Archive for the ‘Grant Recipients’ Category

STEMed Academy is our May Qualification Grant Recipient

Thursday, June 8th, 2017

Recently, we announced our May finalists. Now, we’re excited to introduce you to our May Qualification Grant winner, Emily Silveira, Founder of STEMed Academy.

Read our interview with Emily below to learn about her unique story and business.

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WN: Share the story of STEMed Academy.

ES: Though still in its early stages, the story of STEMed Academy truly begins 20 years ago. As children, we are always asked what we want to be when we grow up, and when I was first called upon to share my hopes for the future there was no doubt in my mind: I wanted to be a teacher. While other children played House with their toys and dolls, I played School–complete with worksheets, homework, and pop quizzes. Every September a new teacher asked us that question. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Every year my answer was the same. The years flew by as I prepared myself for my future career, my future classroom.

Something scary happens when “What do you want to be when you grow up?” suddenly requires a real answer; like the moment you are filling out a college application and have to pick a major. This was it. This was my moment. Of course, in all my years of planning on becoming a teacher, I had never once considered what exactly it was that I wanted to teach. After two years of bouncing around departments at my local community college, I was finally asked a new question: “What have you enjoyed the most so far?” Easy. The Introduction to Geology class I had taken during my first semester. And that was that. I declared my major, finished my classes, and transferred to a four year college. I ended up enjoying my science classes so much that I didn’t even hesitate when my advisor asked if I wanted to continue on for my Master’s Degree with him.

I did hesitate, however, once that Master’s program started. I missed my education classes. I delved so deep into geology that I almost lost sight of my desire to teach–and I needed to get that back. I put my science classes on the back-burner and focused all of my energy on the prerequisite courses and exams to enter a California Teaching Credential program. Months and months went by, but somehow I was still unhappy. I still wanted to teach, but as I was exposed to new worlds of learning outside of a public school classroom, who I wanted to teach had changed.

Just a handful of months ago, I woke up one morning with a question on my mind: how exactly do parents teach science to their kids? After all, look at all of these years of classes and exams I had to go through to even begin preparing for a teaching career. Who was preparing parents? I am lucky enough to have an amazing homeschooling mother as a close friend, so I began to question her about her access to science curriculum and resources–or I should say lack of resources. The more people I asked, the more clear it was that the homeschool community had a dire need for science-backed science curriculum for all ages.

Within weeks of each other, I bought the domain name for STEMed Academy and dropped out of my Master’s Degree program. I had finally found my classroom: a world full of parents.

WN: How many households do you serve? Do you have a goal in terms of how many you hope to reach over a certain period of time?

ES: We currently have a small following of around 50 households around the world–which I can say because we recently enrolled our first international students. (Yay!) I am not necessarily concerned with the number of students we reach–at least not enough to have set a true goal. Of course, I would love to help every parent out there! But ultimately, I want to make sure that the families that do sign up with us receive the best science curriculum and training possible.

WN: Which branches of science are currently taught?

ES: I specialized in Earth Science, so the first Unit Plan offerings will be based in Earth Science; however, I hope to cover all aspects of “STEM” in the future. I am also working to incorporate reading and writing skills into the curriculum. I offer a few online classes like “Science in Poetry” where students learn different poetic formats by writing poems about science topics.

WN: What type of response have you received from parents?

ES: I think my favorite response so far has been a parent that wrote to me asking where I was 10 years ago. Their last child graduated this year, and they had spent most of the time inventing their own science curriculum because there simply weren’t many options. I have sent out a few free sneak peeks of our upcoming “Exploring What We See” astronomy unit, which is full of hands-on activities and vocabulary development. Parents have found the lessons easy to use, and–perhaps most importantly–the children have truly enjoyed learning about the stars and the seasons.

WN: What’s one piece of advice you would give to other female entrepreneurs?

