The Catalyst Accelerator was awarded $50,000 in prize money for equitable access to entrepreneurship

Colorado Springs, CO, April 24, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the Catalyst Accelerator, in collaboration with Air Force Research Lab Space Vehicles Directorate (AFRL/RV), as a Stage One winner for the 2024 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC). The Catalyst Accelerator will receive a $50,000 cash prize for its impactful and inclusive approach to nurturing a collaborative national innovation ecosystem to advance small business research and development (R&D) from ideas to the market. By fostering connections between entrepreneurs, mentors, partners, philanthropies, corporations, investors, and other shared resources, GAFC 2024 catalyzes strategic ecosystem partnerships to build community and organizational capacity for the successful launch, growth, and scale of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)-based entrepreneurs.

 With the GAFC award, the Catalyst Accelerator will build relationships with other entrepreneurial-support entities located in states with few SBIR wins to collaborate on a Boot Camp model in host-state areas. The Accelerator’s Boot Camp model was prototyped under a previous GAFC award and was created to help local/regional small businesses in the space defense industry to understand the pathway to doing business with the Department of Defense (DoD). The Accelerator team will equip the host entrepreneurial-support entities with resources and knowledge to duplicate and scale the Boot Camp to other needed defense sectors pertinent to their region. 

“It was such an honor to win the GAFC award in the past,” explained KiMar Gartman, Program Director of the Catalyst Accelerator. “We worked hard, in collaboration with AFRL/RV, to prototype the Boot Camp then and are now so excited to have the opportunity to start connecting with neighboring states to share the success we’ve had and open doors to the DoD for underserved entrepreneurs in their areas as well.”

Two Stages

SBA welcomed Stage One submissions from a broad range of organizations with a collaborative vision to nurture a national ecosystem for equitable access to entrepreneurship. Winners of Stage One were selected through a multi-tier review panel process with experts in entrepreneurship, business, innovation, and strategic planning both inside and out of the federal government.

Stage Two offers an additional $50,000 to $150,000 in cash prizes for Growth Accelerator Partnerships. To learn more about Stage Two opportunities and to access the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Guidelines, please visit

From inequity and climate change, to supporting national defense and community-driven economic prosperity, the real opportunity is now to build up innovation ecosystems and The Catalyst Accelerator is eager to deepen its collaborative impact in National Security and Defense. 

About Catalyst Accelerator

The Air Force Research Laboratory Space Vehicles Directorate and United States Space Force’s Catalyst Accelerator is a NewSpace-focused defense and national security industry accelerator, headquartered on the Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI) in Colorado Springs, Colorado. CCTI is a collaborative ecosystem where industry, small business, entrepreneurs, startups, government, academia, and investors intersect with Colorado’s aerospace and defense industry to create community, spark innovation, and stimulate business growth. The Catalyst Accelerator is a collaborative program hosted by Catalyst Campus for Technology and Innovation (CCTI, a Colorado 501(c)3) in partnership with the United States Space Force, and the Air Force Research Laboratory to provide a robust, mentor-driven curriculum for accelerator teams.


Contact Data