By Jill Burke Alaska Dispatch News, Anchorage.
With women increasingly a part of the labor force, and caring for children as well as aging parents, the U.S. Small Business Administration has launched a contest, called InnovateHER, to inspire innovative products and services it believes will "impact and empower the lives of women and families."
The first place winner will receive $15,000. Second place, $10,000. Third place, $5,000.
The good news? Alaska is in need of contestants, so if you've got a solid idea that fills a market need, can be commercialized and you have a business plan for it, you're halfway there. The bad news? The contest takes place this month, so time is short. Ideas judged worthy will move on to the national competition, set for early May in Washington D.C.
"An online web service that lists approved sitters in the local area, fresh ingredients mailed to your door with a recipe for an easily cooked dinner," and "a Bluetooth device that looks like a designer bracelet" are three sample ideas offered by the SBA as examples that fit the competition's concept, but which are by no means meant to limit ideas entrepreneurs may come up with.
The Technology, Research and Development Center of Alaska, a department of the Alaska Small Business Development Center, is hosting the Alaska competition and has requested business plans be submitted by March 31. It will select one finalist from Alaska to continue on in the competition.