‘InnovateHER’ Local Competition Winner Announced

The Small Business Development Center (SBTDC) at Southeast Missouri State University has announced the winner of the local first-round contest for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 2017 “InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge” held at the Economic and Business Engagement Center on June 1. “InnovateHER” is a national prize competition focused on products and services that have a measurable impact and empower the lives of women and families. The winner of the local contest is Lauren Anne Cole, president and CEO of The Rite Kid, LLC. As the winner, she received a $250 cash prize from The Bank of Missouri, a three-month LivePlan subscription, and business plan writing assistance from the SBTDC for the next round of the competition. “The ‘InnovateHER’ competition provided a priceless opportunity to showcase The Rite Kid’s positive impact on women and families,” Cole said. “As a technology provider serving local schools, I recognized first-hand the urgent lack of necessary tools to address the increasingly complex demands of ever-changing daily student dismissals.” The Rite Kid, LLC is a technology firm dedicated to delivering cost-effective student safety and accountability solutions to elementary schools in response to the impact of socially significant changes in the definition of “the modern family.” In the spring semester of 2017, Cole partnered with Southeast to examine the priorities of parents, teachers and administrators, discovering the urgent demand for comprehensive technology to streamline increasingly complex and critical daily student accounting procedures. The Rite Kid assures the right kid goes home the right way, every day, safely, efficiently and with 100 percent real-time accountability at a low-cost. At the local competition, contestant were given five minutes to pitch their business idea followed by 10 minutes to answer questions from the audience and judging panel comprised of University and community professionals. The judges scored contestants on their presentation skills, knowledge of the market, and business model and organizational structure to determine the winner. Cole will advance to the semi-final round where she will have the chance to compete for a spot in the final round and $70,000 in prizes, with $40,000 for first place, $20,000 for second place or $10,000 for third place. For more information on the SBTDC and upcoming events, visit engage.semo.edu/sbtdc.