The U.S. Small Business Administration has awarded $50,000 to Wisconsin-based startup accelerator gener8tor to increase access to research-funding opportunities through the SBA, especially for historically underrepresented startup founders.
“We’re honored to have been awarded this grant from the SBA to further our efforts in connecting undercapitalized startup founders to grant funding that can be used to stimulate technological innovation in overlooked markets,” said Julius Maina, gener8tor Chief of Staff.
“gener8tor has worked hard to establish a diverse network of startup founders and industry champions. We are proud that the SBA recognizes the power of leveraging our shared networks to help ensure that all founders — regardless of geography or demographic — have access to SBA’s funding resources,” added Precious Drew, Senior Managing Director, Northwestern Mutual Black Founder Accelerator.
The grant comes from the SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, which awarded a total of $5.4 million in 2021 to 84 winners. Each winner was awarded based on their proposals for innovative ideas that inclusively support entrepreneurs who are researching and developing STEM-related innovations.
“This year’s cohort of winners emphasizes our commitment to equity,” said Isabella Casillas Guzman, SBA Administrator, in a statement announcing the winners. “Our awardees have innovative plans to support underserved entrepreneurs, including women, people of color, and individuals from underrepresented geographic areas. The Growth Accelerator prize funds will ensure a wide range of startups and innovators working on cutting edge STEM/R&D ideas have access to technical support and capital.”
gener8tor will use the funding to promote the SBA’s SBIR/STTR program, which provides approximately $3.5 billion per year in funding to small businesses.
“The SBIR/STTR program is the largest single source of non-dilutive federal funding in the nation that not enough people are talking about,” added Maina. “Our goal is to encourage founders within our ecosystem to leverage these funds to support their R&D efforts and to increase the number of successful SBIR/STTR applications coming from overlooked founders and communities.”
gener8tor and WERCBench Labs were the only two organizations that received this grant award in the state of Wisconsin, and this is the second time gener8tor has been funded for this activity.
“We appreciate the confidence of the SBA in our business development efforts, and we are honored to be one of only two organizations that applied and received this award in Wisconsin. Special congratulations to fellow honoree WERCBench Labs, ” said gener8tor Co-Founder Troy Vosseller.
“Wisconsin is a great state to live, and an even better place to start a business,” added gener8tor Co-Founder Joe Kirgues. “At gener8tor, we have had the honor of investing directly into Wisconsin-based startups that are now doing amazing things at a national level. The opportunity to expose this same network of business owners to a potentially life-changing source of funding is equally encouraging.”