[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 149 (Tuesday, August 4, 2015)]
[Pages 46376-46378]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-18708]



Announcement of 2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business 

AGENCY: U.S. Small Business Administration.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is conducting the 
second year of the InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Challenge (the 
Challenge), pursuant to the America Competes Act, for entrepreneurs to 
create a product or service that has a measurable impact on the lives 
of women and families, has the potential for commercialization, and 
fills a need in the marketplace.

DATES: The Challenge launches on August 4, 2015. The initial round of 
the Challenge will take the form of local competitions that will be run 
across the country beginning August 5, 2015 and ending no later than 
December 2, 2015. The host organizations running the local competitions 
must select and submit one winner from each local competition to SBA, 
along with a Nomination package, no later than December 3, 2015. SBA 
will then select up to ten Finalists. The Top 3 Winners will be 
announced no later than March 17, 2016 following a live pitch 

Entrepreneurial Development, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 
Third Street SW., 6th Floor, Washington, DC 20416, (202) 205-7430, 
[email protected].

    1. Subject of Challenge Competition: The SBA is looking for 
innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives 
of women and families. We know that our workforce looks very different 
from 50 years ago. Women now make up nearly half of the labor force and 
play a critical role in our nation's economic prosperity. Most children 
live in households where all parents work. And as our population ages, 
families are increasingly caring for aging parents while balancing the 
needs of work and home. As the demands on women and families grow, the 
need for products and services that address these unique challenges 
increases. This

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Challenge will provide a platform to fulfill that need.
    Contestants must develop a product or service that meets the 
following competition criteria:
     Has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families 
     Has the potential for commercialization (40%); and
     Fills a need in the marketplace (30%)
    2. Eligibility Rules for Participating in the Challenge: This 
Challenge is open only to: (1) Citizens or permanent residents of the 
United States who are at least eighteen (18) years of age at the time 
of their submission of an entry (or teams of such individuals); and (2) 
private entities, such as corporations or other organizations, that are 
incorporated in and maintain a primary place of business in the United 
States. Individuals submitting on behalf of corporations, nonprofits, 
or groups of individuals (such as an academic class or other team) must 
meet the eligibility requirements for individual contestants. An 
individual may belong to more than one team submitting an entry in this 
Challenge. SBA employees are not eligible, nor are Federal entities or 
Federal employees acting within the scope of their employment. 
Individuals or organizations that are currently suspended or disbarred 
by the federal government are not eligible for this Challenge.
    3. Registration Process for Participants: The Challenge launches on 
August 4, 2015. The initial round of the Challenge will take the form 
of local competitions that will be run across the country from August 
5, 2015 and ending no later than December 2, 2015 by host organizations 
such as universities, accelerators, clusters, scale-up communities, and 
SBA Resource Partners. For more information regarding these local 
competitions as it becomes available, please visit sba.gov/InnovateHER. 
SBA will continue to update the list of local competitions as details 
are confirmed. While these local competitions will be identified as 
part of the national InnovateHER Challenge and will be conducted in a 
manner that is consistent with these Challenge rules, they will be 
administered solely by the local host organizations and will be judged 
by individuals selected by each host in their sole discretion. At a 
minimum, however, each application must contain a business plan 
covering the contestant's proposed product or service and must satisfy 
the Challenge criteria identified by SBA in this notice.
    Following the completion of the local competitions, each host 
organization will identify one winner that will advance to the semi-
final round of the Challenge. For a winning entry that has been 
submitted by a team of competitors, the host organization must list the 
team's self-identified project leader as the winner who will advance to 
the semi-final round. No later than December 3, 2015, each host 
organization will submit a nomination package containing the winning 
individual/team's business plan and other required information to SBA, 
which will administer the semi-final and final rounds of the Challenge. 
Selection as a semi-finalist following a local competition is the only 
means of registering for the Challenge. All nominations will be 
screened by SBA for eligibility. Contestants cannot submit entries 
directly to SBA.
    4. Prize for Winners: 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.
    5. Process for Host Organizations:
    Initial Round--Local Competitions. Organizations that wish to host 
a local competition as part of the initial round of this Challenge must 
send a request to the SBA at [email protected] no later than 
September 3, 2015 with the following information:
     The organization's official legal name, street address, 
city, state;
     Web site of the organization (if applicable);
     The name of the organization's designated Point Of Contact 
(POC) for the competition, his/her email address, and phone number.
    SBA will evaluate all requests to host a local InnovateHER 
competition in its sole discretion and will confirm a host's 
participation in writing. Additionally, with some exceptions, 
organizations that wish to host an InnovateHER competition will be 
required to agree to the terms of a Co-sponsorship Agreement with the 
SBA that defines the scope of the relationship for the purposes of 
InnovateHER and outlines the co-promotion and marketing terms. SBA will 
notify prospective hosts if such agreement is required. SBA will reject 
any nomination package submitted to the SBA by an organization that has 
not been officially confirmed by SBA to participate in the InnovateHER 
    Additionally, each host organization will determine the type of 
local competition, conducted in a manner that is consistent with these 
Challenge Rules, that will best identify the most innovative and 
entrepreneurial business ideas, including the type of application that 
individuals need to prepare in order to compete, and will publicize the 
competition locally. Host organizations should also notify SBA of the 
date and location of the local competitions for the purposes of 
publication at sba.gov/InnovateHER.
    Semi-Final Round--Submission of Local Winners. No later than 
December 3, 2015, host organizations must select and submit one winner 
from the local competition along with a Nomination Package to SBA 
through the www.Challenge.gov Web site. The Nomination Package must 
contain all of the following items:
    (a) A single cover page detailing--
    (i) The Name of the winning individual (in the case of a winning 
team, please provide the name of the team's self-identified project 
lead); Company name (if applicable); Product/Service Name; Company 
Address, City, State, and Place of Incorporation (if applicable); 
Product/Service Web site (if applicable); telephone number of winning 
individual; and his/her email address;
    (ii) The host organization's official legal name, street address, 
city, state, designated POC, and his/her best contact number and email 
address (Note: this information must match the information provided by 
the organization as part of its request to SBA to host a local 
    (iii) A concise, two-sentence description of the product or service 
(Note: this description may also be also in promotional or 
informational materials in connection with InnovateHER).
    (b) A Business Plan from the winning individual/team (maximum 
length: 20 pages, including attachments).
    (c) A signed Statement of Support prepared by the host organization 
that explains why the winner of the local competition best satisfied 
the competition criteria and presented the greatest potential for 
success (maximum length: 2 pages).
    Each host organization is responsible for preparing the complete 
Nomination Package, including obtaining a copy of the relevant Business 
Plan from the winner and ensuring that the full package is timely 
submitted to the SBA via the www.Challenge.gov Web site.
    6. Selection of Winners.
    Semi-Final Round. In the semi-final round of the Challenge, SBA 
will review

