Welcome To The  SBA  2017 InnovatHER Challenge


Eligibility Criteria

This Challenge is open only to:  (1) citizens or permanent residents of the United States who are at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time of their submission of an entry (or teams of such individuals); and (2) private entities, such as corporations or other organizations, that are incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United States.  Individuals submitting on behalf of corporations, nonprofits, or groups of individuals (such as an academic class or other team) must meet the eligibility requirements for individual contestants.  An individual may belong to more than one team submitting an entry in this Challenge.  SBA employees are not eligible, nor are Federal entities or Federal employees acting within the scope of their employment.  Individuals or organizations that are currently suspended or disbarred by the federal government are not eligible for this Challenge.  Individuals or organizations that are currently suspended or disbarred by the federal government are not eligible for this Challenge.

Thinkers Coworking Spaces has the right to determine the type of  competition, conducted in a manner that is consistent with  Challenge Rules, that will best identify the most innovative and entrepreneurial business ideas, including the type of application that individuals need to prepare in order to compete in challenge.

      Judging Criteria

  • Potential for commercialization
  • Impact on the lives of women and families                                                                                                                                                                                     Fills a need in the marketplace

Part II : May 26 , 5pm- 8pm  in the Thinkers Loft ( Upstairs on ) 909 Chalmers / corner of Jefferson Ave.

  1. Complete application
  2. Summit  business plan covering the contestant’s proposed product or service and must satisfy the Challenge criteria identified by SBA.
  3. A concise, two sentence description of the product or service (Note: this description may also be in promotional or informational materials in connection with InnovateHER.
  4. Pitch (4min)  for panel and Q & A with panel

The winner of the pitch will be announced

Competition will be will be judged by individuals selected by each Thinkers Coworking Spaces in their sole discretion.

  • No individual acting as a judge at any stage of this Challenge may have personal or financial interests in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of any contestant or have a familial or financial relationship with a contestant.
  • Host organizations will also publicize the competition locally.
  • Host organizations should notify SBA of the date and location of the local competitions for the purposes of publication at sba.gov/InnovateHER
  • Last date to host an completion June3,2017
  • Semi Final Round Submission of Local Winners
  • No later than June 23, 2017
  • 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 timely submitted to the SBA via the www.Challenge.govwebsite

Nomination Package to SBA through the www.Challenge.govwebsite U.S. Federal Government employees will select the semifinalists.

News Release  


SBA Launches 2017 InnovateHER Business Challenge for Innovations That Empower Women’s Lives

WASHINGTON – 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.

“The return of SBA’s InnovateHER Business Challenge presents an exciting opportunity for some of our nation’s foremost entrepreneurs and innovators,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.  “Women represent half of the U.S. workforce and control 80 percent of the nation’s purchasing power, but still make up less than five percent of venture capitalists.

I decided to launch this annual competition two years ago so that we could begin to address that opportunity gap, because when women have an equal role in the marketplace and are able to chart their own paths, our nation as a whole is stronger and more globally competitive.”

The number of women venture capital partners has dropped from 10 percent in 1999 to just six percent in 2014, a trend directly correlated to women’s access to capital; only about seven percent of venture capital funding in the United States currently goes to women-owned ventures. Gender bias is well documented in this area: a Harvard Business School study asked potential investors to rate a series of pitches, some of which were narrated by women and some by men. Even when the scripts were exactly the same, only 32 percent of people said they would fund the woman, compared to 68 percent who said they would fund the man.

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 www.challenge.gov.

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.

Over the past two decades, women entrepreneurs have been critical to growing businesses and creating jobs in cutting-edge fields such as precision medicine or cybersecurity, as well as through advances in agriculture and manufacturing.  Women across the nation will benefit from investing in research and inventions that impact their experiences.  A lack of inclusion in the innovation space leads to missed opportunities, especially when women make the majority of the buying decisions.  The SBA is encouraging organizations across the country to participate in this important business challenge.


In Take Form Innovator 2