The Willie Wags, a subscription-box startup based in Bangor, was named a finalist this week in the U.S. Small Business Administration’ InnovateHER Business Challenge.
Founder Jamie Clark started the business out of her home in January 2016 with the idea for a subscription-box business based on selling and distributing quirky and inspiring products made by female entrepreneurs or small-business owners, from office supplies and books to home goods. She has since opened a bricks-and-mortar store in downtown Bangor.
The Willie Wags is one of 10 finalists chosen from a pool of more than 120 semi-finalists. The InnovateHER competition seeks to highlight innovative products, services or technology that has a measurable impact on the lives of women and the marketplace. The Women’s Business Center at CEI nominated Clark and The Willie Wags.
“The Willie Wags stood out among a competitive field of InnovateHER submissions because of its business model of supporting and promoting other women-owned businesses,” Sarah Guerette, director of the Women’s Business Center at CEI, said in a statement. “By donating a portion of proceeds from each box to help fund growth opportunities for female small business owners, The Willie Wags amplifies its impact and fulfills a critical tenant of the InnovateHER competition by empowering women and their families.”
Maine Startups Insider could not reach Clark for comment before publication. In a news release issued by CEI, Clark said she was honored to have been chosen as a finalist.
“Not only does this afford us the opportunity to expand our network and customer base, but that of the female entrepreneurs we partner with,” Clark said. “We are honored to be in such amazing and talented company in the top ten and look forward to pitching for grant money that could truly change the face of our business going forward.”
Clark will join the nine other finalists later this month in Washington, D.C., for the final pitch event that will include $70,000 in prizes.