By Chris Olsen
Fueled by Purpose is the nonprofit sister company to My Founder Story and is dedicated to providing resources to female-identifying founders. Since 2018, more than $200,000 in grants and services have been donated to women business owners. To learn more and apply, visit our grants page.
Launching and growing a small business in the U.S. is a challenge for any entrepreneur, but it’s especially challenging for Black, indigenous, people of color womxn business owners. Entrepreneurs of color (male and female) are less likely to receive small business loans than their white counterparts. Many assume rejection and don’t pursue funding in the first place. Those that do typically receive loan amounts that are smaller—an average of less than half of the funding that white founders receive.
But people of color are not only refused funding for their business ventures. They’re also denied access to networks, education and tools that are critical for success. A female founder of color herself, Michelle Maryns felt driven by these disparities to launch her public benefit corporation, We Sparkle. She’s on a mission to help underestimated small businesses leverage technology so they can reach their full potential. Her newly launched Sparkle Assistant uses artificial intelligence to automate tedious administrative work. The customizable app communicates with contacts, clients and customers via text and seamlessly answers frequently asked questions, upsells products and services, and schedules meetings, appointments, deliveries and more.
This support can be transformative for small businesses. It’s especially valuable for solopreneurs who are doing it all—from designing, developing and delivering the company’s products or services to handling customer experience, marketing, information technology, accounting and business development. It frees up valuable resources and allows business owners to focus on working on their business instead of in their business, which is a key to growth.
Michelle plans to use the Fueled by Purpose micro grant to raise awareness for Sparkle Assistant.
To learn more about and apply for a Fueled by Purpose micro grant, visit our grants page.
Photo: We Sparkle
About the author: Chris Olsen is a radio veteran turned communications consultant, educator and author of “Whyography: Building a Brand Fueled by Purpose”. Through her work as a consultant partnering with startups, Chris realized her WHY—to support women-owned businesses in confidently communicating their purpose and impact, setting them up for entrepreneurial success. She created My Founder Story as a platform for doing so.