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Medical Device Entrepreneur Wins InnovateHER Business Challenge

An entrepreneur whose medical device company was created to help sufferers of ear ailments has been selected as the south Hampton Roads winner of the InnovateHER Business Challenge recently hosted by the Old Dominion University Business Gateway's Women's Business Center in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Elaine Horn-Ranney, president and CEO of Tympanogen, LLC, was selected as the best of the women entrepreneurs who presented their ideas for innovative products and services that impact and empower the lives of women and families.

Tympanogen, LLC is a medical device company whose mission is to aid in the treatment of chronic tympanic membrane (ear) perforations.

Horn-Ranney's presentation, delivered by one of the co-founders of Tympanogen, Dr. Jesse Ranney, focused on a gel patch for nonsurgical repair of chronic holes in the eardrum.

The Women's Business Center will now submit Tympanogen, LLC - one of approximately 92 InnovateHER challenge winners selected from around the country - to the SBA, which will in turn identify up to 10 finalists. The selected finalists will make a live pitch in May to a panel of expert judges in Washington, D.C., during National Small Business Week, where they will compete for three awards and $30,000 in prize money.

Last month, the ODU Business Gateway's Women's Business Center was one of several locations across the country that worked in partnership with the SBA throughout Women's History Month to host a local InnovateHER Business Challenge. InnovateHER is a nationwide challenge to unearth innovative products or services that have a measurable impact on the lives of women and families; has the potential for commercialization; and fills a need in the marketplace.

Challenge participants submitted an executive summary, investor pitch and a business plan to the Women's Business Center. Four finalists were then selected to present their ideas to a panel of expert judges. In addition to Horn-Ranney with Tympanogen, LLC, other finalists who made presentations to the judges included Becky Watson, owner of Music for Wellness (a company which provides music therapy and music making programs); Carmen Saunders, president and CEO of VOIS, LLC (providing virtual assistant services); and Christina Handle, president and CEO of U.S. Degree Consulting (which seeks to help facilitate an affordable, time-efficient bachelor's degree).

Judges included Marty Kaszubowski, executive director of Old Dominion's Center for Enterprise Innovation; and Nancy Grden, executive director of ODU's Strome Entrepreneurial Center.

For more information, about the national InnovateHER program, see the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Women's Business Ownership Website.

ODU Business Gateway's Women's Business Center, funded in part by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, enables women's entrepreneurship by providing the tools for women to successfully own, operate and grow small business, thereby creating economic opportunities and job growth by investing financially, intellectually and emotionally in the Hampton Roads community.

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