ES: Embrace the fear. I think it is so easy for people to say “Don’t be afraid.” But anyone who has taken this leap knows that it is downright terrifying when you don’t know if you will be able to build a net to catch you. So instead of letting the fear drive you away, or trying to bury it down and ignore it, embrace it. Make friends with it. Tuck into bed next to you at night. Let it drive you forward into new ideas and ambitions. You are doing something awesome and great for yourself and for the world. Don’t let the fear stop you.

WN: Is there anything else you’d like to share about STEMed Academy?

ES: STEMed Academy prides itself on providing 100% secular science curriculum. We utilize the Three-Dimensional Learning philosophy referenced in the Next Generation Science Standards to ensure that all children are getting the STEM education they will need to perform in a 21st century world.

Also, STEMed Academy is not just for homeschools! Any parent can help their child develop their STEM skills, and we’re here to help them do just that.

Congratulations to Emily and all of our finalists for showcasing such amazing talent and promise.

Yoga2Sleep is our April Qualification Grant Recipient

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Earlier this week we announced our April finalists. Now, we’re thrilled to finally introduce you to our April Qualification Grant winner, Pamela Stokes Eggleston, Founder of Yoga2Sleep.

Read our interview with Pamela below to learn more about her and her business.

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Pamela Stokes Eggleston
Yoga2Sleep

WN: Talk about the purpose of Yoga2Sleep and your motivation behind the business.

Pamela: To understand why I chose (or why it was chosen for me by the Universe) to create Yoga2Sleep, I need to share my story. I am the daughter of an Air Force veteran and granddaughter of an Army veteran who served in WWII. And for close to 15 years, I’ve been a veteran caregiver to my husband, an Army veteran and three-time Purple Heart recipient who was initially pronounced dead only to survive his visible and invisible wounds during two OIF tours. His PTSD and my subsequent PTSD produced sleep deprivation for the both of us….and I LOVE sleep. And I LOVE yoga….so Yoga2Sleep was born!

My caregiving journey has been an arduous challenge; some days I didn’t know how we were going to make it. I still don’t. It’s a day to day journey. I suffered in silence as many caregivers do. I struggled with my “new normal.” All I loved – yoga, gardening, reading, writing – dropped to the side. Alas, it was these hardships and an invitation to the Maryland State Caregiver Support Coordination Council that ignited my passion: I cofounded a military families national nonprofit, I created a caregivers program for the organization, and I began teaching and sharing yoga and mindfulness with veterans, service members and their families, most recently using my Yoga2Sleep platform.

WN: Where is your business located? Describe the place(s) you operate in.

Pamela: Yoga2Sleep is located in the Washington DC metropolitan area, serving Maryland, DC, Virginia and globally. I work within several yoga studios, but also within wellness centers and corporate offices.

WN: What qualifications do you have as a Yoga instructor?

Pamela: I am a 500+ hour yoga instructor and meditation teacher, including certifications in yoga therapy and prenatal yoga, with a focus on everyday mindfulness and yoga for all.

WN: What are your goals for the future? How will you use the April Qualification Grant to reach them?

Pamela: I’d love to do a radical self care retreat for women with trauma and sleep deprivation. Women are more sleep deprived than men (surprise!) and we don’t take care of us enough.

WN: What’s your advice for other women entrepreneurs?

Pamela: Create, create, create! It’s your natural state; don’t worry about what has not been done. Develop it yourself and do it. Don’t allow naysayers’ messages to slip into your psyche; silently dismiss and focus. Don’t tell everybody your plans – many will not be able to handle your truth – everything isn’t for everybody! Do focus on at least ONE thing towards your venture daily.

Thanks for reading. Remember that we award a grant each month – if interested, please apply today.

aLoo is our March Qualification Grant Recipient!

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Last week announced our March finalists and now we’re happy to finally introduce you to our March Qualification Grant winner, Aarti Mehta , Founder of aLoo.

