Two female entrepreneurs have decided to pay it forward, literally, to Black womxn seeking venture capital for their business dreams. On July 20, the co-founders of Pepper, an unapologetic bra brand for small-chested women, launched a new $5K Startup Grant for Black Women.
Black women have traditionally received less than 1 percent of total venture funding. Co-Founders Jaclyn Fu and Lia Winograd partnered with Startup Girl Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit venture capital fund investing in female founders, in recognition of their privilege as non-Black women of color to offer monetary support, in addition to sharing their knowledge and connections, to a new startup every year.
Every year, the grant will give $5,000 to a new Black womxn with an early-stage business. Inspired by the $5,000 of Fu and Winograd’s own savings used to launch Pepper as a 2017 Kickstarter project, the grant comes with no strings attached, and recipients will never be expected to pay it back. In addition to the money, the grant recipient will have access to monthly mentorship calls with the founders of Pepper, dedicated promotion on Pepper’s social media accounts, and access to consultations with experts in legal, fundraising, finance and marketing.
Applicants from all industries are welcome, but at least 51 percent of the business must be owned, controlled or operated and managed by a Black or African-American female or non-binary identifying owner(s). The recipient must also be over the age of 18, and a U.S. resident.
Applications close on August 19 at 11:59 p.m, MT. Three finalists will be announced by September 1, via email. Finalists will be asked to submit a short video that will be used to select the winner, and will be promoted on Pepper’s social media accounts. Apply here for the funding your venture deserves!