weVENTURE Announces Central Florida Winners of InnovateHER Pitch Competition
‘LOIS,’ Earth’s Love Tea Co. Possible National SBA Contenders
MELBOURNE, FLA. — weVENTURE, the Central Florida-based organization focused on the entrepreneurial needs of women and powered by Florida Institute of Technology, recently hosted two InnovateHER Pitch Competitions in coordination with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Microsoft and Ground+swell.
Avery Piantedosi of Melbourne and Frances Titus of Orlando won the competitions.
Piantedosi is the founder of “LOIS,” a safety app originally developed for female Realtors. After having a frightening personal experience showing a town home 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 instant tea to increase milk supply in nursing women. Company founder Frances Titus worked with formulator Emily Ruff, director of the Florida School of Holistic Living, to create this innovative new product. The instant tea consists of traditional Galactagogue herbs that 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 services and products that have a positive impact on the lives of women and families. In line with this year’s theme, of ideas that impact women and families, each competing business must have a measurable impact in that area, as well as have the potential for commercialization and be able to 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 create and sustain sustainable growth,” said weVENTURE Executive Director Beth Gitlin. “Events like InnovateHER highlight the incredible outcomes these clients are able to achieve.”
Gitlin added that she is confident that Piantedosi and Titus will set a strong example for other women seeking to start and grow their own innovative businesses in Central Florida.
“LOIS is going to potentially save lives,” Piantedosi said. “Today, 70 percent 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.”
Titus added, “The impact weVENTURE has had on me personally and on my business in a short amount of time is profound. 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,” she said.
To learn more about weVENTURE, please visit weVENTURE.org or call 321-674-7007.