ST. LOUIS – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced that Prosper Capital, a division of Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (PWE), is a winner of the 2015 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.
The 80 winners represent 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. They were celebrated at White House Demo Day to showcase America’s entrepreneurial potential and the need for Americans to pursue bold, game-changing ideas.
“We are delighted and honored to be among such an exciting and visionary group of winners,” said Mary Jo Gorman, Mary Jo Gorman, MD, MBA, Lead Managing Partner of Prosper Capital and Founder/CEO of Advanced ICU Care. “Prosper Capital is unique in the field of accelerators as one of few startup accelerators focused on women-led businesses, and, as far as we know, there is no other accelerator that provides follow-on funding for participating companies.”
Applications were judged by more than 40 experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, capital formation and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector. Each winning group will receive a cash prize of $50,000 from the SBA. For one year, they will report quarterly on metrics such as jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained to help the SBA build upon its database of accelerators and their impact and to develop long-term relationships with entrepreneurial communities.
“SBA is continuing to make advances in supporting unique organizations that help the start-up community grow, become commercially viable, and have a real and sustained economic impact,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Through the wide-spread outreach of this competition, we are able to reach entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country. My commitment is to make our resources available to 21st Century entrepreneurs where they are, and these accelerators, also known as incubators and innovation hubs, are the gathering place for today’s innovators and disruptors.”
Metrics that track participation in the American innovation economy show low participation rates for females and under-represented minorities in the technology sector and the entrepreneurial community. Just three percent of America’s venture-capital-backed startups are led by women — a figure that drops to around one percent for African American and Hispanic entrepreneurs. Only about four percent of U.S.-based venture capital firms have any female investing partners at all. And capital is predominantly available in just a few places, making high-growth business creation a challenge outside of a handful of coastal metro hubs.