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SBA Announces Top Winners of Business Competition for Innovations That Empower Women's Lives

May 8, 2015View for printing

The U.S. Small Business Administration today announced the winners of its InnovateHER Business Challenge at a National Small Business Week event, the "2015 InnovateHER Business Challenge Finals," hosted by the Washington Post. The InnovateHER Business Challenge was a nationwide business competition to unearth innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families.

"Today we salute these innovative winners for their remarkable ingenuity and creativity," said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. "National Small Business Week has been a display of the genius of America's entrepreneurs. We received so many thoughtful business ideas it was difficult to select the top three winners. This is how dreams are made for entrepreneurs across the country, with their insightful, practical solutions that will impact the economic strength of our nation. We proudly honor these competition winners and all who entered in nearly 75 regional competitions across the country."

The InnovateHER Business Challenge kicked off in early March with local competitions throughout the country hosted by universities, accelerators, clusters, scale-up communities, SBA's resource partners and other local organizations. The SBA sought entrepreneurs who created a product of service that will have a measurable impact on women and their families, fills a need in the marketplace, and has the potential for commercialization.

The following individuals have been chosen as winners of InnovateHER: 2015 Innovating for Women Business Challenge and took home the top prizes, totaling $30,000 provided by Microsoft:

1st place - $15,000 award winner

Bethany Edwards, Pregnancy Test, Philadelphia, Pa.

LIA Diagnostics has designed a pregnancy test to provide a better experience for women at a stressful moment in their lives. The LIA test is discreet, easy to use and is environmentally friendly. Unlike current tests, LIA is flushable, ergonomically designed for women to hold and use, and displays a result that is easy to understand.

2nd place - $10,000 award winner

Lisa Crites, The Shower Shirt, Cocoa Beach, Fla.

The SHOWER SHIRT™ is a post-surgical, patented, water-resistant garment designed to prevent post-surgical mastectomy drain sites from coming into contact with water while showering. With the creation of The SHOWER SHIRT, women now have the option to shower safely, while also reducing their risk of post-surgical infections.

3rd place - $5,000 award winner

Sophia Berman, Trusst Lingerie, Pittsburgh, Pa.

Trusst Lingerie has developed effective and attractive products aimed at eliminating the pain and discomforts experienced by the underserved U.S. market of larger busted woman with cup size DDD+. Current bra technology supports larger breasts from the shoulder straps. Trusst's cantilevered system places the majority of the support from underneath the bust, encompassing up to 80 percent of breast weight.

An executive committee of SBA officials reviewed nearly 75 semi-finalists' nomination packages and selected 15 finalists whose products and services best met the competition criteria and presented the greatest potential for success. Those 15 finalists were invited to travel to Washington, D.C. for a live pitch competition before a panel of expert judges for the top awards.

The panel of expert judges included Wendy Guillies, acting president and CEO of the Kauffman Foundation; Y. Maria Martinez, CEO and founder of Respira, Inc.; Diane Primo, founder and CEO of IntraLink Global; and JJ Ramberg, host of MSNBC's Your Business and co-founder of Goodshop.

Today's pitch competition was followed by an investor panel moderated by entrepreneur and CNBC on-air contributor Carol Roth and featured Daphne Dufresne, Managing Director of RLJ Equity Partners; Dayna Grayson, Partner, NEA; and Alicia Syrett, Founder and CEO at Pantegrion Capital LLC.

Additional information on the competition challenge, including host organizations and competition rules, can be viewed online at

Cosponsorship authorization No. 15-6050-91. SBA's participation in this cosponsored activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products, or services of any cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance.
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