"It's our future, let's build it together"

Dirigo Labs Wins Stage One of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2024 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

May 14, 2024

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

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

Washington, D.C., Waterville, ME 5/14/2024 – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced Dirigo Labs as a Stage One winner for the 2024 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC). Dirigo Labs 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.

Dirigo Labs will launch an economic initiative to support emerging biotech and sustainability sectors, catalyzing rural revitalization and the post mill and manufacturing economy. Using a ‘cohort within a cohort‘ strategy, Dirigo Labs aims to build a resilient technology ecosystem additionally leading to targeted growth in mentorship, investments, startups, entrepreneurs, and jobs.

“This prestigious recognition validates the tireless dedication of our exceptional team here at Dirigo Labs; through unwavering commitment and a culture of collaboration and innovation, we’ve continuously pushed boundaries in our mission to support emerging biotech and sustainability sectors,” articulates Dirigo Labs Program Manager Emalee Hall. “The $50,000 prize money will allow us to launch our economic initiative and transform downtown Waterville into a bustling innovation hub. We’re not only impacting our region but also extending our reach far beyond, shaping a future defined by progress and possibility.”

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 visithttps://www.americasseedfund.us/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 13, 2024

Comments are closed.