When Sharon Hake was a judge at a pitch event more than a year ago, something stuck out to her more than any of the great ideas presented.
“I looked around, and there were few, if any, women pitching,” she said. “It was very concerning to me. I knew a lot of really brilliant women, so I knew it wasn’t from a lack of ideas. It struck me as very strange.”
Hake, the president and CEO of Great Dames, created the first Remarkable Ideas Competition last year, and it was so successful that Great Dames is now hosting another contest.
This competition’s theme is health and wellness, and any woman with a new problem-solving idea surrounding those topics can apply through March 21, Hake said.
The stakes are high: The winner receives a seed grant of $5,000, brand and social media strategy consultation from 3E Marketing Solutions, a workspace at 1313 Innovation, an assigned business mentor, a year membership to NAWBO Delaware, access to business model workshops, pitch coaching from Vocal Impact Productions and ongoing Great Dames community support. The package, Hake said, is worth more than $25,000.
Great Dames has scheduled several Remarkable Ideas events this spring, and the three main ones are the Ideation Event on March 14, the Pitch Event on April 11 and the Winner Announcement Event on May 9.
To help foment more tech-related ideas, Hake said Christiana Care’s Terri Steinberg, the chief health information officer, and Anahi Santiago, the chief information security officer, will work with applicants in a collaborative partnership.
Last year, 41 women, mostly from the mid-Atlantic, applied. Tanya Whye, founder and president of Delaware Green Mattress Disassembling & Recycling, won.
This year’s winners will be chosen by a panel of judges, not including Hake, and the women of Great Dames will also contribute votes.
The community aspect of the contest is the most important part, Hake said, adding that ensuring women with great ideas are connected to the right people and know about available resources is paramount. “If it was just the pitch event,” she said, “it would not be sufficient.”
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