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(MANCHESTER, NH) – At the Alpha Loft in Manchester today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, hosted a start-up business roundtable discussion with the U.S. Small Business Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

The event provided an opportunity for New Hampshire start-up incubators to learn more about the support and resources available from the Small Business Administration, which recently announced the Growth Accelerator Fund competition to award $4 million for small business startups. The fund will award prizes of $50,000 each to accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, shared tinker-spaces and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models. Awards will be made by panels containing expert judges from the private and public sectors.

“You never know where the next small startup with a game-changing idea will get off the ground.  By investing in collaborative environments, we can enhance New Hampshire’s creative spaces and help our entrepreneurs launch tomorrow’s big ideas. The Small Business Administration’s Growth Accelerator Fund is a great opportunity for startup businesses in New Hampshire, and I’m so glad that Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet could join us to discuss the program with Granite State entrepreneurs here in Manchester,” said Shaheen. “As the Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee in the Senate, I will continue working to make sure New Hampshire entrepreneurs have access to the capital they need to turn their ideas into businesses.”

During the hour-long event, Senator Shaheen and Administrator Contreras-Sweet led a discussion with participants who are focused on growing new small businesses in New Hampshire. In addition to talking about the new Growth Accelerator Fund, participants also shared their past experiences working with the Small Business Administration.

"The SBA is empowering accelerators and startups that are on the cutting edge of successful, innovative new endeavors," said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. "We’ve seen the enormous success of the accelerator model in communities like Silicon Valley. We believe we can export this type of sophisticated support structure across the country to places like New Hampshire, to help start-ups become commercially viable and create jobs more quickly. These accelerators encompass my work in making the SBA stand for smart, bold and accessible, and I’m pleased to work with Senator Shaheen in this endeavor.”

Senator Shaheen has served on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship since her election to the Senate in 2008. As the Ranking Member, she shares leadership of the Committee with Chairman David Vitter (R-LA).