Kenosha-based Gateway Technical College
has announced the 2017 winners of its InnovateHER Business Plan Challenge.
First place and an entry to the national InnovateHER
competition hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration went to Big Bend-based GetterRight LLC.
[caption id="attachment_322740" align="alignright" width="370"]
GetterRight LLC's Side Zip Nursing Bra[/caption]
Founded by Chris and Michelle Getter, the company makes a Side Zip Nursing Bra for mothers who are breastfeeding babies. The design allows users to easily move their bra cups out of the way when nursing or pumping.
Michelle came up with the idea when she was nursing their son, Gavin, who is now 3. They founded the company in 2014, and has partnered with New York intimates company Q-T Foundations Co. Inc. to bring the patent-pending bra to market. The couple is excited to have the opportunity to compete in the national contest, Chris Getter said.
“I think what gave us an advantage is the fact that we’re scalable, we’re not fixated on a geographic region and we’re also a tangible product,” he said.
The SBA will choose the 10 finalists in the national competition by July 31. It’s not clear how large the pool of applicants is, but there are at least 32 companies listed publicly on the InnovateHer site. The 10 top ideas will make a live pitch in September, and cash prizes of $40,000, $20,000 and $10,000 will go to the top three.
Racine’s Wild Root Market
took second place. The cooperative grocery store is located in an urban residential neighborhood in Racine, and aims to provide fresh, local food to families.
And in third place was Racine-based Autism a la Mode, which helps provides educational products and resources to parents of children with autism.
There were nine applications for Gateway’s InnovateHer challenge, which was open to the entire Milwaukee 7 region, said Thalia Mendez, business resource specialist – Business and Workforce Solutions at Gateway, who organized the local contest. The entries were independently reviewed by a panel of four judges from the local business community.
The ideas had to have measurable impact on the lives of women and families, the potential for commercialization and fill a need in the marketplace.
“It was a rock solid business plan,” Mendez said of GetterRight. “It just satisfied all three criteria. Their business plan clearly demons the potential for commercialization and they did their research and they also clearly demonstrated that they are filling a need in the marketplace.”
While it awaits the national results of the InnovateHER challenge, Gateway is gearing up for its next LaunchBox Growth Accelerator class. It is accepting applications
from startups in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties through July 30, and will accept five to six startups for the cohort. The 10-week program will begin in September at the Sturtevant campus and comes with $2,500 in seed grants for each participant.