Project to Improve Lives of Domestic Violence Survivors Wins InnovateHer Contest
SAN JUAN – Zayira Jordán, professor of the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, won InnovateHer, the local business idea competition by the Small Business Administration (SBA), with the project GuardDV.
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,” Zayira explains in a news release .
“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. 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.”
The open call, organized locally by the coworking space and business center Piloto 151 and the startup accelerator Parallel18, received 138 applications in one week, from which a group of eight was selected 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. 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,” Piloto 151 founder Sofia Stolberg added.
Marie Custodio, Parallel18’s outreach manager, said, “InnovateHer has demonstrated women’s interest in entrepreneurship with creative and innovative business concepts and models. We are sure that Zayira and GuardDV will carry that message to InnovateHer’s national competition.”
GuardDV will be evaluated in the semifinal round along with other projects submitted by local SBA partners across the United States. The final 10 in the final competition in September in Washington, D.C., will be announced by the end of July. The winning projects will receive economic and technical support to market their products.