In celebration of its second birthday, My Founder Story is introducing its sister company, Fueled by Purpose, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting its giveback initiatives. This expansion will allow My Founder Story to award more grants and services and serve a greater number of female founders. Since launching in 2018, My Founder Story has donated more than $200,000 in grants and services to women.
Kylee Leonetti is one of those founders. Her company, Leonetti Confetti, offers biodegradable confetti that’s hand cut by women in addiction recovery. The grant funding helped Leonetti Confetti expand its offerings and multiply its impact. Through a partnership with True Ethic Design and Free Set Global, Kylee developed a line of one-of-a-kind confetti print bags with a purpose.
“The bags were made by women who survived human trafficking and now earn a living wage making textiles,” Kylee said. “Each pouch was then hand painted with a confetti print by women in recovery, providing an opportunity to help them get back on their feet.”
Earlier this year, in response to the global health crisis, My Founder Story partnered with BankCherokee to award Fueled by Purpose micro grants to female-founded small businesses in need. Eleven grants were awarded through June and the micro funding made a big difference in the lives and livelihoods of the businessowners. In July, My Founder Story announced it would continue its Fueled by Purpose micro grant program, this time powered by Visa. Every month through the end of this year, a grant will be provided to a female-founded business.
Tanekia Farmer, founder of Veganeik, a catering company specializing in vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian dishes, had steadily grown her business via word-of-mouth since launching in 2017. Like many in the food industry, her business came to a screeching halt when COVID-19 shut down most of the country. She pivoted to meal prep and delivery, but there were many dark days when she wondered if her business would survive.
When I got the news that I’d won the grant, I fell to my knees, I was so grateful.
–Tanekia Farmer, Founder of Veganeik
Tanekia was able to sustain her business and continues to receive wonderful feedback from her clients about how her healthy food is making their lives better. Her delivery service is doing well and she’s back to catering small and outdoor events.
Gonzo Dog founder Kellie Stevens wondered how she’d adapt her dog training business during the pandemic. Prior to COVID-19, she primarily provided services to clients in their homes. Kellie turned lemons into lemonade and launched new remote training services via Skype and FaceTime. This shift, which she may not have considered otherwise, has allowed her to deliver training beyond her previous service area and serve clients nationwide.
Kellie used the grant to support this new approach. She purchased a number of tools to enhance the dog training experience, including a GoPro camera and video editing software that she’d had her eye on for years.
I am so grateful for the grant and opportunity to provide better service to my clients and their dogs!
–Kellie Stevens, Founder of Gonzo Dog
Elevating More Female Founders
In addition to the nonprofit, a Fueled by Purpose Marketplace is launching this month and will elevate female-founded businesses by featuring a curated collection of products and services that support a variety of causes. Women-owned businesses currently donating a portion of proceeds to a specific nonprofit are invited to participate. Businesses that don’t currently have a giveback initiative may participate by making a donation to the Fueled by Purpose micro grant fund.
“Today’s consumers expect businesses to do the right thing, to put people and the planet first, and they’re committed to supporting and recommending businesses that are aligned with their values,” said Chris Olsen, founder of My Founder Story and Fueled by Purpose. “There are many amazing women-owned businesses that are doing good and giving back, and more than ever it’s important to elevate these businesses.”
Women face significant hurdles in launching and growing small businesses. There are around 13 million women-owned businesses in the United States today. Those businesses generate close to $2 trillion in annual revenue and employ more than 9 million people. Despite their significant contributions to society and the economy, female founders receive less than a quarter of small business bank loans and a tiny fraction (less than 3 percent) of venture capital. Those numbers decrease exponentially for women of color. Women who do receive business funding are more likely to receive smaller amounts and higher interest rates. My Founder Story and Fueled by Purpose are on a mission to disrupt the status quo by providing tools and resources to empower female founders.
To learn more about Fueled by Purpose grants and grant winners, vist the Grants page.
To learn more about the Fueled by Purpose Marketplace, visit the Marketplace page.
PC: Kimberlee Karr for My Founder Story