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MBI Receives U.S. Small Business Administration 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Stage Two Award

September 25, 2023 / press release

Worcester, MA (9/21/23) – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives (MBI) is a Stage Two winner for the 2023 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. MBI will receive a $150,000 cash prize to build strategic partnerships that will support the launch, growth, and scale of STEM/R&D-focused small businesses.


This grant will support MBI’s work, in collaboration with The Venture Forum, leading a regional consortium focused on growing the therapeutic and industrial biomanufacturing market in Central Massachusetts. This collaborative group is focused on workforce development, centralizing startup resources, pilot scale manufacturing, and large-scale manufacturing competitiveness.


“The collaboration between MBI and The Venture Forum will create an inclusive ecosystem for entrepreneurs and streamline the pathway to success for our regional startups,” said Jon Weaver, President and CEO of MBI. “By joining forces, MBI and The Venture Forum intend to enhance the talent pool, mentoring, and ecosystem for biotech and bioindustrial startups.”


After winning a $50,000 Stage One cash prize earlier this year, the partnership between MBI and The Venture Forum continues its efforts to foster and facilitate a thriving national ecosystem that advances equitable investment in innovative high-growth small businesses.


“Central Massachusetts is a growing hub for biomanufacturing and this $150,000 investment in Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives from the Small Business Administration will continue to spark innovation and bring more good-paying jobs to our communities,” said Congressman James P. McGovern. “MBI’s critical work supporting startups gives entrepreneurs the tools and confidence they need to keep building incredible businesses and contributing to meaningful scientific research.”


Winners of Stage Two were selected through a multi-tier review panel process by experts in entrepreneurship, business, innovation, and strategic planning. Applications were reviewed by expert judges and then the Catalyst partnerships participated in an interview process with members of the Office of Investment and Innovation Ecosystem Development team.


MBI and The Venture Forum will establish structured mentorship programs, pairing experienced industry leaders and seasoned entrepreneurs with those seeking guidance and support. This mentorship network will serve as a valuable resource, helping startups refine their business models with industry insight, navigate the complexities of the biomedical industry, and develop investment-ready pitches that will increase their chances of securing funding. MBI and The Venture Forum also plan to partner on The Venture Forum’s 5 Minute Pitch (5MP) contests to develop MBI’s startups’ presentation and development strategies. The 5MP provides personalized advisory and mentorship assistance to Central MA-based startups. 5MP is designed to help companies who have an existing minimum viable product optimize their business models and gain strategic, operational, and financial traction.


“Worcester has a growing number of high growth startups competing for venture capital to fuel their growth” said Zachary Dutton, Executive Director of the Venture Forum.  “The Venture Forum and MBI partnership will provide mentoring to our early-stage entrepreneurs to help them compete for these investments”.


The SBA intends the Growth Accelerator Partnerships to help entrepreneurs commercialize their R&D efforts by using Stage Two awards for activities including training and mentorship, introducing entrepreneurs to customers and suppliers, and providing opportunities to pitch investors. The Competition also targets accelerators that support businesses and/or geographies that traditionally face barriers in obtaining R&D funds and investment capital.


For more information about the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, please visit




About Massachusetts Biomedical Initiatives

MBI is the longest running life sciences incubator in the Commonwealth. MBI’s mission is to be a partner for fostering innovation in the life sciences by helping companies bring lifesaving products to patients, create jobs, and promote economic development in Central MA and throughout the Commonwealth. It is estimated that since 2000, MBI has assisted over 175 companies that have created over 1,025 jobs and raised over $1,000,000,000.


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