Polytechnic professor wins InnovateHer competition
Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico Professor Zayira Jordán, won “InnovateHer,” the local business idea competition sponsored by the Small Business Administration, with the project GuardDV, it was announced Tuesday.
GuardDV comprises an electronic surveillance system that integrates GPS technology and proximity to create safe areas around domestic violence victims, allowing them to move safely and resume their daily lives.
The device detects when the aggressor enters a restricted area, alerts the potential victim and issues an automatic call to the emergency management system.
“Our interest is to create solutions that respond to users who are traditionally overlooked by those who design technology systems. GuardDV has the potential to save lives. It is a sensible solution to the needs of those involved in the domestic violence cycle,” Jordán said.
“It’s a great way to enforce a protective order. It has the potential to act as a catalyst because it’s been proven that victims of domestic violence who are offered resources are more susceptible to ending the cycle,” she added.
“GuardDV also protects potential abusers as it notifies them that they are close to the restricted area, reminding them that they could incur in a violation of their probation,” Jordán said.
The open call, organized locally by coworking space and business center Piloto 151 and startup accelerator Parallel18, received 138 applications in one week, from which they selected a group of eight to pitch their projects.
The criteria, as established by the “InnovateHer” competition, were: innovation, marketing potential, market need and measurable impact on the lives of women and families.
“We have been organizing the local competition for the last three years. We are happy to see so many interesting projects this year, mostly proposed by women in a wide range of industries,” said Sofía Stolberg, founder of Piloto 151.
“We saw businesses and ideas ranging from methodologies in financial education and applications that teach values and history to children, to condiments packaged for easy export, fashion lines that use recyclable materials and e-commerce platforms integrating technology that improves a shopper’s clothing buying experience,” said Stolberg.
GuardDV will be evaluated in the semifinal round along with other projects submitted by local SBA partners across the United States. The final 10 who presenting in the final competition, to be held in September in Washington, D.C., will be announced during the end of July. The winning projects will receive economic and technical support to market their products.
“InnovateHer has demonstrated women’s interest in entrepreneurship with creative and innovative business concepts and models. We are sure that [Jordán] and GuardDV will carry that message to InnovateHer’s national competition,” added Marie Custodio, Parallel18’s Outreach Manager.