Alex Bradberry and Leiah Scheibel, who won the InnovateHER fastpitch competition that formally launched Arizona Women’s Education & Entrepreneur Center (AWEEc), a program of Arizona Women’s Education and Employment (AWEE), have been selected as finalists for the national SBA 2015 InnovateHER Business Challenge in May in Washington, D.C.
The duo will compete against nine other finalists for a chance to win $30,000 in prize money during a live pitch competition that is part of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) National Small Business Week. The two-minute pitch competition will be preceded by a Women in Small Business Breakfast hosted by the Washington Post where the finalists will be recognized.
Bradberry, of Tempe, and Scheibel, of Glendale, will open The Sparkle Bar, Arizona’s first full-service make-up studio, this summer. They have been developing the concept for a year while holding down full-time jobs and working with AWEEc to fine-tune their business plan. They won the Phoenix InnovateHER event against six other entrepreneurs before a panel of six judges. Similar events took place across the country, and ten business owners have been selected for the national competition.
“Alex and Leiah have developed a comprehensive, progressive business plan for an idea that has incredible growth potential, not just in Arizona but nationwide,” said AWEEc Program Director Alicia Marseille. “Being able to present their pitch on a national stage will certainly open tremendous opportunities for them on many levels.”
Bradberry said The Sparkle Bar will open in mid-August at a retail location “between Old Town Scottsdale and Arcadia” offering individuals the chance to work with “talented makeup artists dedicated to bringing the most glamorous and gorgeous you through personalized makeup application,” according to The Sparkle Bar website landing page.
AWEEc is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
AWEEc, provides entrepreneurs and existing business owners education and resources that include training and workshops, one-on-one counseling, online programs, mentoring and support networks. Among AWEEc’s unique opportunities are programs to develop core business skills and strategies to target low-to-mid income populations, and financial literacy specifically for small business owners and entrepreneurs.
AWEE has been transforming the lives of Arizonans into “faces of success” for 34 years. Since its inception, it has helped create successful beginnings and renewed hope for more than 165,000 women, men and young adults. Gone are the days of simply moving people off welfare. Today, the nonprofit AWEE is Arizona’s preeminent workforce development organization, offering a diverse range of evidence-based training and support services throughout Maricopa and Yavapai counties.