Are you ready for the challenge of a lifetime? Do you have an innovative product or service that can serve as a catalyst of change and make an impact on the lives of women and families? If so, we have the perfect opportunity for you to showcase your product or service! The Small Business Association (SBA) is seeking entrepreneurs to create a product or service that will have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families with commercial appeal and serve to have a demand in the marketplace.

In partnership with the SBA, the Women’s Business Development Center Chicago and Aurora (WBDC) is the local host for InnovateHER: 2017 Innovating for Women Business Challenge May 11 to June 3. This unique and engaging women’s business challenge will allow you the platform to introduce your specialized product or service to the marketplace with the potential to expand and grow your business.

Subject of Challenge: The SBA is looking for innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families. Contestants must develop a product or service that meets the following three Challenge criteria:

  • Has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families (30%);
  • Has the potential for commercialization (40%); and
  • Fills a need in the marketplace (30%)

Examples of a product or service would be anything from an online service that lists approved child care home or daycare centers in your local area to a convenient delivery service that brings fresh groceries to your door.

Prize for Winners of National Competition:

Cash prizes totaling $70,000 will be awarded to the three highest-rated contestants in the final round of the competition in the following amounts:

1st place 40,000
2nd place 20,000
3rd place 10,000

For winning entries submitted by teams of competitors, prize money will be awarded to the self-identified project leader for distribution to the rest of the team at their discretion and independently from SBA.

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

How Can I Compete?

  1. Complete the application; due on June 3, 2017.
  2. Submit Business Plan (Must include Executive Summary and Financials maximum 20 pages) due on June 3rd,  to
  3. Committee members will review all entries and notify the winner by June 15, 2017.
  4. The winner of the local competition will advance to the semi-final round in Washington DC!

Please click here for all competition materials and information.

More Questions?

For Chicago: Contact Janice Lopez at or 312.853.3477 ext. 140

For Aurora: Janice Lopez at or 312.853.3477 ext. 140


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