Atlanta-area women entrepreneurs compete locally, and then nationally, for visibility and prize money


The hunt is on for innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families. Women entrepreneurs based in Metro Atlanta and nearby areas have the opportunity to submit their ideas and compete against their peers in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 2017 InnovateHER Business Challenge, and the local winner receives business mentoring before heading to the semifinal national competition round this summer. Competitors will vie for the top three awards, which total $70,000.

The InnovateHER Atlanta competition is hosted by CEO School for Women™ in cooperation with the Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Women’s Business Center. Both organizations will be offering free webinars, workshops and coaching to help entrants prepare to compete. This is the third year of competition, and the prize money provided to the SBA was given through a gift from the Sara Blakely Foundation.

Nancy Chorpenning, founder of CEO School for Women, likens the local competition to a “dolphin tank” rather than Shark Tank, the television show where entrepreneurs make pitches to gain capital and mentoring for their businesses. According to Chorpenning, a business owner receiving funding from the first pitch is rare. “This is an opportunity to get really helpful, clear, and kind feedback,” she said. “You’ve got to be in it to win it. Planning is a practice and a process; it is the process that is most important.”

The deadline to submit an entry for the local Atlanta competition is May 22, 2017. “Pitch Night” will be held May 25 to determine the local winner who will advance to the national competition. That local winner will be announced May 31. The InnovateHER Atlanta winner will receive expert coaching and mentoring worth over $5,000 for her product presentation before it is submitted to the national competition in late June. The SBA will name its 10 semifinalists from InnovateHER competition is nationwide on July 31, 2017, with the top three winners announced in September.

As the demands on women and families grow, the need for products and services that address these unique challenges increase. InnovateHER provides a platform to fulfill that need. Competitors must envision or have a product or service that meets the following three criteria: has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, has commercial potential and fills an unmet need in the marketplace.

For more information or to register for the InnovateHER Atlanta challenge, visit Use code ACE for a 25% on the entry fee.



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