The SBA received more than 800 applications for its first Growth Accelerator Fund competition. Cafe Commerce was one of 50 winners and the only one in San Antonio. Dreamit Ventures was the only winner in Austin. The SURGE Accelerator in Houston was the only other Texas winner.
“The SBA is empowering accelerators and startups that are on the cutting edge of successful, innovative new endeavors,” SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said in a news release. “We’ve seen the enormous success of the accelerator model in communities like Silicon Valley. We believe we can export this type of sophisticated support structure across the country to help start-ups become commercially viable and create jobs more quickly.”
A panel of seven judges chose the winners.
All 50 organizations will receive $50,000 each in cash. They will be required to submit reports to the SBA on “jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained among other pieces of information.”
The SBA concentrated its support in parts of the country “where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”
Dreamit Ventures, founded in 2007, operates an annual accelerator program in Austin as well as other cities around the country like Philadelphia. Dreamit Ventures provides $25,000 seed stage investment in the companies in its portfolio.
Cafe Commerce, based at the main library in downtown San Antonio, launched this year and is run by Accion Texas and funded, in part, by the City of San Antonio.
Peter French, president of Cafe Commerce, and Ryan Salts, community strategist, created this video announcing their SBA grant win. Cafe Commerce plans to use the funds for a new accelerator program focused on the food industry called “Break Fast and Launch.”