2017 InnovateHER Business Challenge

The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced the launch of the 2017 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge, a nationwide business competition to drive attention and resources to innovative products and services that make our lives easier and longer. Competitors vie for $70,000 in prize money provided to SBA for the InnovateHER competition through a gift from the Sara Blakely Foundation.

InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge officially kicks off in winter of 2017 with local competitions to be hosted by universities, accelerators, clusters, scale-up communities, SBA resource partners, and other economic development organizations. Through the competition, SBA is seeking to amplify products or services that fill a need in the marketplace and have the potential for commercialization. SBA continues in its efforts to expand the InnovateHER Challenge, focusing on empowering more women in the investment and innovation space. Additional details on the InnovateHER can be found on the online competition platform

Entrepreneurs selected as winners in local competitions will advance to the semi-final round. From the pool of semi-finalists, SBA will select up to 10 finalists who will be invited to the National InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge to be held in mid-2017. The finalists will pitch their products and ideas to a panel of expert judges and compete for the top three awards along with $70,000 in prizes.

Judging Criteria:

Process for Host Organizations to Submit Their Local Winners: No later than May 12, 2017, host organizations must select and submit one winner from the local competition along with a Nomination Package to SBA through the website. The Nomination Package must contain all of the following:

A single cover page detailing:

  • The Name of the winning individual (in the case of a winning team, please provide the name of the team’s self-identified project lead); Company name (if applicable); Product/Service Name; Company Address, City, State, and Place of Incorporation (if applicable); Product/Service website (if applicable); telephone number of winning individual; and his/her e-mail address;
  • The host organization’s official legal name, street address, city, state, designated POC, and his/her best contact number and e-mail address (Note: this information must match the information provided by the organization as part of its request to SBA to host a local competition);
    A concise, two-sentence description of the product or service (Note: this description may also be used in promotional or informational materials in connection with InnovateHER).

The total number of applicants that participated in the host organization’s InnovateHER competition.

A Business Plan from the winning individual/team (maximum length: 20 pages, including attachments.

A signed Statement of Support prepared by the host organization that explains why the winner of the local competition best satisfied the Challenge criteria and presented the greatest potential for success (maximum length: 2 pages)

Each host organization is responsible for preparing the complete Nomination Package, including obtaining a copy of the relevant Business Plan from the winner and ensuring that the full package is submitted timely to the SBA via the “Submit Solution” tab on the left.

Register Here!