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PR: Dirigo Labs Wins Stage One of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

May 18, 2023

Accelerator awarded $50,000 in prize money to catalyze relationships and develop Growth Accelerator Partnerships

Dirigo Labs Kickoff event for its 2023 cohort of startups participating in the accelerator program.

Washington, D.C. & Waterville, ME 5/18/2023 – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Dirigo Labs as a Stage One winner for the 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. The Waterville-based accelerator will receive a $50,000 cash prize to build strategic partnerships supporting the launch, growth, and scale of STEM/R&D-focused small businesses by creating an SBIR/STTR media lab. 

Dirigo Labs’ award-winning model will amplify the impact and success of Growth Accelerator Partnerships and will work to foster and facilitate a thriving national ecosystem that advances equitable investment in innovative high-growth small businesses. This year’s Competition has brought together organizations, entities, groups, and individuals beyond geographic boundaries to support innovators and innovation needed to confront the challenges of today. 

“We are delighted to announce that Dirigo Labs has been awarded Stage One of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition,” states Garvan Donegan, Central Maine Growth Council’s Director of Planning, Innovation, & Economic Development. “Out of a highly competitive pool of 355 applications nationally, Dirigo Labs emerged as one of the 40 awardees. This prestigious recognition validates the hard work and dedication of our talented team at Dirigo Labs who have consistently pushed boundaries and fostered an environment of collaboration and innovation. The $50,000 prize money will further fuel our efforts to forge a transformative innovation hub, and associated accelerator partnerships, in downtown Waterville, the region, and beyond.”

Stage One winners were selected through a multi-tier review panel process with experts in entrepreneurship, business, innovation, and strategic planning inside and outside the federal government. Applications and pitch videos were reviewed by expert judges and submitted by the finalists.  

Dirigo Labs will now compete for an additional $50,000 to $150,000 later this summer. From precision manufacturing and clean technologies to supporting national defense and community-driven economic prosperity, the real opportunity is now to build up innovation ecosystems and Dirigo Labs is eager to make an impact.  

Stage Two cash prizes will support the “Growth Accelerator Partnerships” to further develop vital innovation ecosystems to fast-track the building and scaling of STEM/R&D-focused small businesses. 

For more information about the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, please visit wwww.sbir.gov/accelerators  


About Dirigo Labs: 
Dirigo Labs is a regional startup accelerator based in Waterville, Maine. With a mission to grow mid-Maine’s digital economy by supporting entrepreneurs building innovation-based companies, the Dirigo Labs ecosystem brings together people, resources, and organizations to ensure the successful launch of new startups. Dirigo Labs operates under Central Maine Growth Council and is supported by several organizations, academic institutions, and investment firms. To learn more about Dirigo Labs, please visit www.dirigolabs.org

Last modified: May 30, 2023

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