Read our interview with Aarti below to learn more about her and how she came up with the idea for aLoo

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Aarti Mehta MD
aLoo
Website

WN: For those who don’t know what aLoo is, would you mind telling us a bit about your business?
AM: aLoo is a patent pending device that prevents backwash from re-entering the infant bottle during feeding. The product is a one-way valve and reservoir that can be placed in the cap of the baby bottle when preparing for feeding. As I started bottle feeding, I realized that my daughter’s saliva would flow back into the bottle and felt guilty saving the remaining liquid to reuse knowing that the milk may contain bacteria from her backwash. This was quite a dilemma for me because it was challenging to produce ample breast milk AND I was scheduled to return to work soon. I was determined to use every drop of this liquid gold and it was this realization made me want to find a solution.

WN: Can the nipple & Cap be used with any bottle?
AM: I quickly learned that there are so many innovative bottles on the market and parents/babies have their favorite brand. Knowing that there are challenges transition from breast to bottle, we did not want to exclude anyone merely because of bottle brand loyalty. Our initial goal is to make the device compatible across multiple bottle brands. Currently, our device is compatible with Philips Avent and we are planning to create more sizes that will work well with other brands (Dr. Brown’s, Medela, Tommee Tippee and Playtex) soon.

WN: I see your aLoo is in the testing phase. Do you an expected time-frame of when you hope to release your product to the public?
AM: Yes, we have a working prototype! We produced a prototype that fits Philips Avent and have had a microbiological lab test the device to see if it works. I am happy to say that they confirmed our device prevents over 99% of the bacteria from flowing back into the bottle! We have been sharing the device with consumers for initial feedback and are launching a Kickstarter campaign soon to raise funds to manufacture aLoo on a larger scale. If our campaign is successful, we should be able to start selling aLoo this summer!

WN: Do you plan to sell your product exclusively online or do you hope to sell to other retail stores?
AM: The ultimate goal will be to offer our product in retail stores (BuyBuy Baby, Babies R Us, Target) and be included in expecting parents’ baby registries. However, initially we will focus on solely offering aLoo online through our website: http://www.myaloo.com/ and possibly through Amazon.

WN: Do you have any advice for other aspiring mompreneurs?
AM: This is the advice my business partner gave me (this is exactly why he is my business partner!) “Make sure that the product or service you are offering is something you believe in.” It takes a lot of determination and hard work to develop an idea into reality. Do not be afraid to share your idea with others and ask for help. I was amazed by how many people were willing to provide their guidance and help me navigate through the challenges of starting a business. For me, it was helpful to network and talk to other entrepreneurs to share struggles and learn from each other. I was overwhelmed at how helpful the community has been and realized there are many resources that make launching a business more efficient than it was many years ago!

If you’d like to vote for Aarti to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.

And thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.

Gabby Bows is our February Qualification Grant Recipient!

Friday, March 17th, 2017

Last week announced our February finalists and now we’re happy to finally introduce you to our February Qualification Grant winner, Gabby & Rozalynn Goodwin, Founders of Gabby Bows.

Read our interview with them below to learn more about how Gabby Bows and Gabby’s Double-Face Double-Snap Barrette.


Gabby & Rozalynn Goodwin
Gabby Bows
Website

WN: For those who don’t know what GaBBY Bows is, could you tell us a little bit about it and how it got started?
MS: Gabrielle “GaBBY” and I solved the age-old problem of disappearing girls’ hair barrettes by inventing The Double-Face Double-Snap Barrette by GaBBY. GaBBY Bows won’t slip out of the hair, so they secure girls’ hairstyles… And moms’ peace of mind.

NO MORE LOST BOWS!

GaBBY Bows are engineered to prevent hair slippage and work for all hair types.

It all began with a Twitter rant about how GaBBY could not keep barrettes in her hair and a reply from our pastor suggesting we solve the problem–a suggestion I initially dismissed. GaBBY was just five when she started daily insisting we make a barrette that works. That broken record in pigtails, and her dream to see them in stores pushed me into entrepreneurship when I didn’t think I had the skills or the time. We started the business when she was seven years old.

