Carmel Valley Resident – Winner of SBA’s Third Annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition

Carmel Valley San Diego Community | Julia McCann | Dr Silvia Mah

Dr. Silvia Mah /Hera Labs

Carmel Valley resident Silvia Mah and Hera Labs, a female-focused business accelerator in San Diego was just named one of 17 winners nationwide (and the only winner from San Diego) in the Small Business Administration’s third annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. This is the second year that Hera Labs has won this honor. The SBA issued the following press release: 

WASHINGTON, Oct. 31, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced it will provide a total of $850,000 to 17 new winners of SBA’s third annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.  Each organization will receive a cash prize of $50,000 from the SBA.  This announcement brings the total number of 2016 winners to 85 across 37 states and the District of Columbia.  The additional funding will boost the economic impact of accelerators and brings the 2016 award total to $4.25 million.

“Although an overused phrase, we feel like all of our entrants are winners.  The accelerator and incubator platforms across our nation are having a huge positive impact on business initiations, incubations and outcomes.  We are proud of our 85 winners and know that these awards will be put to good use,” said Mark Walsh, SBA Associate Administrator for Investment and Innovation.

This competition draws attention and funding to parts of the country with gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. While there are entrepreneurial activities occurring nationwide, some are better supported by private sector ecosystems than others. Through these efforts, SBA has created connective tissue among the over 200 winning entrepreneurial ecosystems now part of the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition program.

In accepting funds, accelerators commit to quarterly reporting for one year, including jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained. These metrics will allow SBA to continue building its database of accelerators and develop long-term relationships in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities.

Applications in 2016 were judged by more than 100 experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, capital formation and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector.

The additional Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Winners are:

  • Seed Spot (Phoenix, Ariz.)
  • Urban Workshop (Costa Mesa, Calif.)
  • Hera Labs (San Diego, Calif.)
  • XLR8UH (Honolulu, Hawaii)
  • Windy City Harvest (Glencoe, Ill.)
  • NIIC (Fort Wayne, Ind.)
  • Fab Lab ICC (Independence, Kan.)
  • Propeller (New Orleans, La.)
  • Cohab (Shreveport, La.)
  • NEON Business Incubator (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  • Prosper Women Entrepreneurs (St. Louis, Mo.)
  • First Flight Venture Center (Durham, N.C.)
  • Year of the Startup (Omaha, Neb.)
  • The Mill (Las Vegas, Nev.)
  • University of Toledo Launchpad Incubator (Toledo, Ohio)
  • Local Works (Charleston, S.C.)
  • Manufacturing Diversity Institute (Milwaukee, Wis.).

For more information about accelerators, the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition and a full list of award winners past and present, visit:


The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) was created in 1953 and since January 13, 2012 has served as a Cabinet-level agency of the federal government to aid, counsel, assist and protect the interests of small business concerns, to preserve free competitive enterprise and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of our nation.  The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses.  Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, the SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.

Contacts: Tiffani S. Clements (202) 401-0035
Internet Address:
Release Number: 16-80

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SOURCE U.S. Small Business Administration

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About Hera Labs:

Hera Labs is a business accelerator for female business owners led by fellow entrepreneurs and advocates for female entrepreneurial and leadership success. The mission of Hera Labs is to equip and propel female founders to successfully launch, grow, and sustain their businesses efficiently and effectively, thus positively impacting the local, national, and global economy. Hera Labs is a sister organization of coworking space Hera Hub.

Additionally, the City of San Diego recently awarded Hera Labs with a grant for their work to boost women-led businesses. Hera Labs offers programs like “Idea Potential Lab” which lets budding entrepreneurs, led by an instructor, flesh out their business ideas through a 4-day workshop. Monetta Plassmeyer, a military veteran-turned-entrepreneur, can speak to the momentum she’s gained from the Hera Labs “Scale Intensive,” a 12-week program that teaches business owners how to scale their organization. For more information, visit Hera Labs. 

About Hera Hub:

Since its inception, Hera Hub has provided a platform and presence for female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses. We believe in building a community that provides an avenue for support, collaboration, connections and coworking for women to invest in women. We have three San Diego locations and are expanding nationally through franchising; our first east coast location is in Washington DC. For more information about finding productive workspaces, visit For franchise opportunities, visit Hera Hub Franchise.


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