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May 21, 2023 | Tom Ballard

FoundersForge wins again!

The Johnson City-based organization was the only winner from Tennessee in the latest round of funding under the U.S. Small Business Administration's "2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition."

For the second consecutive year, FoundersForge is one of the winners of a $50,000 award from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) under its “2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.” The Johnson City-based entrepreneurial support organization was one of 40 recipients of Stage One “Catalyze” awards, and the only one from Tennessee.

The winners and their organizational partners are eligible to compete for an additional $50,000 to $150,000 later this summer when the federal agency opens up applications for Stage Two funding.

“SBA’s Catalyze winners join SBA’s extensive network of support organizations who build thriving start-up ecosystems to ensure the next generation of science and technology-based innovations develop into thriving businesses,” said Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “At a time when the Biden-Harris Administration is investing in American R&D, manufacturing, and future growth industries, our Catalyst partners will help ensure entrepreneurs from all backgrounds can leverage opportunities. We know these investments will advance American competitiveness and help us build an economy that works for everyone.”

Since its launch in 2014, the “Growth Accelerator Fund Competition” has awarded 387 prizes totaling more than $19 million to 284 unique winners across 52 states and U.S. territories. This year’s competition introduced a multi-stage approach with Stage One focused on catalyzing an ecosystem around a particular theme.  Stage One applicants represented 45 U.S. states and territories, with 70 percent as first-time applicants to the competition.

The award to FoundersForge was in the category of Underserved Communities, one of four that applicants were eligible to apply. The others were National Security and Global Competitiveness, Domestic Manufacturing and Production, and Climate and Renewable Energy. Several winners came from nearby states.

According to the information posted on the SBA website about the winners, FoundersForge will be serving 21 counties – 10 in Northeast Tennessee and 11 in Southwest Virginia. David Nelson, Executive Director of FoundersForge, said additional information about its efforts will be announced soon.

The other recipients from neighboring states included:

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