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ACU Springboard set to award $40K to local businesses

Applications are open during March for Abilene Christian University’s annual Springboard competition through the Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy. This year the competition will take place virtually and, in addition to business start-ups, will include those needing to adapt to COVID-19.

“The competition’s focus has always been on early-stage businesses, but this year we also want to recognize and support the ways some established ones are pivoting in response to the pandemic,” said Jim Litton, director of the Griggs Center.

The Springboard competition awards up to $40,000 in funding across three different categories:

  • Concept ($1,000 per team) – Provide entrepreneurs at the idea stage with funding and expert help to use for prototyping, testing customer demand, mentoring and other resources.
  • Launch ($3,000-$5,000 per team) – Promote and reward aspiring entrepreneurs with an early stage venture (one year or less) that has demonstrated customer traction and potential success.
  • Grow (up to $15,000 per team) – Support young companies (three years or less) that have proven early success with funding to help scale their concept to the next level.

Each award category is designed to support young companies at different stages and levels of success, but this year exceptions will be made for more established businesses having to significantly adjust their operations due to COVID-19.

Springboard is sponsored in part by the Development Corporation of Abilene and Workforce Solutions of West Central Texas. The competition began more than a decade ago to encourage and support entrepreneurship at ACU, in Abilene and across the Big Country. Since its launch, Springboard has awarded more than $1 million to aspiring entrepreneurs across the region. 

For additional information and to apply, visit or email Applications are due by March 31. Winners will be announced in late April.

About the Griggs Center

The Griggs Center for Entrepreneurship and Philanthropy at ACU is focused on developing an entrepreneurial and giving spirit throughout the Big Country.  The center was launched in 2011 and has received national awards for its student programs and engagement on Abilene Christian’s campus. Through Springboard and other efforts, the center has also partnered with various organizations to promote, connect and equip the regional entrepreneurship community.

Abilene Christian is the highest-ranking university in Texas in a 2020 U.S. News & World Report benchmark focused on student success. ACU achieved Top 20 status in three of eight high-impact categories among 1,500 universities evaluated for “A Focus on Student Success” and is the only Texas institution to be ranked in five of the categories. Learn more at

— Wendy Kilmer

Mar. 8, 2021

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