About Us

The mission of REI Women’s Business Center (REI WBC) is to assist Oklahoma’s enterprising women wanting to explore the opportunities of starting or expanding a business.

REI WBC provides one-on-one business counseling, access to capital, quality business training opportunities and technical assistance. We are proud to operate Oklahoma’s only Women’s Business Center, a place where women gain support, encouragement, strength, answers and celebrate success. REI WBC has reached more than 20,000 entrepreneurs since opening its doors and we look forward to many more years of service.

REI WBC is the result of a cooperative agreement with the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership and REI Oklahoma. Through dedicated partners and volunteers, we continue to increase our impact across the state. REI Oklahoma is an equal opportunity employer.

Oklahoma InnovateHer Challenge hosted by REI Women’s Business Center timeline:
October 13, 2015 – Submissions due to WBC via email
October 27, 2015 – Oklahoma Finalists selected and invited to pitch/interview
November 6, 2015 – Pitch/Interview with judging panel
November 10, 2015 – Oklahoma InnovateHer Challenge Winner announced
December 3, 2015 – WBC submits Oklahoma winner to SBA national competition
March 17, 2016 – National InnovateHer Challenge winner selected & presented in Washington DC

What is InnovateHer?
InnovateHER 2016: Innovating for Women Business Challenge and Summit. The InnovateHER Challenge is a national prize competition aimed at unearthing products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and families through local business competitions that culminate in a live pitch Final Round. During the InnovateHER Finals, up to 10 Finalists will compete for the Top Three cash prizes totaling $70,000 provided by Microsoft. This year, the national InnovateHER Finals will be held on March 16 & 17, 2016 in the Washington, D.C. metro area as part of a larger Women’s Summit.

Challenge Criteria:
We know that our workforce looks very different from 50 years ago. Women now make up nearly half of the labor force and play a critical role in our nation’s economic prosperity. Most children live in households where all parents work. And as our population ages, families are increasingly caring for aging parents while balancing the needs of work and home. As demands on women and families grow, the need for products and services that address unique challenges increases. This Challenge provides that platform. The InnovateHER Challenge provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to showcase products and services that:
• Have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families (30%)
• Have the potential for commercialization (40%), and
• Fill a need in the marketplace (30%).

The Oklahoma Challenge:
REI Women’s Business Center is excited to host the Oklahoma InnovateHer Challenge and provide a forum for women pioneering the way in business to gain recognition, broaden their work, and impact even more lives. The process is pretty simple – A panel of judges comprised of small business experts will review all submissions and select Oklahoma Finalists to participate in a brief pitch/interview. The winner will be selected and notified by November 10, 2015. The Oklahoma Winner’s submission is then reviewed nationally and the top 10 national finalists will be selected and invited to Washington DC (at the finalist’s expense). The National Winners will be selected and presented in Washington DC on March 17, 2016. Cash prizes totaling $70,000 will be awarded to the three highest-rated contestants in the final round of the Challenge in the following amounts:
• 1st Place – $40,000
• 2nd Place – $20,000
• 3rd Place – $10,000
For winning entries submitted by teams of competitors, prize money will be awarded to the self-identified project leader for distribution to the rest of the team at their discretion and independently from SBA.

Oklahoma InnovateHer Challenge Submissions must include:
1. Cover page that includes:
Name of Applicant (in the case of a team, please provide name of the project lead)
Company Name (if applicable)
Contact Information (address, email, and telephone number required)
Product/Service Name
Company Address & Place of Incorporation (if applicable)
Product/Service Website (if applicable)
2. Business plan (maximum length: 20 pages, including attachments)
3. Description that justifies that the business’ product or service meets the following three Challenge criteria (maximum length: 2 pages)
– Has a measurable impact on the lives of women and families (30%);
– Has the potential for commercialization (40%); and
– Fills a need in the marketplace (30%)
4. Applicant Eligibility Agreement (download, sign, and include in email submission)

Pitch/Interview will include:
1. 5 minute pitch of the project/service by the finalist. A/V will be available so finalists may show a website, give a demonstration, etc.
2. 10 minute portion of Q&A by judges.

Note: Judges will evaluate submissions on the three challenge criteria listed above. Judges will likewise evaluate the ‘pitch’ for clear explanation of the product/service, the stated path to grow the idea, and ability to answer questions from the judges.

Please submit applications to wbc@reiok.org. For more questions, contact 800-658-2823.
For more information about the SBA’s 2016 InnovateHer Challenge, please visit https://www.sba.gov/offices/headquarters/wbo/resources/1465581.

2016 InnovateHer Frequently Asked Questions


Our primary focus is to provide quality business training opportunities, access to capital, resources, referrals and technical assistance to support women entrepreneurs.

Approximately 150 training workshops and networking events are offered annually throughout the state. We provide training on a variety of business topics to help women become more successful.  Topics include entrepreneurship, financing, marketing, business planning, ecommerce, social networking, business taxes, website development, and more. View our calendar…

Regular networking events provide business owners a place to share ideas and resources and foster business to business relationships. REI WBC clients also receive free business counseling and publicity through REI WBC marketing efforts. Contact us  if you would like to schedule an appointment.

Whether in the idea-stage of starting a new venture or in growth phase of a well-established company, REI WBC is here to help and ready when you are.

Dr. Barbara Rackley
Program Manager
Serving southeastern Oklahoma with statewide over site

Jennifer Edwards
Serving western Oklahoma & OKC metro

Christina Culver
Serving northeast Oklahoma and Tulsa area

Lori Smith