Rise: Stacy’s Pita Chips starts the year on a high note for women

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Rise: Stacy’s Pita Chips starts the year on a high note for women

Related tags Stacy's Rise Project PepsiCo Frito-Lay Rise Sundance Film Festival women empowerment

The female-founded snack brand – now a PepsiCo brand – furthers its legacy of empowering women entrepreneurs with a new cohort of Project winners and showcasing Rise – created in collaboration with Reese Witherspoon’s media company Hello Sunshine and Ventureland Studios – at the Sundance Film Festival.

Stacy’s has announced the winners of its fourth annual Stacy’s Rise Project, the brand’s grant + mentorship programme that has connected thousands of female founders and provided more than $1m in funding since 2017.

For the first time, the Project expanded the programme beyond the US and opened applications to women founders based in Canada with the help of Women's Enterprise Organisations of Canada (WEOC), receiving a record-breaking 9,000+ submissions.

The 14 inspiring winners – selected with the help of longtime grant partner Hello Alice – will each receive a $15,000 grant, as well as incomparable mentorship and community-building opportunities with Stacy’s longtime grand partner Hello Alice and the extensive network of Stacy’s Rise Project winners – an evolving mentorship community dedicated to helping women grow their businesses.

A woman’s fighting spirit

Rupi Kaur Headshot
Rupi Kaur

The PepsiCo-owned brand is also honouring the resilience of women entrepreneurs through the release of Rise – a short film, produced in collaboration with Hello Sunshine – at the Sundance Film Festival (19-29 January). Stacy’s is an official sponsor of the 2023 event.

Created by PRETTYBIRD filmmaker Nisha Ganatra and featuring original poetry by No. 1 New York Times bestselling author and performer Rupi Kaur, Rise illustrates the resilience of women today and those who came before them, bringing to light the dedication and behind-the-scenes struggles people often don’t see.

The film spotlights the stories of Sajani Amarasiri of Kola Goodies, Jocelyn Ramirez of Todo Verde and Maria Jose Palacio of Progeny Coffee, three previous winners of the Stacy's Rise Project.

Accompanied by stats and news headlines that frame the additional societal context on the struggles women face, Rise illuminates how women’s roots – the histories, voices and fortitude of those who came before – inspires their rise and continued fight for progress.

The film was led by award-winning filmmaker, Ganatra, and nearly all of the primary roles in its making were comprised of women.

“Hello Sunshine's mission is to amplify women's stories and experiences, and that's why it was so important for us to team up with Stacy's Pita Chips for the Stacy's Rise Project,”​ said Oscar-winning Witherspoon.

“I’m so proud of what we created together and am excited for everyone to see Rise and be inspired by these incredible women.”

Stacy’s chose to support the 2023 Sundance Film Festival as an extension of its commitment to supporting creative, innovative and visionary women. As the premiere independent film festival, Sundance provides a mission-aligned platform to further champion women's voices in all areas of entrepreneurship and through the power of storytelling.

The 7:35 minute-long movie is available to watch on Amazon Prime and YouTube.

Introducing the class of 2023

Stacy's Rise Project 1

Dorielle Price co-founded EasyPeasie, dried, ground vegetable blends that are convenient and nutritious ‘veggie-palate primers’ to introduce vegetables to kids.

Michelle Razavi created ELAVI, a line of gut-friendly, fitness trainer-approved snacks designed to boost cognitive focus, balanced mood, athletic recovery and overall vitality.

Essilfua Bartels produces EssieSpice’s small-batch sauces, dry rubs and condiments made with indigenous spices from Ghana and other exotic ingredients from around the world.

Jane Barden founded Farm to Summit, a dehydrated food company on a mission to reduce food waste.

Shelley Elkovich develops For Bitter For Worse, a line of sophisticated non-alcoholic cocktails made with herbs and botanicals from the Pacific Northwest.

Diana Rios Jasso founded Jarabe Gourmet Pops, which specialises in serving fresh, handcrafted Mexican-style ice pops, an inspiration from her childhood upbringing of seeing her father sell paletas in the street corners of Los Angeles.

Jacqueline Grady Smith co-developed Not Just Co.’s multipurpose sauces and dressings to help take the struggle out of dinner.

Rhonda Cammon created Perfectly Cordial, a line of versatile cocktail and mocktail mixers.

Patrice Cunningham developed Tae-Gu-Kimchi, a handcrafted Napa cabbage kimchi using her mother’s authentic recipe.

Monica Sunny founded The Chai Box, which produces sustainably and ethically sourced Chai concentrates and loose-leaf tea blends.

Carolyn Simon founded Choose Life Foods, which makes plant-based alternatives to the Caribbean’s most beloved dishes.

Elaine Tan Comeau created the award-winning Easy Daysies line of daily visual schedules with the goal to help children, adults and families have happier and easier days.

Jolene Johnson founded Wabanaki Maple, a unique maple syrup created with a twist on the traditional method and 100% Indigenous women owned.

Kristyn Carriere developed 7 Summits Snacks’ purposeful superfood chocolate products that are designed to 'fuel your next adventure.'

“Stacy’s Pita Chips is a brand that believes that when one woman rises, we all rise,” ​said Rhasheda Boyd, VP of Frito-Lay.

“Women-owned businesses only receive 2% of venture capital funding, yet businesses founded by women have an average return on investment of two times per dollar invested.

“Stacy’s is investing in the futures of women-led businesses through the Stacy’s Rise Project. We are excited to bring awareness to these remarkable women at a major platform, the Sundance Film Festival. This will give even more people the opportunity to rally around them and be inspired by their resilience.”

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