LAWRENCE — The Bioscience & Technology Business Center at the University of Kansas has earned a major grant for its role as a business accelerator and economic engine for northeast Kansas.
The BTBC at KU has been awarded $50,000 by the U.S. Small Business Administration through the agency’s Growth Accelerator Fund competition, which is designed to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The BTBC was one of only 20 winners nationally and the only winner in the Midwest. This is the third time in four years the BTBC has been awarded $50,000 through the competition, with the previous awards coming in 2014 and 2016.
“This was a competitive process, and for us to be named a recipient of this funding from the SBA is a tremendous honor as well as validation of the BTBC and our role as an engine of economic growth,” said G.R. Underwood, president and chief operating officer of the BTBC at KU. “We’re clearly succeeding in our mission to grow the technology and bioscience industries in northeast Kansas in a way that creates quality jobs and economic growth.”
The SBA prize stipulations allow recipients to use the funding for a variety of purposes. Underwood said the BTBC will utilize the SBA funding to continue to promote high-scale, high-potential startups.
“One of our central principles and a key to our success thus far is trying to provide our entrepreneurs and startups the widest array of support we can to help them grow and scale,” Underwood said. “This funding allows us to expand the breadth and depth of resources we can provide, thereby optimizing these high-potential companies’ chances for success.”
In accepting these funds, the BTBC and other winners will be committing to biannual reporting for one year and will be required to report metrics on jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained, among other pieces of information. These metrics will allow the SBA to maintain a dataset of accelerators and their effects, and to develop long-term relationships with the startups and constituents in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities.
Winners were selected through a two-tier review panel process with experts in entrepreneurship, investing and business plans both inside and out of the federal government. The finalist expert judges reviewed the applications and pitch videos submitted by the finalists.
The BTBC at KU is composed of three facilities – two in Lawrence and one at KU Medical Center – which collectively houses 44 corporate client companies, ranging from KU startups to midsize companies to Fortune 500 companies. These companies total more than 250 employees with a combined payroll of more than $14 million.
View the full SBA announcement online.