Women own nearly 50% of all businesses in North America, however, they’re privy to only a tiny piece of the help - in fact, receiving, on average, a mere 2% of venture capital (VC) funding, according to the US Small Business Administration and Credit Suisse.
Stacy’s Pita Chips - a PepsiCo Frito-Lay-owned brand that has long championed women entrepreneurs - has created a pie-crust cookie that unashamedly illustrate the tiny piece of the pie that is typically available to women-owned businesses,
The brand is using the snack to launch the next edition of its Rise Project, which will award 15 founders a $25,000 grant, mentorship and membership and access to resources of the highly acclaimed community of Stacy’s Rise Project winners in North America.
‘When one woman rises, we all rise’
Former Stacy’s Rise winner Janie Deegan of Janie’s Life-Changing Baked Goods created the Stacy’s Rise ‘pie’.
Founded in the midst of reconstructing her life after struggling with addiction and homelessness, a Stacy’s Culinary Grant in 2017 helped set Deegan on a path to fully pursue her passion and focus on making positive changes in her community through Janie’s Life-Changing Baked Goods.
Deegan today operates three Janie’s locations in New York and continues to bring passion with purpose to the table. She provides second-chance employment, teaches classes to underprivileged youth in New York City, and donates time and baked goods to local community centres and homeless shelters.
“Receiving a grant from Stacy's in 2017 allowed me to quit my day job, fully pursue my passions, and focus on making positive changes in my community,” said Deegan.
“Every year, Stacy’s Rise helps more women make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality and those women give right back to the community.
“I was thrilled to team up with Stacy's again to encourage other founders to apply to the Stacy’s Rise Project and help draw attention to how much more funding should be going to support women entrepreneurs.”
A twist on Janie’s Famous Pie Crust Cookie, Stacy’s pie has a flaky crust and a layer of apple pie filling, topped with caramelised streusel and Stacy's Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips. They’re available from Stacy’s Rise online for an RRP of $25.00 plus shipping until Thanksgiving, or while stocks last.
All orders also include a selection of treats from some of the previous Stacy's Rise Project winners over the past five years, including Blue Henry (Adrienne Walker), 7 Summits Snacks (Kristyn Carriere), ELAVI (Michelle Razavi), The Glamatory (Mimi Johnson), The Chai Box (Monica Sunny) and Bright Black (Tiffany Griffin).
Changing the status quo
This year, the Stacy’s Rise Project is seeking to reward 15 winners across North America - 10 in the US and five in Canada - with a $25,000 grant each, along with mentorship from Frito-Lay and PepsiCo execs and membership to a built-in community of powerful women. Applications are open until 1 December.
“The goal of the Stacy's Rise Project is not only to spread awareness of the funding gap women-owned businesses face, but to ensure these founders have access to resources, mentorship and community to help them overcome the statistics,” said Rhasheda Boyd, VP of marketing, Frito-Lay North America.
“Because at Stacy’s, we believe that when one woman rises, we all rise.”
Added Jess Spaulding, chief marketing officer for PepsiCo Foods Canada, “The Stacy’s brand is proud to continue the work we began last year, in service to women entrepreneurs across Canada.
“We know access to funding and resources can dramatically change the trajectory of these businesses, so this year we’re excited to be able to expand the programme and provide increased support to five incredibly deserving women founders.”
Evolving from a humble sandwich cart, Stacy’s Snacks is one of the many brands that make up Frito-Lay North America, the $23bn convenient foods division of New York-headquartered PepsiCo, Inc.
Since 2017, Stacy’s Rise Project has received almost 30,000 applications and with longtime grand partner Hello Alice, has invested over $1m in over 60 women-owned businesses.
“There are so many women entrepreneurs who need more opportunities for funding, mentorship and resources,” said Carolyn Simon, founder of Choose Life Foods, Patty Queen, one of the four Canadian winners of the 2023 Stacy’s Rise Project.
“Stacy’s Rise Project was an unforgettable opportunity for entrepreneurs. From the grant funding to the ongoing mentorship opportunities, being chosen as a Stacy’s Rise Project grant recipient was crucial in tackling the challenges of post-pandemic trends and inflation.”