When the Stacy’s Rise Project announced it would expand its 2020 grant and mentorship program to support even more female founders with broadened services, women responded in kind – with 1,600 applicants, quadrupling last year’s numbers for a chance at $10,000 business grants, 1:1 executive mentorship and a dedicated team of professionals creating, producing and strategically placing advertising on their behalf.
Among those adding their expertise to the 2020 Stacy’s Rise Project are Christen Press and Tobin Heath, world champion soccer players and co-founders of the purpose-led lifestyle brand re—inc. They will provide an exclusive mentorship session to the 15 winners comprising the Stacy’s Rise Project Class of 2020, all of whom have incorporated social impact and philanthropy within their business plans.
According to a recent survey commissioned by the Stacy’s Rise Project, female entrepreneurs who have had a mentor (73 percent) are more likely to feel well-equipped with the necessary resources to grow their business – yet 53 percent have not had a mentor to guide them.
“We know firsthand the challenges that come not just from being a female entrepreneur but being a female entrepreneur who is driven by a larger purpose,” said Press. “In business and in sport, we believe in the power of teamwork – which is why we are honored to bring what we know from starting our own venture to the women of the Stacy’s Rise Project.”
Heath added, “Our vision at re—inc has always been centered on creating an inclusive and diverse community, which is why it’s so exciting to see the array of backgrounds and industries among the women participating in this year’s Stacy’s Rise Project. These 15 women represent thousands — if not millions — more female founders who warrant our attention and investment.”
Gaining attention won’t be an issue for this year’s Stacy’s Rise Project participants, all of whom will receive professional advertising services and donated media space, as well as a dedicated feature on the Stacy’s Amazon e-commerce hub. The addition of advertising/marketing services for the 2020 Stacy’s Rise Project is driven by the survey, which found that 82 percent of consumers want to see more female founders in company ads and 41 percent even indicate they would be more likely to purchase products/services if a company’s marketing featured its female founder. Meanwhile, 80 percent of female entrepreneurs wish they had resources to increase their marketing efforts and 45 percent say advertising/marketing would be their first priority if they received $10,000 in funding.
“Opportunities abound for female founders, as 79 percent of consumers believe it is important to see more female-founded businesses in their communities. Our goal with the Stacy’s Rise Project is to share our own resources so that women can both identify and seize those opportunities,” said Ciara Dilley, Frito-Lay vice president of marketing. “For example, we carefully match our Rise participants with mentors based on experience and expertise, knowing that 72 percent of female founders say it’s difficult to find a mentor, particularly in today’s environment. Also, this year we added specialized self-care coaching targeted to the entrepreneur lifestyle upon learning that 62 percent of these women say they often feel burnt out.”
Dilley continued, “As a female-founded brand, it’s in our DNA to help women rise and this year’s theme is #ShareForHer – a reminder that we all have something to share to help a woman succeed, be it expertise, a word of encouragement or another valuable asset.”
Fans and aspiring entrepreneurs can join the Stacy’s Rise Project Class of 2020 community and partake in various learning opportunities by following #StacysRiseProject across social media channels, with topics covering VC funding, operations/supply, marketing and even self-care. This fall, Stacy’s will also team up with longtime partner Hello Alice on their Black-Owned Business Resource Center to offer an additional $150,000 in grants to Black female founders, an extension of PepsiCo’s long-term commitment to lift up Black communities.
Introducing the Stacy’s Rise Project Class of 2020
- Callee Ackland, Rapid City, S.D., who built Bestowed Essentials. Bestowed Essentials is a social impact company determined to make a sustainable lifestyle more affordable and accessible to all. They are a handmade manufacturer of ecofriendly personal care and home products. Their certified vegan and cruelty-free products are made by hand in small batches with love by their all-female team.
- Tiffany Griffin, Durham, N.C., who founded, Bright Black. Bright Black uses scent as an artistic medium and candles as a platform to share positive narratives about Blackness. Their vision is a world where the complexity, beauty and brilliance of Blackness is widely known, recognized, embraced and celebrated.
- Jasmine Coer, Atlanta, who founded Color My Story. Color My Story is an integrated platform dedicated to mental health online, in the workforce and in local communities. They teach art workshops as a healthy coping mechanism to fight life’s daily stressors. They offer live and virtual classes, COLOR art kits for children, K-12 art curriculum for school districts, and a lifestyle apparel brand promoting COLOR.
