2015 InnovateHER Business Challenge


President has announced a second and expanded version of InnovateHER

Here is the link: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/08/04/fact-sheet-president-obama-announces-new-commitments-investors-companies

Building on the success of the SBA’s inaugural 2015 InnovateHER Business Challenge, which we piloted in early 2015, Administrator Contreras-Sweet and the Office of Women’s Business Ownership are pleased to announce the launch of the SBA’s InnovateHER 2016: Innovating for Women Business Challenge in partnership with Microsoft.  The InnovateHER Challenge is a national prize competition aimed at unearthing products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and families through local business competitions that culminate in a live pitch Final Round.  Through this Challenge, the SBA is looking for entrepreneurs to create a product or service that (1) has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, (2) has the potential for commercialization, and (3) fills a need in the marketplace. 

Background: The first InnovateHER Challenge ran on a short timeline, from February through May, 2015, with the InnovateHER Finals held in Washington, D.C. on May 8, 2015.  Despite the compressed schedule, we successfully engaged over 100 local host organizations and reached over 1,000 entrepreneurs across the nation during year one, awarding $30,000 in prize money provided by Microsoft to the Top Three Winners.  We heard from participants and stakeholders that with more lead time, we could engage even more local organizations and entrepreneurs and spur greater conversation, collaboration, and cooperation at all levels to support women, families, and entrepreneurs.

By launching much earlier this year, we’re giving host organizations a full four months (vs. one month) to host local InnovateHER competitions.  We’re also excited to announce that this year’s Challenge more than doubles the prize money -- offering up to $70,000 in cash prizes provided by Microsoft-- and will combine the national Finals with a larger Women’s Summit to be held in the Washington, D.C. metro area on March 16-17, 2016. 

West Virginia Makes Festival Set for Friday, Oct. 2

Calling all makers: the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing (RCBI) and a group of statewide partners will present the 2015 West Virginia Makes Festival, a celebration of ingenuity and creativity, on Oct. 2 at Heritage Farm Museum and Village in Huntington.

The festival is open to everyone and will feature 3D Printing, special exhibits and attractions, local food vendors and tours. A Design Challenge at the festival will provide makers the opportunity to demonstrate their new ideas and skills, and will reward their creative inspirations. Hobbyists, inventors, enthusiasts, artists and students of all ages who enter the Design Challenge are eligible for one of five awards — including a $1,000 "Best of Show" grand prize. Challengers who earn recognition will be introduced during an afternoon presentation.

Sponsored by RCBI, Advantage Valley, Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, Education Alliance, City of Huntington, Heritage Farm Museum and Village, i-79 Development Council, Huntington Museum of Art, Marshall University, Superintendent of Cabell County Schools, the W.Va. Department of Education & the Arts, and the W.Va. Small Business Development Center, the annual event serves to inspire artists, inventors, makers and students of all ages.

"Our festival celebrates makers," said Charlotte Weber, RCBI Director & CEO. "It taps into the inventive community of entrepreneurs and innovators so they can interact with likeminded makers."

By staging the 2015 festival at Heritage Farm, today’s makers will experience a time in Appalachian history when making was a necessity, Weber said.

Registration for Design Challengers and Exhibitors is required. Signing up is free and easy at www.rcbi.org/15Makes.

Tucker County makes top 10 for business growth

Small Business is Big Business in Tucker County

It is always nice to start the day with positive news.  The state's Big Industry Growth Map report was published and shows that Tucker County businesses grew by 7.14% this last year.  To put this in perspective, Tucker County has been in the "top 10" for business growth for three years running amongst all 55 counties in West Virginia.

You can access it here: http://apps.sos.wv.gov/business/BIG/

Many of our businesses are small, employing just one or two people.  But in a small county this has a big impact on jobs, economic health and community spirit.  

There are many reasons for this positive business growth: but a few stand out to me:

Tucker County is a welcoming community and provides a quality of life where people want to live and work

Corridor H  and faster internet speeds are making it easier for people to work here

People are getting involved in their community programs like PRO, New HIstoric Thomas, Run For It

The county has been working together across municipalities in projects like Tucker County Day

Our County and state and representatives are actively involved with the success of business

WV Small Business Development Center has provided business coaching for our entrepreneurs including a dedicated business coach  for this region

WVU Extension and Potomac Highlands Food and Farm Initiatives have supported business growth for our farmers

Tucker County Development Authority Board has been dedicated its mission of supporting business while preserving our heritage.

Please celebrate this news by spending money at a local business today.