ORLANDO/MELBOURNE, FLA. (November 23, 2015)
– weVENTURE, the Central Florida-based organization focused on the entrepreneurial needs of women and powered by Florida Institute of Technology, hosted two InnovateHER Pitch Competitions this week in coordination with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Microsoft and Ground+swell
, where startups were invited to present their business plans. Winners were Avery Piantedosi of Melbourne and Frances Titus of Orlando.
Avery Piantedosi is the founder of “LOIS,” a safety app originally developed for female realtors. After having a frightening personal experience showing a townhome to an aggressive client, Piantedosi saw the need to create a mobile, personal safety app that would automatically notify police and loved ones of immediate danger.
Earth’s Love Tea Co. produces the first-ever lactation instant tea to increase milk supply in nursing women. Company founder Frances Titus worked together with formulator Emily Ruff, Director of the Florida School of Holistic Living, to create this innovative new product. The instant tea consists of traditional Galatagogue herbs, which have been used
throughout history to increase milk supply in nursing women.
Supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the 2016 InnovateHER pitch competition focuses on those services and products that have a positive impact on the lives of women and families. In line with this year’s theme, the “Ideas That Impact Women and Families Challenge,” each competing business must have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, have the potential for commercialization, and fill a need in the marketplace.
At each competition, there were 10 presenting finalists. The winner of each competition, selected by a group of independent judges, is now in the running to be selected by the SBA to compete for national awards and prize money totaling $70,000 in Washington, D.C., at the national InnovateHER Finals on March 17, co-sponsored by Microsoft.
“At weVENTURE, we are focused on providing the calibrated tools, insights and resources our clients need to catapult sustainable growth. Events like InnovateHER highlight the incredible outcomes these clients are able to achieve,” said weVENTURE Executive Director Beth Gitlin. “I am confident that Avery and Francis will set a shining example for other women seeking to start and grow their own innovative business models in Central Florida.”
“LOIS is going to potentially save lives,” said Piantedosi. “Today, 70% of attacks that happen during real estate transactions are against women. But there are many that will benefit from it. I look forward to bringing this new app to the masses.”
InnovateHER Orlando winner and Earth’s Love Tea Co Owner Frances Titus said, “The impact weVENTURE has had on me personally and on my business in a short amount of time is profound. I had a fellow client come up to me at Renegades and Rebels today and point out that something has perceivably changed about me. I am more focused. I have the weVENTURE team to thank for this honor.”
“Winning this competition has given me the validation I needed to move forward with great confidence.”