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the semi-finalist nomination packages submitted by the local 
competition host organizations and select up to 10 finalists whose 
products or services, in SBA's sole judgment, best satisfy the 
competition criteria identified in Paragraph 1 of this Challenge 
announcement and present the greatest potential for success. In 
addition, in order to achieve nationwide distribution of prizes for the 
purpose of stimulating the growth and development of new products and 
services across the entire United States and across a diverse range of 
project types, SBA may take into account nominees' geographic locations 
when selecting winners, including support to geographic regions that 
traditionally have limited access to capital, as well as diversity in 
the types of products and services. Finalists selected by SBA will be 
required to sign a form certifying that they meet the eligibility 
requirements identified in Paragraph 2 above and have complied with 
these Challenge Rules.
    Final Round. Each finalist will be offered the opportunity to 
participate in the InnovateHER Final Challenge to be held on March 17, 
2016 in the Washington, DC metro area where they will make a live 
marketing pitch to a panel of expert judges drawn from the private 
sector. The panel of judges will select the three finalists whose 
pitches, in their sole judgment, best satisfy the competition criteria 
and present the greatest potential for success and rank them in 
descending order. Finalists will be responsible for covering their own 
travel costs for the national competition.
    7. Applicable Law: This Challenge is being conducted by SBA 
pursuant to the America Competes Act (15 U.S.C. 3719) and is subject to 
all applicable federal laws and regulations. By participating in this 
Challenge, each contestant gives its full and unconditional agreement 
to the Official Rules and the related administrative decisions 
described in this notice, which are final and binding in all matters 
related to the Challenge. A contestant's eligibility for a prize award 
is contingent upon their fulfilling all requirements identified in this 
notice. Publication of this notice is not an obligation of funds on the 
part of SBA. All prize monies are funded through private sector 
sources. The private sector source is liable to the winners for payment 
of the prize. SBA, however, will coordinate with the private sector 
source regarding instructions for award of the prize purse. SBA 
reserves the right to modify or cancel this Challenge, in whole or in 
part, at any time prior to the award of prizes.
    8. Conflicts of Interest: No individual acting as a judge at any 
stage of this Challenge may have personal or financial interests in, or 
be an employee, officer, director, or agent of any contestant or have a 
familial or financial relationship with a contestant.
    9. Intellectual Property Rights: All entries submitted in response 
to this Challenge will remain the sole intellectual property of the 
individuals or organizations that developed them. By registering and 
entering a submission, each contestant represents and warrants that it 
is the sole author and copyright owner of the submission, and that the 
submission is an original work of the contestant, or if the submission 
is a work based on an existing application, that the contestant has 
acquired sufficient rights to use and to authorize others to use the 
submission, and that the submission does not infringe upon any 
copyright or upon any other third party rights of which the contestant 
is aware.
    10. Publicity Rights: By registering and entering a submission, 
each contestant consents to SBA's and its agents' use, in perpetuity, 
of its name, likeness, photograph, voice, opinions, and/or hometown and 
state information for promotional or informational purposes through any 
form of media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.
    11. Liability and Insurance Requirements: By registering and 
entering a submission, each contestant agrees to assume any and all 
risks and waive claims against the Federal Government and its related 
entities, except in the case of willful misconduct, for any injury, 
death, damage, or loss of property, revenue, or profits, whether 
direct, indirect, or consequential, arising from their participation in 
this Challenge, whether the injury, death, damage, or loss arises 
through negligence or otherwise. By registering and entering a 
submission, each contestant further represents and warrants that it 
possesses sufficient liability insurance or financial resources to 
cover claims by a third party for death, bodily injury, or property 
damage or loss resulting from any activity it carries out in connection 
with its participation in this Challenge, or claims by the Federal 
Government for damage or loss to Government property resulting from 
such an activity. Contest winners should be prepared to demonstrate 
proof of insurance or financial responsibility in the event SBA deems 
it necessary.
    12. Record Retention and Disclosure: All nomination packages and 
related materials provided to SBA in the semi-final and final rounds of 
the Challenge automatically become SBA records and cannot be returned. 
Contestants should identify any confidential commercial information 
contained in their entries at the time of their submission to the local 
Host Organization. SBA will notify contestants of any Freedom of 
Information Act requests the Agency receives related to their 
submissions in accordance with 13 CFR part 102.
    Award Approving Official: Erin Andrew, Assistant Administrator, 
Office of Women's Business Ownership, U.S. Small Business 
Administration, 409 Third Street SW., Washington, DC 20416.

Erin Andrew,
Assistant Administrator, Office of Women's Business Ownership.
[FR Doc. 2015-18708 Filed 8-3-15; 8:45 a.m.]