV

Cumberland Business Incubator- Harriman, NY

Manufacture NY- Brooklyn, NY

Southern Tier Hardware Accelerator- Ithaca, NY

The Brandery- Cincinnati, OH

Portland State University Business Accelerator- Portland, OR

Sustainable Valley Technology Accelerator- Medford, OR

AlphaLabGear- Pittsburgh, PA

Neo Lab- Pittsburgh, PA

Bridgeworks Enterprise Center- Allentown, PA

Jump Start Incubator- Reading, PA

Piloto 151- San Juan, PR

Dirt Works Incubator Farm- Charleston, SC

SDTBC Business Launch Boot Camp and Accelerator- Sioux Falls, SD

Jumpstart Foundry- Nashville, TN

Start Co Integration Accelerator- Memphis, TN

Break Fast and Launch- San Antonio, TX

Dream It Ventures- Austin, TX

SURGE Accelerator- Houston, TX

Sustainable Startups- Salt Lake City, UT

Peninsula Technology Incubator- Hampton, VA

Launch Box Growth Accelerator- Kenosha, WI

Vetransfer- Milwaukee, WI

Click to watch Park Forest's pitch video!
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