In November, the Center for Rural Affairs REAP Women’s Business Center hosted a local InnovateHER Challenge for the state of Nebraska. The Challenge, sponsored by the Small Business Administration (SBA), recognizes entrepreneurs with innovative products or services that impact women’s lives and their families.
Amy Johnson, owner of LifeLoop, LLC, won the 2015-2016 InnovateHer: Innovating for Women Business Challenge. The competition was held at the Lincoln Community Foundation Building.
Her company, based in Omaha, offers a lifestyle management and resident engagement platform for senior living communities. It provides a platform to connect residents with their busy families and both with the staff in charge of the residents’ care.
Johnson was visiting a retirement community in Iowa, marketing her web-based software, when she met a resident who wanted to communicate with his family. A stroke had robbed him of the ability to speak. To introduce himself, he took Amy over to the mailbox on his door and pointed to his name. In no time at all, she had him in front of a computer using her software’s instant message function to chat with his brother in New York.
During the regional competition in Lincoln, Johnson delivered a business plan pitch explaining her company and impressing the judges with her vision and execution. As the winner from Nebraska, she now contends for one of the final 10 slots in Washington, D.C. during the SBA‘s National Small Business Week.
Johnson started the business from her own experience. “My husband and I had a couple of relatives transitioning into senior living communities, and we felt there was a gap in communication,” she said. Johnson couldn’t blame the caring, but overworked staff. Some details on a resident’s specific needs can easily get lost in shift changes or staff turnover. Those details are what Life Loop is designed to find and fix.
In 2014, Johnson was awarded a Nebraska Prototyping Grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Nebraska Innovation Fund, which provides funding to startup companies. By February 2015, Johnson quit her job to focus on building Life Loop full time. Today she runs the company out of The Garage by Aviture, a local business incubator.
We’re excited to have Amy and LifeLoop nominated for the National Competition. The LifeLoop software application has a tremendous impact on the lives of women and families.
Many of the competition judges had family members in situations where they would have appreciated the LifeLoop connection. Women comprise 66% of caregivers and 74% of residents in senior living communities. The target market of LifeLoop is growing tremendously.
Other participants in the Nebraska InnovateHER Challenge included:
Mary Ann Stallings, Bridge to Better Living
A consulting service providing one-on-one guidance for clients and families transitioning to a retirement community including Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Assisted Living, or Long Term Care.
Colleen Rickard, C-Pap Easy Clean LLC
A device that uses UVC lighting to clean C-Pap and Bi-Pap equipment or clear plastic, such as breast pumps, baby pacifiers, etc., from molds, bacteria, and viruses. It sterilizes all plastic to 99.9 percent clean.
Vicki Westergard, Therapeutic Escapes
A Flotation Therapy Center. Provides a place where one totally unplugs from environmental, physical, and mental stimuli. By eliminating stress, users are able to work harder; be more creative; and feel physically, emotionally, and mentally balanced.
Carolyn Butler, High Level Happiness
A Fun, Fresh, Financially Feasible Eco Service which involves building multi-faceted, well-equipped treehouses designed to include recreation, education, rehabilitation, restoration, and/or commercial use. The concept enhances psychological and physical well-being of participants.
Feature image: A Life Loop launch takes place in a senior living community. Amy is pictured 2nd from left with her back to the camera, busy putting Lifeloop into action! Photo from Lifeloop's Facebook album.
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