Registration is now open for the competition at Purdue through the WomenIN initiative hosted by Purdue Foundry, a Purdue-based entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator. The InnovateHER Challenge was launched nationwide in 2015 by the U.S. Small Business Administration to highlight innovative products and services designed to assist women and families. The competition is sponsored locally by the Krannert School of Management’s Jane Brock-Wilson Women in Management Center and the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.
Purdue alumni, students, faculty and staff; greater Lafayette community members; and members of the WomenIN initiative are welcome to apply. Participants have until April 30 to submit a two-page executive summary and 20-page business plan for their ideas to WomenIN@prf.org. Entries will be judged based on their measurable impact on the lives of women and families, potential for commercialization, and filling a need in the marketplace. The Purdue finalist will win $5,000 and a chance to advance to the national InnovateHER Challenge to compete for cash prizes totaling $70,000.
Purdue Foundry’s WomenIN program offers resources and a support network to empower aspiring women in technology and scalable entrepreneurship throughout Indiana.
“Statistics show that more than 50 percent of all women in the United States are working and that they now actually outnumber men in the civilian, non-institutional workforce,” said Juliana Casavan, entrepreneurial programs manager for Purdue Foundry and InnovateHER Challenge by WomenIN co-director. “Additionally, about 70 percent of women with children under 18 participate in the workforce. The demands placed on women and their families have never been greater. This competition presents an opportunity to address those demands through innovative products and services.”
Five local finalists will be announced May 9. They will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges May 23 at Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship. The winner will receive $5,000 and will be submitted to the national competition to compete for $70,000 in prizes. National winners will be announced July 31.
Purdue’s 2016 winner Pu Wang, a Purdue graduate and current postdoctoral research assistant in the Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, was named a national finalist for MarginPAT, a breast cancer assessment tool that can differentiate between healthy and unhealthy tissue during surgery to help minimize secondary surgical procedures. Wang is co-founder and CTO of Vibronix Inc., the company commercializing the technology.
Visit purduewomenin.org/innovateher-challenge-by-womenin for more information about the challenge.