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SBA Launches Second Round of InnovateHER

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Created on August 5, 2015

The U.S. Small Business Administration announced the launch of the 2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit, including a nationwide women’s business competition to highlight innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and their families.

“The SBA is pleased to announce this second round of our InnovateHER Business Challenge, building on the success of our 2015 challenge where we engaged over 100 organizations and reached over 1,000 entrepreneurs across the nation,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.  “We have expanded on our pilot InnovateHER Women’s Business Challenge to include a women’s summit that will make the competition more impactful.”

Earlier this year during the SBA’s InnovateHER Business Challenge’s first round, up-and-coming Back2Family, owned by Ty Delley of Lincoln, took home the nod as Nebraska’s winner. 

Back2Family, as Delley explained, doesn't offer speedy meals-in-a-box or a gimmicky time management app for a smartphone.  Instead, families get personal, face-to-face service from hand-selected “Family Partners,” with a back-up standing by just in case, with specific talents matched to their needs, interests and activities. 

"I know the challenge parents face every evening when school gets out and when parents get home," said Delley, who started the business two years ago. "We even help acclimate families who have adopted children from foreign countries.  "Rather than race through the to-do list every night, we give them the chance to have that focused time they need."

The InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit will kick off in the fall of 2015 with local competitions hosted by universities, accelerators, clusters, scale-up communities, SBA’s resource partners, and other organizations.  The SBA is seeking to unearth products or services that have a measurable impact on women and their families, fill a need in the marketplace, and have the potential for commercialization. Women control 80 percent of the purchasing power in this country; yet make up less than five percent of venture capitalists. This is why SBA is launching the expanded InnovateHER Challenge, which focuses on empowering more women in the investment space and in the innovation space.

Women across this country will benefit from investing in research and inventions that impact their experiences at home, in the workplace and even at the doctor’s office. A lack of inclusion in the innovation space leads to missed opportunities, especially when women make the majority of the buying decisions. That is why SBA is encouraging organizations across the country to participate in this important Challenge.
Further details, including date, time and location of the InnovateHER challenge in Nebraska will be forthcoming.

Those entrepreneurs selected as winners of their local competitions will advance to the semi-final round.  From the semi-finalist pool, the SBA will select up to 10 finalists who will be invited to the National InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit in March in Washington, D.C. during Women’s History Month.  The finalists will pitch their products and ideas to a panel of expert judges and compete for $70,000 in prize money provided by Microsoft.

For more information on the challenge, including challenge rules, visit