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2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge

About the Challenge
InnovateHER: SBA is searching for innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families.

Posted By: Small Business Administration
Category: Ideas
Partners: Microsoft Corporation, Association of Womens Business Centers
Partnership With: Small Business Administration
Submission Dates: 12 a.m. ET, Aug 05, 2015 - 11:59 p.m. ET, Dec 04, 2015 Winners Announced: Mar 17, 2016

InnovateHER is a cross-cutting prize competition to unearth innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families.

To learn more about the Challenge and Rules, visit sba.gov/InnovateHER.

How to Enter

Process for Host Organizations to Submit Their Local Winners:

No later than December 3, 2015, approved host organizations that have held an InnovateHER competition must select and submit one winner from the local competition along with a Nomination Package to SBA through this website by clicking on the “Submit Solution” tab on the left. The Nomination Package must contain all of the following:

  1. A single cover page detailing –

(i)    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;

(ii)   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);

(iii) A concise, two-sentence description of the product or service (Note: this description may also be also in promotional or informational materials in connection with InnovateHER).

(iv) The total number of applicants that participated in your InnovateHER competition.

  1. A Business Plan from the winning individual/team (maximum length: 20 pages, including attachments)
  2. 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 timely submitted to the SBA via the “Submit Solution” tab on the left.

46 Discussions for "2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge"

  • Tiger Woods got a lot of publicity from the cheating scandal. Bad publicity is still good publicity, ya know? He became very popular by cheating on his wife. People who have never watched golf found out about him. Also, another popular man of your top 10 sports stars is lance armstrong. He defeated cancer and that got him popularity.

  • Having “leftover” on your PC/Laptop despite claims from Management Software that ALL is being taken care of.I hope I can come across less of such software whose main attributes includes duping interested individuals to part with their money to purchase something that does very little despite the initial claims!

  • Awsome top from tea towel. Only You! I love the negotiating tactics, of promising hippy days out for the fur jacket and they knock 40% off!! I often give a discount if i really feel its going to a good home, but festivals and camper vans!!!Tamaras parcel, is jaw droppingly suited to you. I can't wait to see where you pick up the fabrics for the new patterns. Tarpaulin? Scaffold net? roof felt? ;)

  • As a host location and trying to submit the information for our winner. I do not understand what an OMB Max account is and where to post. I have all documents but cant seem to reach anyone to know how to post. We have tried multiple site and links, no success to submit our location winner before deadline of 11:59 est.

  • Show Replies [+]
    Catherine Kennedy
    I am trying to submit the information as a host for my winner. I do not understand what an OMB Max account is and where to post. I have all documents but cant seem to reach anyone to know how to post. Thank you Catherine Kennedy 206 963 9866 Seattle Washington

  • dgolik
    Hi there. I am an SBA employee who was contacted by a local group that sponsored a challenge. They are prepared to submit their winner's materials, however they do not have an OMB Max account. We contacted OMB just now and were told that OMB is unable to establish an account for them this afternoon which would preclude them from submitting a winner. Is there an email address to which they can provide their winner's information and package? -Dawn Golik, Deputy District Director, Fresno District Office (dawn.golik@sba.gov or Phone (559) 487-5791 x.2705)

  • Show Replies [+]
    Rosetta Shaw
    Hello, I marked my submission as not hidden. I can only see a couple of other not hidden options and mine appeared among them. later in the same day however it was no longer there and was marked as hidden when I went to edit. Is there some way to make it permanently visible? Is there some reason there are so few visible submissions? Thanks, Rosetta

    • Reply
      hyoung
      Good morning Rosetta, We sent an email to follow up, but wanted to let you know that your submission was changed to "Hidden" to ensure no proprietary information in the business plan was made public at this time. We will follow up with a phone call. The InnovateHER Team

      • Reply
        Thanks, I checked in with the entrepreneurs and they would like the submission to be public. They do not feel that any of the information contained in the plan is proprietary. Can we leave it visible? Rosetta

  • Show Replies [+]
    shaunuci2
    Hi there, We attempted to submit our nomination earlier, but didn't receive a confirmation e-mail. I ended up re-registering using my personal account and tried to submit, but it says that the competition has closed. This was at 9:30 pm PST. I understand that the submissions need to be in "no later than December 3," but since it is a national competition with no definitive time zone listed, we didn't realize it would cut off exactly at midnight somewhere else in the country. We've submitted our nomination package to our local SBA representatives. We will be super disappointed if they are not accepted. Please let me know ASAP what the result of this will be. Thanks!

    • Reply
      twhite
      You CAN review your submissions and make changes within the allowed timeframe. Here's how: 1.) Log in with the username and password your created at registration. 2.) Once logged in, and you see your username in the navigation next to See How It Works, click your username and select "my profile" from the subsequent dropdown menu. 3.) You should now see a private, default profile created for you at the time you registered. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see all of your previous submissions in the "My Solutions" tab. ("Hidden" indicates that you have elected to keep your submission private.) 4.) Click to select your submission. Once on that submission page, you should see an option to edit. Once you are in editing mode, you can update the text within the description and upload additional media files. You'll want to make sure to save and resubmit. To confirm your files have successfully been added to the submission, you can always go back to check the submission in your profile area. Good luck!

