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Stacy’s Rise Project expands funds for female founders to help close the investing gender divide

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty
Source: Getty

Related tags Entrepreneurship

Frustrated that women entrepreneurs receive only about 2% of all venture funding, despite owning 38% of US businesses, Stacy’s Pita Chips is expanding its Rise Project to help female founders grow their businesses with an additional $200,000 in funding now available.

Stacy’s Rise Project​ will award $20,000 to five female-founded food and beverage businesses in July and also open the doors at Frito-Lay’s headquarters for a kick-off followed by ongoing mentorship and one-on-one guidance from experienced PepsiCo executives and office hours with industry experts, including Stacy’s Pita Chips’ Founder Stacy Madison, who knows first-hand what it is like to found a business as a woman.

On Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Nov. 19, one of the five participants will receive an additional $100,000 to support their business, according to the project, which opened applications earlier this month through June 21 for female-founded food and beverage companies with an annual revenue of at least $25,000.

Interested applicants should send a one-minute video outlining their “recipe for success,”​ and intended use for the funds. For more information visit

The applications will be reviewed by a team including Padma Lakshmi; President and Chairwoman of Alice Elizabeth Gore; CEO of SnackNation Sean Kelly and the CEO of SheWorx Lisa Wang.

Rise Project holds personal significance for Madison, who launched Stacy’s Pita Chips as a food cart in Boston and worked hard to grow it to the formidable category player it is today.

“As a female business owner who has experienced the challenges and journey first-hand, I recognize the importance of empowering women to take leadership roles and purse their entrepreneurial efforts,” ​she said in a statement, adding she was excited to help other women follow her same path.

Ciara Dilley, vice president of marketing at Stacy’s Snacks added that the “economic empowerment of women is the single most powerful contribution we can make to advancing gender equality. When women have economic independence, they invest back into their families and their communities, creating an undeniable upward cycle of prosperity.”

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