• Wendy McBroom

Independent Messenger: Startup Tucson awarded "Super Connector" prize.

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WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration partnered with the National Science and Technology Council’s Lab-to-Market subcommittee to award $330,000 in prizes to the winners of the new Lab-to-Market (L2M) Inclusive Innovation Ecosystem Prize Competition.


The L2M prize competition recognizes the most impactful organizations, programs and ideas that support the research and development (R&D) innovation ecosystems, particularly those focused on underrepresented communities and pandemic responses. The competition’s goal is to encourage entrepreneurship and inclusive, sustainable growth by developing and commercializing technology to improve access to resources.

Launched on Sept. 10, 2020, the L2M prize competition accepted over 160 submissions from applicants across the U.S. seeking their share of the $330,000 competition prize.


The awardees are as follows:

• “Super Connector” – Prizes of $10,000 for current efforts to successfully attract and/or support networks of underrepresented communities in the R&D innovation ecosystem.

◦ Startup Tucson – Tucson, Arizona

◦ Colmena66 – San Juan, Puerto Rico

◦ Launch Minnesota – St. Paul, Minnesota

◦ Conductor – Fayetteville, Arkansas


• “Ecosystem Responder” – Prizes of $10,000 for innovative and effective responses to support the R&D ecosystem amidst the pandemic environment.

◦ Challenge America – Basalt, Colorado

◦ JumpStart Inc. – Cleveland, Ohio

◦ Hofstra University Center for Entrepreneurship – Hempstead, New York

◦ CO+HOOTS/ HUUB – Phoenix, Arizona


• “Visionary” – Prizes of $25,000 for the most creative and actionable ideas for creating a more inclusive R&D innovation ecosystem for the future.

◦ Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation – Lexington, Kentucky

◦ Jackson State University – Jackson, Mississippi

◦ Arrowhead Center – Las Cruces, New Mexico

◦ AWIS STEM to Market Initiative and University of Toledo – Toledo, Ohio

◦ Ventureprise at UNC Charlotte – Charlotte, North Carolina

◦ LabStart (MXV) – Sacramento, California

◦ The Fledge – Lansing, Michigan

◦ Central Maine Growth Council – Waterville, Maine

◦ MCA Innovation Center – El Paso, Texas

◦ BioGenerator – St. Louis, Missouri


Submissions were evaluated for quality and clarity by a panel of federal employees and non-federal partners with relevant expertise. Final selection was made by an interagency committee in coordination with the SBA’s Office of Innovation and Technology.

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