BROUGHT TO YOU BY CARIBBEAN WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
Fostering Access to Capital for women entrepreneurs in the Caribbean.
1:10:50 …REMEMBER THESE NUMBERS AND HELP US TO MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Hi there! This is Cecile. Valrie Grant and I are two Caribbean women entrepreneurs who have come together to tackle the access to capital challenge faced by many entrepreneurs.
Valrie, a Jamaican entrepreneur and Founder of GeoTechVison, was named the 2015 Commonwealth Woman Entrepreneur of the year and now holds the title of the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Ambassador through to 2017. Valrie approached me earlier this year wanting to explore how she could do something meaningful to impact women entrepreneurs during her ambassadorial term. Knowing that I had started this crowdfunding site pitchandchoose.com, and that I had far more than a modicum of appreciation for what is required to fund businesses, Valrie wanted to know if we could possibly use crowdfunding to raise funds to give as grants to women entrepreneurs.
It wasn’t the first time I had heard that one.
In fact, I had already had discussions with contemporaries in Barbados and Belize on this very point and was already working on the concept. So, “leave it to me”, I gladly said. I had no idea what I had let myself in for. By July I found myself flying down to Guyana to launch FundRiseHERTM concurrent with the 37th CARICOM Heads of Government meeting. We subsequently launched in Jamaica at the end of July, all during the time when theFundRiseHERTM was being built and developed to be presented as the flagship initiative for Valrie as the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Ambassador.
Our social good mission won the backing of the Commonwealth BusinessWomen’s Network and Caribbean Export Development Agency. And we engaged with government and private sector and attracted some major support from the Chamber of Commerce in Guyana and Jamaica and other substantial players in the entrepreneurial ecosystem such as Jamaica Development Bank.
For you seeFundRiseHERTM is built on the premise of entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs. It anticipates that we can ignite the Pay It Forward culture that is so much a part of who we are as Caribbean people. Because it is true that we help each other. It’s who we are. It’s what we do.
And in all this, it’s been eat, drink and sleep FundRiseHERTM to bring it to the market.
So, please join me in this moment of celebratingFundRiseHERTM , and what we together will be doing to make it happen for women entrepreneurs! Woo Hoo!
So what is FundRiseHERTM ?
FundRiseHERTM is a crowdfunded grant program to empower growth-oriented women entrepreneurs to make a bigger impact on growing Caribbean economies. It is designed so that as a community, we can all participate by giving and/or sharing in a way that will grow our island economies through entrepreneurship.
And here’s some big news! It’s not only for the Caribbean. FundRiseHERTM is a proof of concept for crowdfunding for the Commonwealth. Yes, the Commonwealth. So despite having its origins in the Caribbean, we have the opportunity to roll this model throughout the Commonwealth and to impact the world. The Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network is onboard and has been engaging with us to make this happen.
How exciting is that?
I told you to remember 1:10:50. Well, FundRiseHERTM aspires to raise US$ l million for a collective of campaigns launched in at least 10 participating Caribbean countries to create grant funds to support growing the businesses of 50 women entrepreneurs. They will all roll up to this parent campaign so that we can see how we are doing to meet our goal.
Our participating countries so far are:
- OECS – lead by Antigua to include Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines
- St. Maarten
- Trinidad & Tobago
Additionally, we are expecting that Suriname will come onboard.
How cool is all this? Are you with me? Can we all come together and support our Caribbean communities by providing a funding filip for women entrepreneurs who seek to grow and scale their businesses which will lead to greater empowerment for them, their families and their communities.
The processes and activities of FundRiseHERTM are subject to the guidance and authority of the governing partners who will participate as members of a Board of Governors comprised of the FundRiseHERTM Country Affiliates.
Each participating country will launch their own FundRiseHERTM campaign to fund grants, valued between $10,000 to $25,000, that will be administered to the women entrepreneurs who apply to the program. 80% will be available to directly fund expenditures related to the growth agenda of the successful grantee and 20% of each grant will be disbursed to enable FundRiseHERTM country affiliates to administer the program and provide expert support and mentorship to the grantees.
The grant process will be subject to the independent oversight of our governing partners Commonwealth BusinessWomen’s Network and Caribbean Export Development Agency.
So what do you think? Is this worth doing? Can you be a part of it?
Every mickle mek a muckle! So we invite you to #SayYES to FundRiseHER and encourage your network far and wide, online and offline, to do the same. Also learn more about the initiative and the process of offering grants etc at www.fundriseher.com.