(Washington, DC)—Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today lauded the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) announcement that four Maryland accelerators and incubators were awarded $50,000 each to support entrepreneurs and startups researching and innovating in STEM fields.

“Accelerators and incubators play a vital role in Maryland’s innovation ecosystem—helping to fast track the growth and success of many startups,” said Ranking Member Cardin. “I applaud SBA for making this critical investment, and I congratulate the four accelerators and incubators that will now have increased capacity to help innovative startups in underserved communities build groundbreaking products and create well-paid jobs. I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to find more opportunities to invest in innovative startups, especially those in underserved communities.”

The accelerators awarded grants were Mtech Ventures in College Park, F³ Tech Accelerator in Easton, and LifeBridge Health Accelerator Program and FastForward at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, both in Baltimore. The grants were awarded to the winners of the fifth annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition, and at least 60 percent of their work related to the competition must support underserved communities, including women, socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and businesses located in Opportunity Zones. To enter the competition, the accelerators and incubators submitted a brief presentation deck and an optional two-minute video detailing their record of supporting entrepreneurs from underserved communities.

Last week, Cardin delivered the keynote address at the SBIR Road Show, a symposium hosted by SBA and the University of Maryland to introduce underserved innovators to Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and the Small Business Tech Transfer Program (STTR); federal agencies that participate in the programs award grants to small businesses working on cutting edge research, like clean energy, nuclear technology and cybersecurity. In July, the Energy Department awarded $6.6 million in grants to six Maryland companies through SBIR.