VentureWell Wins Stage Two of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

VentureWell was awarded $150,000 in prize money to develop thriving innovation ecosystems

Circle with words America’s Seed Fund SBIR/STTR Growth Accelerator Fund Competition 2023

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced VentureWell as a Stage Two winner for the 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. Following Stage One, with a $50,000 cash prize to build strategic partnerships that supported the launch, growth, and scale of small businesses focused on STEM and research and development (R&D), Stage Two grants VentureWell $150,000 to incentivize innovation ecosystem stakeholders to provide equitable access to resources for underserved communities and industries; and catalyze strategic ecosystem partnerships to build community and organizational capacity for the successful launch, growth, and scale of STEM-based entrepreneurs and startups.

By fostering connections between entrepreneurs, advisors, mentors, partners, philanthropies, corporations, investors, and other shared resources, Growth Accelerator Partnerships strengthen networks and collaboration among local and national entrepreneurial support organizations committed to enhancing the chance of success for science- and technology-driven companies to turn their innovations into impact.

“We are grateful for the continued support of the SBA through the 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. This funding will catalyze our Equity Ecosystem Partner Network with our founding partners, including the Clinton Global Initiative University, the HBCU Founders Initiative, Positive Deviancy, Browning the Green Space, and SEED SPOT,” said VentureWell Director of National Venture Programs Tricia Compas-Markman. “Through the launch of this network we are focused on providing equitable access to innovation and entrepreneurship for small businesses and startups, particularly those led by underserved and underrepresented students and founders. A diversity of perspectives, backgrounds, and approaches is essential for excellence in research and innovation in science and technology, and we are thankful for this collective partnership.”

This year’s competition brought together organizations, entities, groups, and individuals beyond geographic boundaries to support the innovators and innovation needed to confront the challenges of today. Winners of Stage Two were selected through a multi-tier review panel process with experts in entrepreneurship, business, innovation, and strategic planning.

The SBA intends the Growth Accelerator Partnerships to help entrepreneurs commercialize their R&D efforts by using Stage Two awards for activities including training and mentorship, introducing entrepreneurs to customers and suppliers, and providing opportunities to pitch investors. The competition also targets accelerators that support businesses and/or geographies that traditionally face barriers in obtaining R&D funds and investment capital.

For more information about the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, visit

About the 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

In 2023, a total of $7.25M in prizes will be awarded to support organizations in fostering innovation ecosystems nationwide and advance research and development (R&D) from ideas to impact. Since its launch in 2014, the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition has awarded 387 prizes totaling more than $19 million to 284 unique winners across 50 states and U.S. territories. For more information, please visit

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, grow, or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. Learn more at

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