Maui Economic Development Board is seeking participants for the national InnovateHER Challenge. Participants for the 2016 Innovating for Women Business Challenge will meet in Kihei for three successive Thursday evenings in November to gather, pitch and present their product or service in hopes of receiving a piece of the $70,000 in prize money offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The SBA launched the InnovateHER Challenge with the goal of finding products and services across the U.S. that help impact and empower the lives of women and families. The SBA is looking for entrepreneurs to create a product or service that meets the following three criteria: have a measurable improvement in the lives of women and families (30 percent), have the potential for commercialization (40 percent) and fill a need in the marketplace (30 percent).
MEDB’s initial Bootcamp Workshop will be held on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 5:30pm at the MEDB Malcolm Center located at 1305 N. Holopono St. in Kihei; the bootcamp is designed to assist those who are interested in participating in the Challenge. The following Thursday, Nov. 12 at 5:30pm, the opening round will consist of a one-minute pitch competition. Then, on Nov. 19, finalists will have five minutes to present their final pitch to a panel of judges who will select one winner.
MEDB will submit the name of a winner along with a Nomination Package containing a business plan and other requirement information to the SBA by Wednesday, Dec. 2.
“MEDB is proud to be local host for the 2016 InnovateHER Challenge,” said Gerry Smith, MEDB Director of Business Development. “Not only does this competition encourage entrepreneurship, ingenuity, and creativity; but it also has an even broader impact by improving the lives of women and families which ultimately contributes to the economic strength of our nation.”
The SBA will review the nomination packages submitted by MEDB and other host organizations and then select up to 10 finalists whose products or services, in the SBA’s sole judgment, best satisfy the Challenge criteria and present the greatest potential for success. The finalists will be announced in January 2016 and those selected will have an opportunity to go to the Washington D.C. metro area on March 16 and 17, 2016 as part of a larger Women’s Summit.
Participants will make a marketing pitch during the Women’s Summit to a panel of expert judges drawn from the private sector. Three winners will be chosen and awarded up to $70,000 in cash prizes. 1st Place will receive $40,000, 2nd Place $20,000 and 3rd Place $10,000.
The InnovateHER challenge is open to men and women, as well as corporations, nonprofits, academic classes and other teams. Participants must be at least 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and meet other eligibility requirements are defined in the Challenge rules.
According to the SBA, women now make up nearly half of the labor force and play a critical role in our nation’s economic prosperity. As the demands on women and families grow, the need to address their current challenges increases. The InnovateHER Challenge was established to provide this platform.
For more information and to register for the 2016 InnovateHER Challenge competition on Maui, contact Gerry Smith 808-777-7550 or email Gerry@medb.org. For a complete list of the Challenge rules, visit Sba.gov/sites/default/files/resources_articles/3._Competition_Rules_1.pdf.
Image courtesy MEDB