$40K Top Prize Up for Grabs in National 2017 InnovateHER Business Challenge

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Atlanta-area women entrepreneurs compete locally, and then nationally, for visibility, coaching 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 was 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 competitions 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 increases. 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 InnovateHER.CEOSchools.com.

C-Suite Advisors (CSuiteAdvisors.com), is a business advisory and coaching company based in Atlanta, Georgia specializing in services to women business owners and executives. Founded in 2006, they introduced their CEO School for Women™ (CEOSchools.com) program in 2014. CEO School is an online business growth program exclusively for women entrepreneurs from C-Suite Advisors,. CEO School is transitioning from an offline in-person program to online in Fall 2017, to give busy women business owners 24/7 access to business education, tools, community, and mentoring.

About Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs Inc. (ACE)
ACE, a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), specializes in using capital and business coaching to assist underserved business owners, particularly women, people of color or low-income so they drive economic mobility and build stronger communities. ACE’s economic impact on Metro Atlanta and North Georgia communities since 2000: $39 million loaned to over 725 businesses which created or retained 6,200 jobs. More at aceloans.org.

About the ACE Women’s Business Center
The ACE Women’s Business Center provides a full range of services for women at all stages of business planning, implementation, and growth. It offers long-term classes, workshops, seminars, and one-on-one counseling. All services are offered in English and Spanish.

About The Sara Blakely Foundation
Since its inception in 2006, the Sara Blakely Foundation has donated millions to charities around the world, focusing on charities that empower underserved women and girls. In 2013, Sara Blakely became the first self-made, female billionaire to sign the Melinda and Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, promising to give at least half her wealth to charity. While many of the world’s resources are being depleted, one is waiting to be unleashed: Women. The Sara Blakely Foundation is on a mission to support women and help them SOAR through education, entrepreneurship, and the arts.

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