The 2016 edition of InnovateHER, the nationwide pitch competition for women-led startups, wound to a close in D.C. last Thursday.
Ten finalists flew to D.C. to compete for $70,000 in prizes, which was ultimately split among a top three. Here’s who won:
- First place, and $40,000, went to Elizabeth Caven, creator of UpCraft Club. UpCraft Club is a website for digital sewing patterns. Caven is based in Des Moines, Iowa.
- Second place, and $20,000, went to Dawn Dickson, who, in Miami Beach, Fla., has created Flat Out of Heels — durable roll-out ballet flat-type shoes to provide options for all the heel-wearing ladies out there.
- Last but certainly not least, Dr. Agnes Scoville from St. Louis, Mo., won $10,000 for her product Pacidose, which makes it easier to give medicine to a baby.
Big congrats to ALL the #InnovateHER finalists for their products & services that help better the lives of women & families!
— SBA (@SBAgov) March 17, 2016
As U.S. Small Business Administration administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said in her announcement of the winners, InnovateHER is all about encouraging female entrepreneurs, and giving them access to capital.
“SBA created this challenge to empower women in the face of ongoing gender inequities in the technology and investment sectors,” Contreras-Sweet said. “Women venture capital partners are stuck below 10 percent. The amount of venture capital funding that goes to women entrepreneurs is even lower — only about 4 percent.”
National competitions like InnovateHER, that focus on female entrepreneurship, hope to change the numbers. This year’s competition was the second annual, and the SBA says it drew around 2,000 competitors nationwide.