The Company Lab is one of 84 prize winners in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.
CO.LAB is one of two Tennessee organizations to get the prize. Chattanooga’s nonprofit joins FoundersForge, a Johnston City-based accelerator.
“The value of this prize shouldn’t be understated,” CO.LAB CEO Lindsey Cox said. “It will allow us to focus on supporting women founders by connecting them with mentors and resources through our GIGTANK 365 program. CO.LAB is committed to helping close gaps in access to innovation and resources, and these funds will help us do that.”
A fresh take on the traditional accelerator model — GIGTANK 365 will relaunch this fall as a year-round, stage-gate mentoring program. It will be a fresh take on the traditional accelerator model.
The prize is the result of a new component from the SBA aimed at spurring investment in underrepresented communities within the innovation economy at scale. Along with the Small Business Innovation Research Catalyst competition, SBA gave a total of $5.4 million in prize money.
“This year’s cohort of winners emphasizes our commitment to equity,” SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said. “Our awardees have innovative plans to support underserved entrepreneurs, including women, people of color, and individuals from underrepresented geographic areas.”
The winners come from 48 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia, and have been awarded based on their proposals for innovative ideas that inclusively support entrepreneurs researching and developing STEM-related innovations.
Competitors were required to submit a presentation deck and a 90-second video to describe their overall plan for an award, including their work with targeted entrepreneur groups, experience with STEM/R&D, and implementation plans for the prize funds.
Applications were judged by panels of experts from the private and public sector with experience in early-stage investment, entrepreneurship, academics, startups, and economic development.
For a full list of winners, visit www.sbir.gov/accelerators.