Winner announced in Nebraska InnovateHER 2017 Challenge

Release Date: 

07/12/17

Contact(s): 

Monica Braun, Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) Women's Business Center director, monicab@cfra.org, 402.643.2673; or Rhea Landholm, brand marketing and communications manager, rheal@cfra.org,402.687.2100 ext 1025

Lyons, Nebraska - Sonia Rocha-Sanchez and Michael Feloney, owners of F&S Medical Solutions, have won the Nebraska InnovateHER 2017 Challenge hosted by Center for Rural Affairs’ Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) Women’s Business Center.

They were among three finalists who participated in a marketing pitch competition in Lincoln, Nebraska, on June 2. This is the third year of competition in cooperation with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

InnovateHER calls on businesses which develop a product or service that 1) has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families; 2) has the potential for commercialization; and 3) fills a need in the marketplace.

“InnovateHER provides an opportunity for participants to gain valuable input and feedback on their innovative business ideas even if they are not selected to move forward to national competition,” said Monica Braun, REAP Women’s Business Center director.

Rocha-Sanchez and Feloney presented their new product, SimplCath, a medical device that helps catheterize females. The design allows the device to be used by medical personnel and caregivers, as well as patients who self-catheterize.

“It is the only device on the market to assist on women catheterization in any setting,” Rocha-Sanchez said. “Because women's products are a significant part of what we do, entering InnovateHER seemed like the perfect course to follow. SimplCath is an incredibly novel but simple medical device designed specifically for women, which, when brought to market, will improve the lives of millions.”

The winner’s application was entered into the national competition, which is a second marketing pitch event. SBA officials will identify 10 finalists to compete for cash prizes totaling $70,000.

Other finalists competing in Lincoln were Kate White with Third Space Coworking and Childcare and Carina Glover of Ace Empire, a business magazine. All three businesses are based in Omaha.

“The competition felt a little like ‘Shark Tank,’ but friendlier,” said Rocha-Sanchez. “The judges were very professional and asked excellent questions. Their comments after the presentation were very positive and their critique was very well-taken. We could tell they knew business a lot more than we did.”

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