Ohio entrepreneurs to give business pitch for a chance to win $30,000 in prize money

March 20, 2015
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Five contestants in the 2015 InnovateHER business challenge will compete for a chance to win $30,000 in prize money at 6:00 p.m. Monday, March 23, 2015, at the Economic & Community Development Institute’s Fifth Third Bank Learning Lab, 1611 Old Leonard Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43219.

Contestants will make a live marketing pitch to a panel of judges on how their product or service helps impact and empower the lives of women and families.

Special guest judges will include Carolyn Bruck and Katie Garner, news personalities at WSYX ABC 6 & WTTE FOX 28, Columbus, Ohio.

The panel of judges will select one semi-finalist – whose pitch best satisfies the competition criteria – to advance to the semi-final round of the challenge. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will identify the top 10 finalists that will make a live pitch to a panel of expert judges during National Small Business Week, May 4-8, 2015, in Washington, D.C., where they will compete for up to $30,000 in cash prizes.

“As demands on women and families grow, the need for products, services, and technologies that address unique challenges increases – this challenge provides that platform for entrepreneurs,” said Martin Golden, district director of the SBA’s Columbus district office.

The SBA’s InnovateHER is a cross-cutting women's business challenge to unearth innovative products and services that help impact and empower the lives of women and families.

Contestants include:

Jendell Duffner, Green Scoop Pet Waste Recycling – Columbus, Ohio
- Turns pet waste into energy through the use of EPA approved products.

Suzanne Trimmer, Secret Garden Bakery – Columbus, Ohio
- Sells wholesome muffins composed of more than 50 percent fruits and vegetables.

Candi Francisco, Speakeasy Bakery – Columbus, Ohio
- Sells a wide range of liquor infused, hand crafted cakes with quality, natural ingredients.

Casandra Rose, The Blooming Yogini – Canton, Ohio
- Provides a variety of yoga classes, including stand-up paddleboard yoga classes.

Joseph Dorsey, Backseat Baby Alarm – Fort Mitchell, Kentucky
- Sells a product to protect children from being forgotten in the backseat of a vehicle.