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SBA InnovateHER Business Challenge opens; local company won last year

The U.S. Small Business Administration has launched the 2017 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge, a nationwide business competition to drive attention and resources to innovative products and services that make lives easier and longer.

sbalogoLast year, a Southwestern Illinois company, Pacidose, won a $10,000 third-place award in a national business competition highlighting cutting-edge entrepreneurs. Dr. Agnes Scoville, of St. Louis, won for Pacidose, a product used to administer medicine to infants, developed by her firm, Scoville & Company. Scoville won the competition after earlier winning the Metro East Startup Challenge sponsored by the Small Businss Development Center at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

In the national competition, people 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.”

InnovateHER 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. If your organization is interested in hosting an event, send a written request to by March 10.

   From the Illinois Business Journal

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