WSU Emerges Victorious in Stage 1 of Small Business Administration’s Growth Acceleration Fund Competition 2023

The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that Wichita State University is the winner of Stage 1 in the 2023 Accelerated Growth Fund competition. As the winner, Wichita will receive a $50,000 award to build strategic partnerships that support the start-up, growth, and scale of STEM and R&D focused small businesses.

Wichita aims to amplify the impact and success of Growth Accelerator Partnerships, foster a thriving ecosystem that promotes equitable investment in innovative high-growth small businesses, and ensure entrepreneurs have access to the resources, participation, and support they need to achieve successful outcomes. John Tomblin, WSU Industrial and Defense Program’s Senior Vice President, said, “Our goal is to ensure that technology-focused, innovating entrepreneurs have access to the resources, participation, and support they need to achieve successful outcomes.”

Stage 1 winners were selected through a multi-layered judging panel of entrepreneurship, business, innovation, and strategic planning experts inside and outside the federal government. Wichita State University will compete for an additional $50,000 to $150,000 later this summer.

Debbie Franklin, WSU’s Vice President of Strategy Initiatives for Industrial and Defense Programs, said, “From inequality and climate change to supporting national defense and community-led economic prosperity, the real opportunity is now to build an innovation ecosystem, and Wichita State is passionate about making an impact.”

Wichita’s Strategic Initiatives Office manages grants and second-stage applications. The second tier of prizes will support growth-enhancing partnerships to develop robust innovation ecosystems with the ability to foster building and scaling of small-scale systems focused on STEM and R&D.

Organizations not selected for Stage 1 and diverse local, regional, and national organizations are eligible to connect with Stage 1 winners and form partnerships towards the Stage 2 awards.

Wichita State University is Kansas’ only urban public research university, with approximately 22,000 students enrolled between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the United States and over 100 countries. WSU and its WSU Institute of Technology are known for being student-centric and driving innovation.

Located in one of the largest cities in the state with the highest concentration of STEM jobs in the United States, Wichita State University offers a unique array of applied learning, applied research, and career opportunities that provide an innovative route in for all its students. The Innovation Campus is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research and innovation parks, covering more than 120 acres and home to many global companies and organizations.

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