  • Show Replies [+]
    hyoung
    Only 3 files are required for this competition. Once you’ve held your local competition and selected a winner, you must submit a Nomination Package to SBA no later than December 3, 2015 at www.Challenge.gov that contains all of the following information: a. A single cover page detailing – (i) 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; (ii) 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); (iii) A concise, two-sentence description of the product or service (Note: this description may also be also in promotional or informational materials in connection with InnovateHER). b. A Business Plan from the winning individual/team (maximum length: 20 pages, including attachments); and c. 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 timely submitted

  • hyoung
    These are all wonderful questions and we have answered each of them in line below: Just to confirm, an individual can submit a proposal and it does not have to be a company (but a company can also participate)? Any person may enter, either individually or as part of a team/business/organization, to compete so long as they fulfill the requirements of the Challenge and meet the qualifications. Are there any limits with regard the annual revenue of the company/time the company has been in business? No. We are looking for new and innovative products and services focused on improving the lives of women and their families We are opening the competition up to the NY Metropolitan region. Are there any geographical limitations for local hosts? No. You may expand or limit your reach as you wish. The teams can consist of men, correct? Yes. Is there any specific format required of the business plan (besides no more than 20 pages)? No, but there are formats and suggestions available on the SBA page that can be used as references. The local winners go to the semi-final round and then the SBA selects that pool of applicants for the finals, correct? Yes. We are expecting to receive between 150-200 “semi-finalist” packages from the local host events (like yours). A judging team of business professionals and SBA officials will narrow down to the 10 National Finalists announced mid-January. Does the SBA need to approve a press release that Hofstra sends out? No, but all logo usage must follow guidelines as outlined in Section 8 of the guiding cosponsorship agreement with Springboard Enterprises. Can we use the SBA logos in our press release and on our website? Yes, but all logo usage must follow guidelines as outlined in Section 8 of the guiding cosponsorship agreement with Springboard Enterprises. Can the submission be both high-tech and low-tech? Are there any restrictions with regards to sector? There are no restrictions other than the product or service being focused on improving the lives of women and their families. The product does not have to be on the market yet, correct, it can just be an idea? The product or service does not need to be on the market yet and can still be in design stage. Can students participate (if they are over 18 years of age)? Yes.

  • Show Replies [+]
    Catherine Collins
    Hi There, I am trying to upload a nomination from Vermont Center for Emerging Technologies for the InnovateHER challenge that was held in Vermont. Where do I attach documents for the business plan, cover letter and nomination letter? Thanks, Catherine

    • Reply
      heather young
      Good afternoon Ms. Collins, Just above the Description area you should see a link for Add Media. When you select this you will be prompted to upload your files at this time. The InnovateHER Team

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Solutions View as List
Sustainable Valley Technology Group
The Secret Book Club: An online storytelling game.
HOST ORGANIZATION NAME HERE
Type a 2-3 sentence description of the winning business/product here.  Add the required files us
Rules

Subject of Challenge: The SBA is looking for innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families. Contestants must develop a product or service that meets the following three Challenge criteria:

  • Has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families (30%);
  • Has the potential for commercialization (40%); and
  • Fills a need in the marketplace (30%)
  1. Eligibility Rules for Participating in the Challenge: 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.
  2. Registration Process for Participants: The Challenge launches on August 4, 2015. The initial round of the Challenge will take the form of local competitions that will be run across the country beginning no earlier than August 5, 2015 and ending no later than December 2, 2015 by host organizations such as universities, accelerators, clusters, scale-up communities, SBA Resource Partners, and Microsoft stores. For more information regarding these local competitions as it becomes available, please visit sba.gov/InnovateHER. SBA will continue to update the list of local competitions as details are confirmed. While these local competitions will be identified as part of the national InnovateHER Challenge and will be conducted in a manner that is consistent with these Challenge Rules, they will be administered solely by the local host organizations and will be judged by individuals selected by each host in their sole discretion. At a minimum, however, each application must contain a business plan covering the contestant’s proposed product or service and must satisfy the Challenge criteria identified by SBA in Paragraph 1 above.

Following the completion of the local competitions, each host organization will identify one winner that will advance to the semi-final round of the Challenge. For a winning entry that has been submitted by a team of competitors, the host organization must list the team’s self-identified project leader as the winner who will advance to the semi-final round. No later than December 3, 2015, each host organization will submit a nomination package to www.Challenge.gov containing the winning individual/team’s business plan and other required information to SBA, which will administer the semi-final and final rounds of the Challenge. Selection as a semi-finalist following a local competition is the only means of registering for the Challenge. All nominations will be screened by SBA for eligibility. Contestants cannot submit entries directly to SBA.

