October 22, 2015

SBDC hosting first round of InnovateHER Challenge

The competition is on to find the most innovative products and services designed specifically to have a positive impact on the lives of women and families. 

The InnovateHER Challenge is a national contest and the university’s Illinois Small Business Development Center is hosting a first-round competition with the winner advancing toward the final competition where thousands of dollars in prize money is up for grabs. 

The competition at SIU involves three steps. Contestants must meet with a counselor from SIU’s SBDC by Friday, Oct. 23 and then submit a business plan between Monday, Oct. 26 and Nov. 16. Then, each contestant will present a short “pitch” for his or her business beginning at 10 a.m. on Nov. 17 at the center, located in the Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center at 1740 Innovation Drive in Carbondale. A panel of local entrepreneurs and regional stakeholders will serve as judges for the competition. 

The winner will receive a prize package that includes cash and professional business consulting services. The top contestant will also advance to the semi-final round of the InnovateHER Challenge. Ultimately, 10 finalists from around the country will travel to Washington, D.C., for the InnovateHER 2016: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit, where they will vie for $70,000 in prize money provided by Microsoft.  The finals will take place March 16-17, 2016. 

For more information, or to schedule a meeting with an SBDC counselor to begin the entry process, call 618/536-2424.  

The U.S. Small Business Administration is the event sponsor. Additional details about the SBA and the InnovateHER competition are available online at www.sba.gov/InnovateHER.  

The Illinois Small Business Development Center/International Trade Center is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and hosted by SIU. For more information about the center or the many services it provides to new and expanding businesses, visit www.sbdc.siu.edu, call 618/536-2424 or email sbdc@siu.edu