Software Industry ‘Innovation Incubator’ Seeks K-12 Applicants

Associate Editor

The Software & Information Industry Association is inviting developers of promising technologies in the K-12 and postsecondary markets to apply for the organization’s “Innovation Incubator” program.

Karen Billings, vice president of SIIA’s education division, said the association usually receives 70 to 80 applications twice a year from entrepreneurs interested in the opportunity to showcase their education technology products to industry leaders, potential investors, and partners at the incubator, which is a semiannual opportunity.

“Our staff reviews all applications before we send them out for peer review,” Billings said in a phone interview. “For some, we will suggest they wait because they don’t really have a working website, or a prototype for enough people to see. Some don’t want to share enough information, because they’re afraid it’ll be stolen.”

From the companies that make it through the initial screening, a peer review panel identifies the most promising ones to be part of the program. Finalists will be asked to give webinar presentations to educators and administrators nationwide for the Educators’ Choice Award, which will be presented at the SIIA Education Business Forum, December 10-11 in New York City.

Asked what percentage of “innovation incubator” designated companies are still in business since the organization started the program seven years ago, Billings stopped to look over the list and reported that, “Most of the companies still exist.”

Previous winners are listed here. Last year, Clever, a company that helps schools streamline the integration of educational technology and student data, won both “most innovative” and “most likely to succeed.” It is rare, Billings said, for a company to receive both honors.
Education technology companies, from startups to established innovators, are invited to apply. The deadline for applications is Oct. 4.

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