  1. Prize for Winners: Cash prizes totaling $70,000 will be awarded to the three highest-rated contestants in the final round of the Challenge in the following amounts:
  • 1st Place – $40,000
  • 2nd Place – $20,000
  • 3rd Place – $10,000

For winning entries submitted by teams of competitors, prize money will be awarded to the self-identified project leader for distribution to the rest of the team at their discretion and independently from SBA.

  1. Process for Host Organizations:  Each host organization will determine the type of local competition, conducted in a manner that is consistent with these 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. At a minimum, however, each application must contain a business plan covering the contestant’s proposed product or service and must satisfy the Challenge criteria identified by SBA in Paragraph 1 above. The local competitions will be administered solely by the local host organizations and will be judged by individuals selected by each host in their sole discretion. However, 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 www.sba.gov/InnovateHER.
  • Semi-Final Round – Submission of Local Winners – No later than December 3, 2015, host organizations must select and submit one winner from the local competition along with a Nomination Package to SBA through the Challenge.gov website. The Nomination Package must contain all of the following:
    1. A single cover page detailing –

(i)    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;

(ii)   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);

(iii) A concise, two-sentence description of the product or service (Note: this description may also be also in promotional or informational materials in connection with InnovateHER).

  1. A Business Plan from the winning individual/team (maximum length: 20 pages, including attachments)
  2. 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 timely submitted to the SBA via the www.Challenge.gov website.

  1. Selection of Winners:
  • Semi-Final Round – In the semi-final round of the Challenge, SBA will review the semi-finalist nomination packages submitted by the local competition host organizations and select up to 10 Finalists whose products or services, in SBA’s sole judgment, best satisfy the Challenge criteria identified in Paragraph 1 of these Rules and present the greatest potential for success. In addition, in order to achieve nationwide distribution of prizes for the purpose of stimulating the growth and development of new products and services across the entire United States and across a diverse range of project types, SBA may take into account nominees’ geographic locations when selecting winners, including support to geographic regions that traditionally have limited access to capital, as well as diversity in the types of products and services. Finalists selected by SBA will be required to sign a form certifying that they meet the eligibility requirements identified in Paragraph 2 above and have complied with these Challenge Rules.
  • Final RoundEach finalist will be offered the opportunity to participate in the InnovateHER Final Challenge to be held on March 17, 2016 in the Washington, D.C. metro area where they will make a live marketing pitch to a panel of expert judges drawn from the private sector. The panel of judges will select the three finalists whose pitches, in their sole judgment, best satisfy the Challenge criteria and present the greatest potential for success and rank them in descending order. Finalists will be responsible for covering their own travel costs for the national competition.
  1. Applicable Law: This Challenge is being conducted by SBA pursuant to the America Competes Act (15 U.S.C. § 3719) and is subject to all applicable federal laws and regulations. By participating in this Challenge, each contestant gives its full and unconditional agreement to the Challenge Rules and the related administrative decisions described in this notice, which are final and binding in all matters related to the Challenge. A contestant’s eligibility for a prize award is contingent upon their fulfilling all requirements identified in this notice. Publication of this notice is not an obligation of funds on the part of SBA. All prize monies are funded through private sector sources. The private sector source is liable to the winners for payment of the prize. SBA, however, will coordinate with the private sector source regarding instructions for award of the prize purse. SBA reserves the right to modify or cancel this Challenge, in whole or in part, at any time prior to the award of prizes.
  2. Conflicts of Interest: 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.
  3. Intellectual Property Rights: All entries submitted in response to this Challenge will remain the sole intellectual property of the individuals or organizations that developed them. By registering and entering a submission, each contestant represents and warrants that it is the sole author and copyright owner of the submission, and that the submission is an original work of the contestant, or if the submission is a work based on an existing application, that the contestant has acquired sufficient rights to use and to authorize others to use the submission, and that the submission does not infringe upon any copyright or upon any other third party rights of which the contestant is aware.
  4. Publicity Rights: By registering and entering a submission, each contestant consents to SBA’s and its agents’ use, in perpetuity, of its name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, and/or hometown and state information for promotional or informational purposes through any form of media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.
  5. Liability and Insurance Requirements: By registering and entering a submission, each contestant agrees to assume any and all risks and waive claims against the Federal Government and its related entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in this Challenge, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises through negligence or otherwise. By registering and entering a submission, each contestant further represents and warrants that it possesses sufficient liability insurance or financial resources to cover claims by a third party for death, bodily injury, or property damage or loss resulting from any activity it carries out in connection with its participation in this Challenge, or claims by the Federal Government for damage or loss to Government property resulting from such an activity. Contest winners should be prepared to demonstrate proof of insurance or financial responsibility in the event SBA deems it necessary.
  6. Record Retention and Disclosure: All nomination packages and related materials provided to SBA in the semi-final and final rounds of the Challenge automatically become SBA records and cannot be returned. Contestants should identify any confidential commercial information contained in their entries at the time of their submission to the local Host Organization. SBA will notify contestants of any Freedom of Information Act requests the Agency receives related to their submissions in accordance with 13 C.F.R. part 102.
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