CHAMPAIGN, IL, December 2, 2015 – In partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Champaign County EDC is pleased to announce IntelliWheels, Inc. as the local winner of the InnovateHER Business Challenge. A panel of judges selected IntelliWheels as the first place winner with MakerGirl as the runner-up and Helion Comics as the third place finalist. Ten business proposals were submitted for the local challenge.
Tinker, created by IntelliWheels, is the first ever 3D product configurator in the wheelchair marketplace. Configurators have been utilized for years to allow consumers to design cars, shoes, bicycles and other products. They give customers unparalleled levels of feedback and control over the product they are ordering and they function as an incredible communication tool between customers and manufacturers. Tinker’s goal is to create transparency in the wheelchair industry and using educational tools, empower wheelchair users, their families and caregivers to ensure their voice is clearly heard in the wheelchair ordering process.
IntelliWheels will receive a cash prize of $750 and their proposal will be submitted to the SBA’s semifinal round for the chance to compete for up to $70,000 in cash prizes. Competition semifinalists will be announced in January 2016 by the SBA, and the three leading finalists will be announced in March 2016. To learn more about IntelliWheels and Tinker, visit www.intelliwheels.net and www.tinker.fit.
MakerGirl has a mission to inspire girls to be active in STEM. MakerGirl introduces 7-10 year old girls in the Champaign-Urbana area and beyond to the exciting world of STEM fields through 3D printing and creative activities. All of their sessions teach young girls 3D printing, while also teaching them about women leaders in STEM fields, innovative companies, cutting edge technology, and much more.
MakerGirl will receive a cash prize of $500. To learn more about MakerGirl, visit www.makergirl.us.
Helion Comics is an independent comic production company. Their main project in development is The Misfits, a webcomic about a band of twentysomethings figuring out their individual identities, relationships, and studies. Oh, and their superpowers. The Misfits follow the lives of Aydan Alteo, Sarah Neng, and Yu Wang, first-year college students, as they come to grips with a series of bizarre circumstances.
Helion Comics will receive a cash prize of $250.
The local challenge was sponsored by SBDC at Champaign County EDC, Busey, Stephens & Stull P.C., and Serra Ventures. For more information about the SBDC’s InnovateHER Business Challenge, visit www.cusbdc.org/innovateher/.
About the InnovateHER Business Challenge:
Hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration in partnership with Microsoft, the InnovateHER Business Challenge provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase products and services that meet the following three criteria: has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families (30%); has the potential for commercialization (40%); and fills a need in the marketplace (30%). The nationwide competition was launched to find the most innovative products and services that help impact and empower women’s lives.
Participants must be at least 18 years of age, U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and meet other eligibility requirements as defined in the challenge rules.
For more information about InnovateHER, visit www.sba.gov/InnovateHER.