Women are always on the hunt for ways to make their lives easier. Yet even the most innovative companies seem to forget about women’s needs while developing new products. (Remember: Apple took nearly a year to include a reproductive health tracker in HealthKit.) Thankfully, however, some entrepreneurs are ahead of the curve—and the InnovateHER Challenge wants to celebrate them.
The event, in its second year, invites small businesses to showcase innovative products and strategies that enhance or improve the lives of women and families. Representatives from each business make a case for its product or invention in front of a panel of judges, and a winner is chosen based on its relevance for women and potential for commercialization. Bethany Edwards of LIA Diagnostics won last year’s competition with a flushable, eco-friendly pregnancy test.
This year’s statewide competition in Pueblo will showcase eight local businesses, all of which will be judged by a panel of five, including Colorado Small Business Development Center director Kelly Manning and Colorado Enterprise Fund project manager Anne Misak. The winner will receive a cash prize of $500 to help with travel expenses to the national competition in Washington, D.C. in March.
Caroline Trani, executive director of the Southern Colorado Small Business Development Center in Pueblo and event emcee, is excited for the opportunity to focus on the locals who are engaging with an important issue.
“We’re identifying and empowering those who are making a difference,” she says.
The businesses selected to participate are presenting a wide range of ideas, from 3D-printed waterproof casts to job training for women veterans. In addition to watching their presentations, event attendees will have the opportunity to network with these savvy professionals, plus listen to three guest speakers, including Edward Cadena, the Colorado district director of the Small Business Administration.
RSVP: Thursday, November 19, 5 to 8 p.m.; Fortino Ballroom, Pueblo Community College, 900 W. Orman Ave., Pueblo; free