Good news! The U.S. Small Business Administration announced on August 31 that FastForward, the innovation hub for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, was a winner of The Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and $50,000.
The SBA organized the competition to draw attention to and provide funding for parts of the country that currently have gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. “While there are entrepreneurial activities occurring nationwide, some are better supported by private sector ecosystems than others,” according to the SBA’s announcement.
FastForward will use the SBA award to support its many activities and resources for startups and entrepreneurs that are helping to bolster economic growth and innovation in Baltimore, including the opening of two new innovation hubs. FastForward 1812, located in Baltimore’s Eager Park renovation district, will open in early 2017. FastForward Remington, located within a mile of Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus, will open later in the year. Both locations will provide a mix of affordable co-working and office space, along with turnkey shared and private lab space and equipment as well as conference and event space. The SBA award money will offset the operating costs of these two new innovation hubs.
From an initial applicant pool of more than 400, the SBA judges selected 200 finalists. A second panel reviewed the final presentations and selected 68 winners. In total, the SBA provided a total of $3.4 million in prizes to its 2016 winners across 32 states and Washington D.C. The SBA provided awards to 138 accelerators in 2014 and 2015.
“SBA has created connective tissue among the over 200 winning entrepreneurial ecosystems now part of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition program,” the release states.