First Flight Venture Center & Eva Garland Consulting Win Growth Accelerator Fund Awards to Support Entrepreneurs

U.S. Small Business Administration selects two NC firms in Nationwide Competition.

Raleigh, NC, October 17, 2019 --( Eva Garland Consulting (EGC) and First Flight Venture Center (First Flight) have each been awarded $50,000 as part of the nationwide Growth Accelerator Fund competition held by the US Small Business Administration (SBA) to spur innovation in the US. According to the SBA, the Growth Accelerator Fund (GAF) competition winners consist of “the nation's most innovative and promising small business accelerators and incubators.” The 2019 cohort includes 60 organizations from 39 states that support high tech entrepreneurs who are potential Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) or Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant applicants. SBIR/STTR grants are the nation's largest source of early stage non-dilutive funding for start-ups and small businesses developing innovative technologies. First Flight has been a 4-time winner of the Growth Accelerator Fund competition, and this year marks EGC’s first win. First Flight and EGC are the only North Carolina recipients of the 2019 GAF awards.

First Flight will use its Growth Accelerator Fund award to support economically and socially disadvantaged businesses throughout North Carolina in applying for Defense (DoD) SBIR/STTR funding. First Flight will leverage key partnerships with organizations such as North Carolina State University’s (NCSU) Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) and EGC. NCSU’s team will provide support in identifying a pipeline of companies with technologies that are aligned with DoD SBIR/STTR topics, and EGC’s team of scientific consultants will assist selected companies in preparing DoD SBIR/STTR applications. This project is an extension of First Flight’s award-winning “LiftOff” program that helps companies submit competitive grants and win SBIR/STTR funding.

According to First Flight Board Chair, Mary Musacchia, “The Board is excited to build on the success of our LiftOff program that has enabled dozens of NC companies to access expert assistance in developing and implementing roadmaps to secure over $15.5 million in critical non-dilutive SBIR/STTR funding since 2016. The new award will expand First Flight's commitment to help early stage science-focused companies secure funding from the DoD, which provides $2 billion of SBIR/STTR funding each year.”

EGC’s Growth Accelerator Fund project will deliver a comprehensive, actively managed online space where entrepreneurs located in historically underrepresented areas can access resources to improve their chances of preparing competitive SBIR/STTR proposals. Dr. Stacey Lee, a Scientific Consultant at EGC, will oversee the development of the project.

Dr. Lee stated, “We are grateful for the opportunity to create an online community that will feature engaging and informative content about the SBIR/STTR program. The site will include regularly updated funding opportunity announcements, forums, and opportunities to Ask-The-SBIR-Expert. I look forward to leading a team of talented scientific consultants in implementing this project.”

Dr. Eva Garland, EGC CEO, added, “The Growth Accelerator award provides us with a unique opportunity to share the resources and expertise that our team has developed over the years with entrepreneurs who otherwise would not have access to these resources. We are grateful to the SBA to be a part of the nationwide network of support organizations who are providing resources to increase opportunities for participation in the SBIR/STTR program.”

Both First Flight and EGC have recently received additional awards to further their mission of supporting entrepreneurs. In September, EGC secured a 5-year contract from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to administer their Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) to eligible companies applying to the NIH SBIR/STTR program. First Flight has received US SBA Federal and State Technology (FAST) Partnership Program grants each of the past two years, and is leveraging these awards to expand its LiftOff Program so as to increase the number of competitive SBIR/STTR grants submitted by NC life sciences entrepreneurs from diverse and under-represented companies.

About First Flight Venture Center
First Flight Venture Center is a high-science, high-impact science and technology incubator located in the heart of Research Triangle Park, NC. Established in 1991, First Flight has hosted more than 400 science-focused companies, providing strategic education, tailored resources, guidance, connections and office/lab space in a 25,000 sq.ft. facility. First Flight has launched businesses that have commercialized important new science breakthroughs and disruptive technologies, while creating thousands of jobs in North Carolina. For more information, visit or view the video.

About Eva Garland Consulting
Founded in 2013, Eva Garland Consulting (EGC) supports scientists and entrepreneurs in advancing development of their innovative technologies. The firm’s team of Scientific, Grants Management, and Accounting Professionals provides deep expertise in securing and managing SBIR/STTR grants and other non-dilutive funding sources. EGC has twice been recognized on the INC 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the United States. For more information, visit

For more Information, contact:

Andrew Schwab, President, First Flight Venture Center

Eric Sims, Business Development, Eva Garland Consulting
Eva Garland Consulting
Eric Sims