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Innovate Her 2017 pitch competition finalists selected


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  • Victor Mercado/YWCA of Southern Arizona

Angela Cody, Entrepreneur And Contestant On ABC's Shark Tank, To Address The Audience At The Regional Competition’s Morning Plenary. Photo Courtesy YWCA Tucson
 The Women’s Business Center of Southern Arizona has selected its finalists for the InnovateHER 2017 Pitch Competition, which will take place on Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the YWCA Southern Arizona, 525 N. Bonita Ave.

A committee comprised of SBA resource partners and community partners, has narrowed the field of finalists to ten; five (5) of them are in the pre-venture stage and five (5) finalists in the startup/second stage phase.

The winner of the startup/second stage group will be submitted as the regional finalist, making them eligible for cash awards up to $40,000.

The Pre-venture finalists are: Modulate Kiva, Ruthy’s Grill, Emagine Solutions Technology, Kinder Café, and Bibiana Law. The finalists in the Startup/second stage group are: Wee Work for Good, Laura Tanzer Designs, Rocket Chair Productions, Trusting Connections, and Creative Tribe.

“The caliber of the products and ideas this year is phenomenal. As a Women’s Business Center our role is to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs. One of the ways in which we can really move the needle is through competitions like these that give women entrepreneurs meaningful opportunities and access to resources to test their business models and scale fast.”, said Victor Mercado, Director of the Women’s Business Center of Southern Arizona.

The competition is sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and is meant to unearth products and services that have a significant impact on the lives of women and families.

Contestants must develop a product or service that meets the following three criteria: 1). Has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families; 2). Has the potential for commercialization; 3). Fills a need in the marketplace.

Regional competitions are held throughout the U.S. with each region formally submitting a winner to challenge.gov.

At that point, a national panel will determine the national finalists who will compete in person in Washington, D.C. for cash awards of $40,000, $20,000 and $10,000.

The Women’s Business Center of Southern Arizona is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. It is a program of the Microbusiness Advancement Center (MAC); a program of the YWCA of Southern Arizona. The program helps women and minority entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses and creates economic justice via startup development.

In fiscal year 2016-17, the Women’s Business Center of Southern Arizona delivered over 8,000+ hours of business training to 1,300+ clients and more than 650 hours of one-on-one coaching to 250+ clients resulting in 23 new startups, 17 new jobs, and over half a million dollars in access to capital.

For more information, please contact Victor Mercado at (520) 447-8911 or email at vmercado@ywcatucson.org.