Health Wildcatters’ WISH Initiative Wins $50K From a U.S. SBA Accelerator Competition

Health Wildcatters' Women in Science and Healthcare (WISH) initiative will receive a $50,000 cash prize from the SBA competition "for its impactful and inclusive approach to nurturing a collaborative national innovation ecosystem to advance small business research and development from ideas to the market."

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced Thursday that Dallas-based Health Wildcatters is a Stage One winner of the agency’s 2024 Growth Accelerator Fund Competition.

Health Wildcatters is a seed accelerator exclusively focused on healthcare, with 109 portfolio companies that have raised collectively over $250 million across the last 11 years.

Health Wildcatters’ Women in Science and Healthcare (WISH) initiative will receive a $50,000 cash prize from the SBA competition “for its impactful and inclusive approach to nurturing a collaborative national innovation ecosystem to advance small business research and development from ideas to the market.”

GAFC 2024 aims to catalyze strategic ecosystem partnerships to build community and organizational capacity for the successful launch, growth, and scale of STEM-based entrepreneurs. The competition does this by fostering connections between entrepreneurs, mentors, partners, philanthropies, corporations, investors, and other shared resources.

Health Wildcatters’ Women in Science and Healthcare (WISH) initiative was honored with a $50,000 prize. [Photo: Health Wildcatters]

“With the transformative SBA GAFC award, we launch a mission to catalyze innovation in healthcare and science, empowering female entrepreneurs by expanding the WISH network regionally, engaging partners, and providing local universities and students access to the expanding WISH network and resources powered by Health Wildcatters” said Hubert Zajicek, MD, the organization’s co-founder and CEO and one of its partners.

Health Wildcatters said its award-winning model will assist in launching the pilot WISH program to expand access to the innovation economy through the WISH Network in Healthcare Entrepreneurship, which focuses on women entrepreneurs by expanding programming to university partners in North Texas.

Launched in August 2022, the WISH Network has over 250 regularly engaged participants.

“We hope to continue to expand to universities in cultivating an ecosystem of mentorship, inspiration, and resources for female entrepreneurs regionally and help foster the future of Healthcare and Science.” said WISH Director Jovelyn Castellanos, MHA.

Health Wildcatters said that from inequity and climate change to supporting national defense and community-driven economic prosperity, “the real opportunity is now to build up innovation ecosystems.” The organization added that it’s “eager to deepen its collaborative impact in sustainability and biotechnology.”

How the SBA winners were selected

The SBA received Stage One submissions for the competition from a broad range of organizations “with a collaborative vision to nurture a national ecosystem for equitable access to entrepreneurship,” Health Wildcatters noted.  Winners of Stage One were selected through a multi-tier review panel process with experts in entrepreneurship, business, innovation, and strategic planning both inside and out of the federal government.

On to Stage Two

Next comes Stage Two of the competition, which offers an additional $50,000 to $150,000 in cash prizes for Growth Accelerator Partnerships. To learn more about Stage Two opportunities and to access the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition Guidelines, you can go here

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