PepsiCo and Stacy’s Rise Project shout out for female entrepreneurs for ‘one-of-a-kind’ mentorship programme

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Stacy's Project Rise has opened submissions for its annual mentorship programme. Pic: GettyImages/Kritchanut
Stacy's Project Rise has opened submissions for its annual mentorship programme. Pic: GettyImages/Kritchanut

Related tags Pepsico Frito-lay Stacy's WomenMade Hello Alice female entrepreneurs startups incubator mentorship Grant

PepsiCo Frito-Lay and Stacy’s are again calling for applications for the Rise Project incubation initiative that mentors female-founded startups like Stacy's.

This year, Stacy’s Rise Project has expanded its platform to offer 15 women the opportunity to make their dreams a reality with a ‘one-of-a-kind’ grant and mentorship programme, which will include:

Stacy Madison created her eponymous snack line in 1998, which PepsiCo acquired in 2006 for a reported $250m.

  • Advertising, including expert design consultation and donated media space
  • 1:1 mentorship from Frito-Lay and PepsiCo experts in sales, supply, marketing and R&D
  • A $10,000 grant for each finalist.

“In 2019, female founders received only 2.8% of venture capitalist funding – which means that as small businesses struggle in the current environment, women-owned companies need more support than ever before,”​ said Ciara Dilley, VP of Marketing, Transform Brands & Portfolio Innovation for Frito-Lay, who also lead’s Frito-Lay’s WomanMade community that supports female founders.

“Years ago, marketing, mentorship and monetary support helped our own female-founded brand rise from a humble sandwich cart to the nation’s supermarkets. And while the world looks very different today, we know these ingredients are still the recipe for success​.

“That’s why Stacy’s is proudly expanding the Stacy’s Rise Project to share our most valuable resources with 15 women in their journey to help make their dreams a reality.”

'Single most powerful contribution'

Last year, Dilley told BakeryandSnacks she believed women embodied the same capabilities, courage and grit as their male counterparts to operate a successful business.

“We believe the economic empowerment of women is the single most powerful contribution we can make to advancing female equality,”​ said Dilley.

A panel of PepsiCo and Frito-Lay leaders, with partners from Hello Alice – an AI-powered virtual accelerator that helps startups navigate the challenges of raising capital, hiring employees and making the connections they need to succeed – will choose the finalists based on:

  • The uniqueness of their brand proposition
  • Their commitment to social impact
  • How, as a female founder, they have leveraged their network or creativity to overcome recent challenges for their business.

The 15 finalists will be unveiled in July, with one grand winner taking home an additional $100,000.

Last year, Stacy’s enlisted food entrepreneur and TopChef host Padma Lakshmi to announce the winners.

Hakuna Brands founder Hannah Hong was chosen as the grand prize winner from a group of five finalists – chosen from an initial pool of over 400 applicants – for her line of plant-based ice creams.

This year’s pool of 15 finalists will be unveiled in July.

To apply, you must be:

  • A female-founded small business
  • Looking for funding relief
  • Giving back to the community—through individual efforts or through your company
  • Available to participate in a virtual mentorship programme from July to October 2020.

Applications are open until June 1, 2020. The application form is available here​and here.

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