Stacy's Pita Chips is continuing its commitment to helping female founders be found by partnering with Oscar winning actress and producer Reese Witherspoon and the media company she founded, Hello Sunshine, to spotlight the 10 inspiring winners of the 2021 Stacy's Rise Project. New this year, Stacy's is also amplifying founders by launching FoundedByHer.org, an online business directory featuring female founders from across the United States.
As a female-founded brand that grew from a sandwich cart to nationwide distribution, Stacy's is building upon its legacy of helping women rise through the Stacy's Rise Project, a grant and mentorship program dedicated to helping women grow their businesses. Earlier this year, Stacy's, with longtime partner Hello Alice, received an overwhelming amount of interest in the Rise Project from founders across the nation with an almost 300% increase in applications from years prior.
The 10 winners will each receive a $10,000 grant, mentoring from Frito-Lay and PepsiCo leadership, and the opportunity to participate in a speaker series featuring Frito-Lay leadership and notable founders. Perhaps most importantly, they are also welcomed into a built-in community to experience the power of women coming together to lift each other up, celebrate each other's successes, and achieve their dreams. To welcome and amplify the 2021 finalists as well as extend visibility to founders in 2022, the brand is kicking off a partnership with actress and producer Reese Witherspoon and the media company she founded, Hello Sunshine.
Helping Founders Overcome Unique Challenges
To better understand the unique challenges and opportunities female founders face, Stacy's commissioned a survey among 500 US female entrepreneurs, defined as those who are currently or plan to own a business with the intent of making a profit. One of the key findings was that unconscious bias, defined as "prejudice" or "social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness," proves a hurdle in female entrepreneur's business journeys. Notably, of the 500 respondents, more than one third (34%) believe they frequently experience unconscious bias from other people, and 76% believe they have encountered challenges their male counterparts have not. When it comes to having a support system, the survey reinforced the importance of having female leaders and mentors, with more than 45% of respondents saying it was very important.
This year, Stacy's will make it easier than ever to discover female-founded businesses nationwide with the FoundedByHer business directory, now available at FoundedByHer.org. This directory provides consumers with the ability to search for founders by zip code or category. It also allows founders to register their business to be featured in the directory for an opportunity to be found.
The support doesn't stop there. In celebration of Women's Entrepreneurship Day on November 19, people can support founders through the FoundedByHer curated gift boxes that represent a variety of founders featured in the FoundedByHer.org directory.
Aspiring entrepreneurs and fans can follow along the journey of the Stacy's Rise Project class of 2021 by following #StacysRiseProject across social media channels.
The Stacy's Rise Project® Class of 2021
• Sara Fludd, St. Petersburg, Fla., who founded Pop Goes the Waffle, an innovative waffle company dedicated to authentic liege waffle via retail, wholesale and eCommerce.
• Samotria Holmes, Simpsonville, S.C., who founded Holmes Sweet Home, a specialty food producer that is hyper focused on ingredient quality and supporting our local economy.
• Marsha Stephanson, Pflugerville, Texas, who founded Cater to Mom, a monthly postpartum self-care subscription for new and seasoned moms.
• Sue Kakuk, Minneapolis, Minn., who founded Kakookies, delicious grab-n-go cookies made with real food ingredients and plant-based protein providing the nutrition of energy bar with the deliciousness and comfort of a cookie making them an ideal snack for travelers, outdoor enthusiasts, and busy families.
• Jocelyn Ramirez, Los Angeles, Calif., who founded Todo Verde, a plant-based Mexican food business based out of East Los Angeles that is creating culturally relevant dishes.
• Adrienne Walker, Capitol Heights, Md., who founded BlueHenry LLC, a manufacturer of quality all-natural beverage garnishes. They produce dehydrated fruit, simple syrups and rimming salts and sugars that are predominantly used to amplify craft cocktails.
• Amber Balakian, Reedley, Calif., who founded Balakian Farms, a manufacturer of fruit and vegetable CPG products. They currently produce Organic Blended Heirloom Tomatoes.
• Alberta Liao, Millbrae, Calif., who founded Jinka, the first vegan tuna spread product in the refrigerated section with a goal to provide a clean, healthy, sustainable, and delicious tuna alternative to people who are looking to incorporate more plant-based foods in their life.
• Julie Butcher, Estero, Fla., who founded The Vegan Knife, a company that offers a line of allergy friendly and vegan cupcake/cakes and donut mixes. Specifically, all of their baking mixes are gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, nut free, and vegan.
• Sajani Amarasiri, San Francisco, Calif., who founded Kola Goodies Inc., which makes botanical-rich, yummy, easy, superfood latte blends to boost your energy, mood, immunity, and well-being. Made with ingredients sourced directly from South Asian farmer collectives.