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Would €10,000 help make your next move in business? Apply for Visa’s She's Next Grant Programme today

 

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After its success in 2021, Visa’s She's Next Grant Programme returns for another year, and this time, funds have doubled. Visa, in partnership with IFundWomen, are offering €10,000, plus a year of business coaching, to five businesses in Ireland.

The programme is open to women owned businesses and organisations across all industries and aims to support them with tools, resources and funding.

Funding

Last year, five businesses across five different sectors were selected as grant winners. From the remarkable social enterprise helping Irish teenagers rethink how they treat each other and themselves to the innovative eco-supermarket in Co. Mayo. As part of Visa’s commitment to promote women business entrepreneurs, the grant aims to help address some of the barriers faced by business owners today, such as confidence and post-pandemic recovery.  

Suzanne Moloney, owner of HidraWear and one of last year's winners, explains how winning She’s Next has helped her company expand their product range. 

"We have five products on the market now and another one on the way, partly thanks to She's Next and Visa. We used that funding to purchase a piece of tooling we needed."

Tammy Darcy, founder of the Shona Project, used her grant to expand her team, which will allow her business to work with even more teenagers in the coming years. 

"Our grant was €5,000, which was really helpful. We wanted to fund a new program manager, and we had been trying hard to raise the money so that €5,000, got us over the line."

Rosie Joyce, owner of The Habit Store, felt that the grant gave her business a significant boost and allowed her to advance her business by several months.  

"Opening your own business is very exciting but also very stressful. You go from having very little financial pressure to having a lease, more products, and more suppliers to pay. 

"There are things we would never have been able to do had we not had that grant. It kind of accelerated the business by about seven or eight months by being able to do those things, which has brought in a lot of sales for us."

Rosie explains that being chosen as one of the winners meant more to her than just financial help.

"On a personal level, it was such a massive high to be chosen. It just felt really special for an environmental service like this to be recognised especially by a brand like Visa. It was brilliant."

2022 applications are open until August 16th, and business owners, including those who applied last year, can apply for one of five different categories:

General awards for:

  • Micro business: Sole proprietorships or microbusinesses with no more than two employees
  • Early-stage business: Businesses founded and incorporated within the last 24 months
  • Small business: Any small business with less than 50 employees

Additional two categories for:

  • Innovation: Businesses in science, technology, engineering or medicine which are focused on developing new technologies.
  • Sustainability: Businesses that show recognisable achievements in sustainability efforts, e.g. sustainable energy, climate resilience, environmental and social best practice, environmental and social innovation, and gender and economic inclusion.

Coaching

Research has shown that confidence is a key barrier to female entrepreneurs, with only 38pc of Irish women perceiving they have the necessary skills to start a business compared to 58pc of men. In addition, the lingering impact of the pandemic is also being felt, and businesses run by women are again disproportionately affected, with 58pc saying 2021 had been a challenge and their business is still recovering, compared to 33pc of businesses run by men.

In an effort to tackle this issue head-on, winners of the grant will also receive a year of business coaching provided by IFundWomen.

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

Tammy Darcy also found the coaching beneficial and used her monthly sessions to examine how she could boost her social enterprise.

"The mentors have been great. Most of the ones I have met have been American. They have a very different view of philanthropy and social enterprise than we do here. So 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."

So, whether your business is still in its early stages or you’re looking to leap into a new chapter, Visa’s She’s Next Grant Programme may help you take that next step. The application process is  straightforward and Suzanne advocates for all female-led business owners to believe in themselves and just go for it.

"Definitely apply. A lot of people may think they are not ready or not good enough compared to other companies, but you have to throw your hat in the ring and take a chance on yourself".

The 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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