Home » 2 UK-led organizations win Small Business Administration Awards

2 UK-led organizations win Small Business Administration Awards

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Two innovation programs led by the University of Kentucky are receiving a part of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) $5.4 million in prizes to support inclusive entrepreneurship in the innovation ecosystem.

The U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced winners for its Growth Accelerator Fund Competition (GAFC) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Catalyst competition, a new component aimed at spurring investment in underrepresented communities within the innovation economy at scale.

Kentucky Commercialization Ventures (KCV), a program co-founded by UK’s Office of Technology Commercialization (OTC) and led in partnership with Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation (KSTC), the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the University of Louisville, was one of 84 winners of the GAFC, receiving $50,000 to support the program’s work to translate innovations, research findings, and intellectual property into market-ready products, services and job-creating startups from all of the public institutions of higher education in Kentucky that don’t have dedicated commercialization resources.

XLerator Network (XLN), OTC’s Southeast IDeA Hub funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, was one of eight winners of the SBIR Catalyst competition, receiving $150,000. XLN, led by Louisville-based accelerator Xlerate Health and UK as the lead academic institution, is a Regional Technology Transfer Accelerator Hub connecting biomedical researchers and administrators at 25 universities in the Southeast with resources to commercialize innovations into products that improve human health.

XLN’s award is focused on expanding its EnRICH program, a human health-focused innovation harvesting and commercialization “pre-accelerator” program for faculty and student innovators at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country. EnRICH was co-founded by OTC and Xlerate Health in partnership with Jackson State University (JSU) and is led by JSU.

Taunya Phillips, director of UK’s Office of Technology Commercialization, will be partnering with XLerate Health and JSU to execute the new training model for HBCUs.

U.S. Small Business Administration award competitors were required to submit a presentation deck and a 90-second video to describe their overall plan for an award, including their work with targeted entrepreneur groups, experience with STEM/R&D, and implementation plans for the prize funds. Applications were judged by panels of experts from the private and public sector with experience in early-stage investment, entrepreneurship, academics, startups, and economic development.

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