Fort Wayne Business Named National Finalist in SBA Innovate HER Business Challenge

Release Date: 
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Advisory Date: 
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Laura Schafsnitz, SBA Indiana District Office Public Affairs,

On October 5, 2017, SBA Administrator Linda McMahon announced the 2017 finalists of the SBA InnovateHER Business Challenge, which includes Fort Wayne entrepreneurs Marna Pacheco and Susan Hickok of CapeAble Sensory Products.  Pacheco and Hickok will compete against nine other finalists in the InnovateHER Business Challenge National Pitch Competition October 26th in Washington D.C.  Finalists compete for the top three awards totaling $70,000 in prize money provided by the Sara Blakely Foundation.

“It is always fantastic to see an Indiana small business recognized nationally,” said SBA Indiana District Director Stacey Poynter. “I commend CapeAble for their innovative products and progress they’ve made with their company. I also thank our partners at The NIIC for hosting and the InnovateHER Northeast Indiana Pitch Competition Planning Committee for such a valuable competition last spring.”

CapeAble Sensory Products produces weighted blankets for better sleep, fashionable weighted wearables and sensory-enrichment tools. “In today’s overscheduled and hectic world, CapeAble’s innovative products provide something that everyone needs: comfort, focus and hope,” said Pacheco. “We refer to our exclusive, patent-pending design as the science behind the comfort.”

The company began their journey towards the National Pitch Competition when they won the InnovateHER Northeast Indiana Competition at The NIIC Cole Auditorium in Fort Wayne April 26, 2017.  The local competition was hosted by the Fort Wayne Chapter of SCORE in partnership with The NIIC, Northeast ISBDC, Brightpoint, the CDC of Northeast Indiana, and the WEOC.  Pacheco and Hickok credit these, and other SBA resources in their community with giving them the counseling, mentorship, and encouragement they need to succeed.

"We feel fortunate that our business is located in Northeast Indiana," Hickok said.  "The variety of available resources, and the willingness of the local business community to come alongside us has been invaluable in developing and growing our business."

For more information on the SBA InnovateHER Business Challenge visit .  For more information on SBA programs, resources, and events throughout Indiana sign up for email update at and follow us on Twitter @SBA_Indiana.  For media inquiries, please contact SBA Indiana District Office Public Affairs Specialist Laura Schafsnitz at