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Visa’s She’s Next Grant Programme: How it can help your business and some insider tips to get your application ready

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The programme aims to tackle some of the significant issues women face in business.

International Women's Day 2020 saw the launch of an exciting partnership between Visa and IFundWomen (IFW). The two companies share a like-minded vision to provide opportunities, funding and resources for women in business. 

Following a phenomenal first year in the United States, Visa's She's Next Programme, in partnership with IFundWomen, expanded to Ireland in 2021. As a result, five innovative and inspiring Irish businesses received a grant of €5000, and one year of IFW Coaching services.

The programme returns to Irish shores again this year, and grant funding has increased to €10,000. The search for this year's five lucky winners is well underway. 

Applications will remain open until August 16th (winners to be announced on September 27th). Below are three simple tips to offer any women entrepreneurs who are interested in applying. 

Tip number one: Prepare for your application

Preparing for your application is one of the most important things you can do. Not only will it save you some time, but it may also help you submit an even stronger entry. 

While the application process is straightforward, you will be asked to fill out details such as your business's social media handles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) as well as some revenue and funding figures. So be sure to gather, write and prepare all your information and have it to hand before beginning the process.

You will also have the option to supply imagery and a 60-second video that tells Visa more about your business. If you choose to send a video, it is worth noting that you will need to share it via a link (For example, Vimeo, YouTube, Dropbox, or Google Drive). To save time, make sure to have these assets ready before starting your application.

Be sure to read the  Official Rules before applying for a grant. There are certain criteria and eligibility requirements, so by having a quick read, you can find out if your business could be in the running. 

Tip number two: Think about your pitch and how you will tell your story

You will have to describe your business in 400 words or less during your application. Remember that this is an opportunity to showcase your great work and why you deserve one of the winning grants. 

You will need to explain what your company does, the problem you are solving, and the solution your business provides. You will also be asked to discuss why you are uniquely qualified to create your solution and any partnerships you are proud of.

Dedicate some time to writing your pitch before starting your application, and be sure to make it clear, concise, and powerful.

Ps. Here is a sneak peek at some of the other questions to plan for within the application:

  • Please describe how your business has demonstrated growth within the past 12 months with regards to revenue, customers, traffic, or another metric that matters to you.
  • What was your key motivation for starting your business?
  • How would you leverage this grant funding for your business?
  • How has your business been impacted by COVID-19?

Tip number three: Don't be afraid to outsource

Check out the Grant Planner in the  IFundWomen Method Playbook. This free resource can support you through your grant writing process and give you a sense of what you might be in for if you are a grant winner. 

Along with €10,000, winners receive one year of coaching with IFundWomen, a resource that previous successful applicants felt was priceless.

Two women-owned businesses selected by Visa in 2021 included Tammy Darcy, founder of The Shona Project, a social enterprise helping thousands of young women, and Suzanne Moloney, founder of HidraWear, a med-tech company which provides wound management solutions for patients with Hidradenitis Suppurativa. 

Suzanne Moloney says, "the coaching sessions were really helpful because we're fundraising. So, I focused on the elements of the pitch deck and how I can improve that to cater to a bigger investor audience."

Tammy Darcey explains that she also used her coaching to help drive more funds into her business.

"The mentors have been great. I tapped into a few mentors on things like crowdfunding and awareness-raising and ways to think outside the box to fund the work that we want to do."

Meg Jones, VP of Marketing and Partnerships at IFundWomen, feels that the partnership with Visa is a fundamental step in the right direction when it comes to supporting women-led businesses. 

"Visa has just been such an incredible partner to work with. It's so clear how they share in our vision to drive funding and resources to women-owned businesses. We're so proud to call them a partner, and we're so appreciative of the work that they are doing through the programme."

Visa's She's Next Grant Programme, in partnership with IFundWomen, is open to small businesses and organisations who are majority-owned by women, operating across all industries and sectors, through a simple application process. To enter, apply now for one of five grants of €10,000 plus a year of coaching provided by IFundWomen by submitting your details  here.


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