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October 10, 2017

CEI Business Advising Client Willie Wags is an SBA 2017 Finalist of InnovateHER Business Challenge

Jamie Clark of The WIllie Wags Will Take Part in Pitch Competition Along with Nine Other Finalists Before an Expert Panel of Judges

WASHINGTONAdministrator Linda McMahon, the head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, today announced the 2017 finalists of the SBA’s InnovateHER Business Challenge, the nationwide competition highlighting innovative products, services or technology developed by visionary entrepreneurs that have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families, and in the marketplace.

“To have a small business from Bangor, Maine recognized on the national level is truly a credit to the hard work of Ms. Clark,” said Amy Bassett, SBA’s Maine District Director.  “What sets The Willie Wags apart is its guiding principle of working collaboratively with other women owned businesses, providing an example for all small business owners across the country.”

“The Willie Wags stood out among a competitive field of InnovateHER submissions because of their business model of supporting and promoting other women owned businesses,” said Sarah Guerette, Director of the Women’s Business Center at CEI, which nominated Clark as the local competition winner. “By donating a portion of proceeds from each box to help fund growth opportunities for female small business owners, The Willie Wags amplifies its impact and fulfills a critical tenant of the InnovateHER competition by empowering women and their families.”

“The Willie Wags is honored to have been tapped to move on to the national round of SBA’s 2017 InnovateHER Business Challenge. Not only does this afford us the opportunity to expand our network and customer base, but that of the female entrepreneurs we partner with,” said Jamie Clark, owner of The Willie Wags. “We are honored to be in such amazing and talented company in the top ten and look forward to pitching for grant money that could truly change the face of our business going forward.”

The 10 finalists were selected through a rigorous nationwide competition held by host organizations, including universities, accelerators, and SBA Resource Partners that ran local area competitions through June 3, 2017.  Next, an executive committee of SBA officials evaluated more than 120 semi-finalist nominations and chose 10 finalists to participate in the National Pitch Competition, whose products and services best meet the competition criteria and present the greatest potential for success.

The InnovateHER Business Challenge finalists are invited to conduct a marketing pitch before a team of expert judges at the National Pitch Competition held on October 26, 2017, in Washington, D.C., as they compete for the top three awards totaling $70,000 in prize money, provided by the Sara Blakely Foundation.

For details on the competition, visit  This site will be updated as more information regarding the event is made available.



  • Afreen Allam with SiNON Therapeutics, Raleigh, N.C. – SiNON Therapeutics is dedicated to improving the lives of women and families who suffer from neurological diseases by refining drug-localization of medicine to the brain.
  • Alexa Jones with TheraB Medical, East Lansing, Mich.  – TheraB Medical is a startup working to launch its first product, SnugLit a wearable, portable solution to infant jaundice that promotes maternal-infant bonding and breastfeeding while covering nearly twice the surface area of traditional methods.
  • Crystal Harris with Brauxiliary, LLC, Charlotte, N.C. – The Brauxiliary Hands-Free Pumping Band is a bra attachment that turns any bra into a hands free pumping bra.
  • Marna Pacheco and Susan Hickok with CapeAble Sensory Products, Fort Wayne, Ind. – CapeAble Sensory Products, LLC manufactures and sells weighted blankets, weighted wearables, and sensory enrichment tools.
  • Bianca Cerqueira and Lauren Cornell with Novo Thelium, San Antonio, Texas – NovoThelium enables women to regenerate a nipple made from their own cells after a mastectomy.
  • Zayira Jordan with GuardDV, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico – GuardDV seeks to help enforce court-issued restraining orders in favor of domestic violence survivors. The system integrates RFID and GPS technologies to track the aggressor and warn the potential victim and the corresponding law enforcement organizations about the physical proximity of the aggressor.
  • Jenna Ryan with Uqora, LLC, San Diego, Calif. – Uqora™ gives women the defense they need against bacteria that causes urinary tract infections (UTIs), keeping them out of the doctor’s office and off antibiotics.
  • Jamelah Tucker with EasyPeasie, LLC, Jacksonville, Fla. – Easy Peasie, LLC is committed to providing families simple, natural, convenient, and fun ways to improve every meal with added vegetable nutrition.
  • Jessica Dehn with Dino Drop In, Bozeman, Mont. – Dino Drop-In is childcare built to fit the lifestyle of busy families and ever-changing work schedules.
  • Jamie Clark with The Willie Wags, Bangor, Maine – The Willie Wags is a quirky and fun subscription service that supports female entrepreneurs and women-owned small businesses.


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