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Office of Women's Business Ownership

2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit

2016 InnovateHER:

Innovating for Women Business

Challenge and Summit


Did you know...?  57% of working age women participate in the labor force.  74% of employed women work full-time.  70% of working women have children under 18 years old. -2014 US Dept of Labor StatisticsBuilding on the success of the SBA’s inaugural 2015 InnovateHER Business Challenge, which we piloted in early 2015, Administrator Contreras-Sweet and the Office of Women’s Business Ownership are pleased to announce the launch of the SBA’s InnovateHER 2016: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit.  The InnovateHER Challenge is a national prize competition aimed at unearthing products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and families through local business competitions that culminate in a live pitch Final Round. During the InnovateHER Finals, up to 10 Finalists will compete for the Top Three cash prizes totaling $70,000 provided by Microsoft.  This year, the national InnovateHER Finals will be held on March 16 & 17, 2016 in the Washington, D.C. metro area as part of a larger Women’s Summit.  For sponsorship opportunities related to the Women’s Summit, please contact us at womenbusiness@sba.gov.

We know that our workforce looks very different from 50 years ago. Women now make up nearly half of the labor force and play a critical role in our nation’s economic prosperity. Most children live in households where all parents work. And as our population ages, families are increasingly caring for aging parents while balancing the needs of work and home. As demands on women and families grow, the need for products and services that address unique challenges increases. This Challenge provides that platform.


**HOST ORGANIZATIONS** Process for Submitting Your Local Winner Nomination Package


Challenge Criteria

The InnovateHER Challenge provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase products and services that:

  • Have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families (30%)
  • Have the potential for commercialization (40%), and
  • Fill a need in the marketplace (30%).

Participants must be at least 18 years of age, U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and meet other eligibility requirements as defined in the Challenge Rules.

How It Works

Do you have a product or service that fits the criteria of the InnovateHER Challenge? Would you like to compete in 2016 InnovateHER local competition?

Entrepreneurs that meet the Eligibility requirements can compete in the initial round by entering a local InnovateHER competition. To find a local competition that may be happening in your area, refer to the local competition host map above or contact us at www.womenbusiness@sba.gov.

Note that contestants cannot submit entries directly to SBA.


View a map of the 2016 InnovateHER host organizations
If your organization has submitted a request to host but you’ve not yet received confirmation, or you’re looking for a competition in your area, please stay tuned.  SBA will continue to update this map as hosts and locations are confirmed.


How to Compete

2015 InnovateHER Winners!


More Questions? 

Refer to these FAQs.

Contact us at womenbusiness@sba.gov

Listen to this audio recording of our InnovateHER Stakeholder Call held on August 11, 2015.

Cosponsorship authorization No. 15-6050-169.  SBA’s participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products, or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.  Contact: Heather Z Young, SBA, womenBusiness@sba.gov