- Keira Kotler, San Anselmo, Calif., who started Everviolet. Everviolet creates beautiful, comfortable and adaptive lingerie and loungewear for women whose bodies have changed due to cancer and many other physical challenges. The collection of bras, panties, camisoles and kimonos was born out of the founder’s personal experience with breast cancer and her struggle to find well-fitting, attractive garments following a double mastectomy.
- Joy Kathryn McBrien, Saint Paul, Minn., founder of Fair Anita. Fair Anita is a social enterprise on a mission to create equitable economic opportunity for women, especially survivors of sexual/domestic violence. They partner with more than 8,000 women in nine countries, producing fair trade jewelry and accessories made from recycled materials.
- Arion Long, Baltimore, who founded Femly. The average feminine product takes over 120 years to break down. Femly’s biodegradable and eco-friendly feminine care products have a breakdown average of just six months. They’re also increasing access to healthier products for women around the country. They offer disposable feminine hygiene pads, panty liners and menstrual cups.
- Jessica Gartenstein, Chicago, who started Frönen Foods. Frönen, German for “indulge,” is a non-dairy ice cream made with only six ingredients or fewer. Coconut cream, fruit and a touch of organic honey create a rich, creamy base for a guilt-free indulgence. The founder has celiac disease and created Frönen as the only honey sweetened ice cream on the market made without allergens, gums or natural/artificial flavors.
- Claudia McMullin, Park City, Utah, who established Hugo Coffee Roasters. Hugo Coffee Roasters is a coffee roasting company whose mission is to save dogs by roasting and selling coffee made with fair-trade and organic beans. They donate 10 percent of profits quarterly to animal rescues including Best Friends, Nuzzles & Co. and Paws for Life.
- Junita Flowers, Minneapolis, creator of Junita’s Jar. Founded upon recipes that have been in the founder’s family for decades, and inspired by a journey of overcoming relationship violence, Junita’s Jar is a mission-driven cookie company, creating conversation to educate and eliminate relationships violence against women. Junita’s Jar produces their signature, deliciously wholesome, satisfyingly crisp and bite-size cookies in three flavors.
- Sylvia Charles, San Francisco, who built Just Date. Just Date makes sweets from whole food plant sources that require no sacrifice in taste or nutrition. The doctor-led, women-owned team saw firsthand the power of food while treating patients from preventable chronic illness. Just Date’s mission is to educate people about the harmful effects of artificial and unhealthy sugars, and also provide them with better options.
- Kemi Tignor, Washington D.C., who founded Little Likes Kids™. Little Like Kids™ is a boutique toy company that is “here for” a new generation of kids aged six and under. They make puzzles, games, tabletop accessories and holiday items with decidedly diverse imagery. Most American toddlers are now minorities. Finding toys that reflect this demographic change is like finding a needle in a haystack.
- Nina Tickaradze, Marietta, Ga., who established NADI. NADI produces the first and only USDA certified organic Wild Rosehip Juices in the USA in three flavors: Wild Rosehip Original, Wild Rosehip Grape and Wild Rosehip Pomegranate. All juices are made with organic fruits, are gluten free with no added sugar, packed with natural Vitamin C and antioxidants, and have no preservatives or anything artificial.
- Maria Palacio, Palo Alto, Calif., founder of Progeny Coffee. Progeny Coffee was founded by a fifth-generation coffee farmer with a set mission to take Colombian farmers out of poverty. They’ve taken on the challenge to design their own coffee chain by providing undeniable coffee transparency and unprecedented support to these growers stuck in a poverty loop. With their unique perspective on the coffee industry and heart-driven innovations, they’re looking to make a change that will rebalance the scale from coffee growers to consumers.
- Chi Nguyen, Dallas, who started Purpose Tea. Purpose Tea is a mission-driven beverage company innovating a high growth category with the newest innovation in tea – the purple tea leaf – while lifting from poverty the most exploited in the business of tea, female tea workers. They feature bottled teas brewed with this new super tea and are gaining distribution in Texas and California.
- Sophia Maroon, Bethesda, Md., founder of SoFine Food, LLC. SoFine Foods/Dress It Up Dressings offers a dressing that is as healthy as the salad. Salad dressing has notoriously been the least healthy part of the salad, and it doesn’t have to be. Dress It Up is a line of simply crafted dressing made to elevate every meal.