Chattanooga based nonprofit LAUNCH has been announced as an awardee of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition by the U.S. Small Business Administration office of Investment and Innovation. The competition saw over 400 applications from organizations across 32 states and the District of Columbia. LAUNCH and the additional 67 recipients will be awarded $50,000 each totaling $3.4 million in prizes to boost the economic impact of accelerators across 32 states and the District of Columbia.
Per a press release from the SBA, “The purpose of the 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. SBA has created connective tissue among the over 200 winning entrepreneurial ecosystems now part of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition program.”
Applications were judged by more than 100 experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, capital formation and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector. The first panel of judges reviewed over 400 applications and presentations and established a pool of 200 highly qualified finalists. The second panel evaluated the finalists’ presentations and pitch videos and selected the 68 winners. To view LAUNCH’s pitch video, click here.
LAUNCH will use this funding to continue to support minority and women entrepreneurs. Since 2011, LAUNCH has trained nearly 250 entrepreneurs. In that time, there have been 134 businesses started and 166 jobs created. Thus far, 91 percent of businesses started with the support of LAUNCH are still in operation.