TAMPA, FL (August 4th, 2015) – Tampa Bay WaVE, Inc., a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs turn ideas into thriving tech ventures in Tampa Bay, is pleased to announce that it has been chosen as a recipient of a $50,000 Growth Accelerator Fund Grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The announcement was made today during the White House’s Demo Day by Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the SBA and an Obama Administration Cabinet member.
In 2014 the SBA launched the Accelerator Growth Fund competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each, totaling $4 million. “Accelerators provide valuable resources to potential startups: a physical infrastructure to work in their infancy, mentoring, business-plan assistance, networking, opportunities to obtain venture capital, and introductions to potential customers, partners and suppliers—all critical elements to ensuring that small businesses flourish and succeed.” said SBA Administrator Contreras-Sweet in a release earlier this year announcing the competition’s return for year two. “Last year’s event was so successful, we’re looking forward to discovering and empowering the next trailblazers.”
“We are extremely pleased and encouraged by this recognition from the U.S. Small Business Administration,” said Linda Olson, President and founder of Tampa Bay WaVE. “This award will allow us to focus on closing the local funding gaps for early stage tech companies and expand our services for our women and veteran entrepreneurs throughout Tampa Bay.”
This generous grant from the SBA will enable Tampa Bay WaVE to provide specialized education and mentoring services for underserved populations like women- and veteran-led startups, as well as for startups with local manufacturing needs, thereby increasing the diversity within the program. Tampa Bay WaVE will also expand its programming for supporting startups who are actively seeking early stage investment capital
Since its launch in March 2013, FirstWaVE is already proving that its innovative model is working, helping local entrepreneurs launch and grow their tech companies in Tampa Bay. Collectively, the companies in FirstWaVE have created and retained over 400 new jobs and raised over $14 million in early stage capital since the program’s inception. Tampa Bay WaVE launched FirstWaVE thanks to a two-year $1 million i6 Challenge Grant in 2012 from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) that they secured along with The University of South Florida. Several local businesses also provided another $1 million in matching funds.
About Tampa Bay WaVE: Tampa Bay WaVE is a non-profit providing local entrepreneurs with facilitated access to the resources, expertise and capital they need to grow vibrant technology-based companies in Tampa Bay, create high-wage tech jobs and foster an innovation-based economy for the region. Tampa Bay WaVE actively supports more than 100 local tech startups thanks to a grant from U.S. Commerce Department and support from The University of South Florida and Hillsborough County, as well as corporate sponsors such as Sykes Enterprises, Florida Blue, Bank of America, Tampa Bay Rays, Bright House Networks, Tribridge and Foley & Lardner. For more information, visit www.tampabaywave.org .