Finalists Announced for Launch Women Pitch Competition

Pitch Event to Take Place September 23, 2017

Today the Women’s Economic Opportunity Center (WEOC) announced the finalists for its Launch Women Pitch Competition taking place on September 23, 2017, at The NIIC.

Entrepreneurs Melissa Hall (Simple Sample Solutions), Ashley Spurr (Elevare), Nicole Hayden (Creative Cat), and Alice Martin (Stay-Cation) will be invited to pitch their startup ventures before a panel of esteemed judges on September 23 for the chance to win one of two $5,000 grand prizes in the form of an investment from WEOC.

“We were blown away by the caliber of applications we received for the Launch Women Pitch Competition.” said Tania D. Vanderlaan, Interim WEOC Director, The NIIC. “The innovative solutions to pressing problems proposed by our entrants were truly outstanding and touched on everything from interior design sample ordering to helping artists grow their revenue streams. 

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, entrepreneurship among women rose by an average of 10 percent across the 51 economies that participated in the survey between 2015 and 2016. That more than doubles the growth rate of entrepreneurship among males, which rose by only 5 percent during the same period.

“The growth we’re seeing in entrepreneurial activity among women in Northeast Indiana aligns with what’s happening globally. We’re excited and encouraged by the growth we have seen in recent years and look forward to supporting even more women entrepreneurs in the year ahead.” said Vanderlaan.

The public is invited to the final pitch event, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on September 23, 2017, at The NIIC. The finalists will pitch their ventures to an expert panel of community leaders, entrepreneurs, and investors, including Eve-Lynn Clark, University of Saint Francis and WEOC Advisory Council Member; Rosa Wheeler, Wells Fargo and WEOC Advisory Council Member; Danielle Strachman ,1517 Fund and keynote speaker for the event; and Andie Mobley (Red Tree Pro. Danielle Strachman, a Silicon Valley technology investor and General Partner,1517 Fund, will serve as keynote at the event. There is no charge to attend, and registration is required through the event page (click here).

About WEOC

The Women’s Economic Opportunity Center (WEOC) serves as a resource center and business growth accelerator for women and underserved entrepreneurs across the state of Indiana. WEOC is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. Host organization The NIIC also provides funding and supplemental and complementary resources for WEOC, an SBA designated Women’s Business Center—one of two in Indiana. WEOC provides timely and comprehensive guidance to women at all stages of idea development and business ventures. WEOC responds to the unique needs of women entrepreneurs through business growth coaching, training and entrepreneurial education, connectivity and access to capital. For more information, visit www.inweoc.com.

About The NIIC

The NIIC is a non-profit, community-based entrepreneurial community. We help business builders and entrepreneurs launch and grow successful business ventures. Formed in 1999 by a consortium of community and government leaders and organizations in 2013, The NIIC was recognized by Entrepreneur magazine as one of the top four under-the-radar incubators in the country. This basically means Entrepreneur magazine, with the help of International Business Incubation Association, picked four U.S. incubators to highlight, and we were one of them. In their words, we “stand out in a state not always perceived as small business friendly.” The NIIC is the country’s only ISO9001: 2008 registered business incubation and acceleration program. For more information visit: https://niic.net.  


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