WN: How much has GaBBY Bows grown since starting the business?
MS: GaBBY began selling her invention at gabbybows.com. We have NEVER lost a GaBBY Bow and have saved families in all 50 states and eight countries time, money and frustration-reducing barrette bills by 75%. GaBBY has doubled her sales each year and sold more than 17,000 packs of GaBBY Bows in just three years of business.Her story has been featured on The Real, The Tom Joyner Morning Show and The Today Show, and in Kiplinger Magazine, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Free Enterprise Magazine, JET, Essence and Madamnoire.

Gabrielle was named a 2015 South Carolina Young Entrepreneur of the Year, the youngest to ever receive this award. GaBBY Bows was also named the 2016 Outstanding Diverse Business of the Year by the SCORE Foundation, one of 15 national finalists for the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration InnovateHER Competition, and a 2016 SCORE and Sam’s Club American Small Business Champion.

WN: Do you plan to keep selling exclusively online? Or do you have future plans to sell to retailer stores?
MS: GaBBY dreams of having her barrettes in stores around the world and in January she received purchase orders from 50 Once Upon a Child stores across the US. This grant is so timely!

WN: What’s the next step for GaBBY Bows?
MS: GaBBY recently raised $28,000 on Kickstarter to fund her new designs and colors which will come to market in June of this year. We also hope to bring on more Once Upon a Child stores this year. GaBBY’s story will also be shared through a children’s book this summer. She was chosen as one of four kidpreneurs across the country Entrepreneur Kid will feature in the book series.

WN: Does Gabby have any advice for other young entrepreneurs?
MS: “Persevere and NEVER give up! Obstacles will be in your way, but you have to never give up to go through them.” – Gabby

If you’d like to vote for Gabby & Rozalynn to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for them here.

And thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.

Levity Products is our January Qualification Grant Recipient!

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

A little bit ago we announced our January finalists and now we’re happy to finally introduce you to our January Qualification Grant winner, Sarah Olson, Founder of Levity Products.

Read our interview with Sarah to learn more about how Levity Products is making the lives of teachers, students, and agencies much easier.


Sarah Olson
Levity Products
Website

WN: Do you mind sharing the story behind Levity Products and your LECS(Levi External Catheter Stabilizer) Solution?
MS: My son Levi who is 4 years old now was born with Spina Bifida. It was unexpected and not something we were at all prepared for. We didn’t know what it would mean for the rest of his life. Over the last 4 years, Levi has had 15 surgeries. 9 of which were just in the year 2016! It was a very trying, difficult year. I watched my little boy suffer from so much pain while he lost so much weight. It seemed like the life was being sucked out of him. As a mother, I felt so helpless and broken. One of the biggest reasons he suffered so much was because the type of device he needed didn’t exist. The device that DID exist caused him an excruciating amount of pain in the form of bladder spasms. For those that don’t know what bladder spasms are or feel like, the kind Levi was getting were equated to the type and intensity of pain that a woman in labor experiences. It was horrifying to watch him go through this, all because of a device that had to be used as he healed from surgeries. After 6 surgeries, I couldn’t take it anymore. Levi was a walking zombie. He was in so much pain. It felt inhumane. I remember sitting in the doctors office talking to Levi’s urologist and I begged him for another solution because a 7th surgery had to happen. I couldn’t bare putting him through the that intense pain again. His urologist looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “Sarah, there is nothing else.” And in a joking way as he left the room he said, “Sarah, if we need something different, you have to invent it.” So momma did. I had to. I had to think of something to save my child. Any momma would have done it. I’m convinced there is no more powerful force on the planet than a momma protecting her babies. I did what it took and I invented a device. I spent hours getting dimensions of my idea on paper and learned all about CAD designs on YouTube. I had a prototype of my device 3D printed and I took it to Levi’s urologist to see what he thought. When he saw it, he looked at me in disbelief because it worked. He told me to get a patent immediately so we could use the device for Levi for his next surgery which happened to be 35 days away from what I showed him. I found a patent developer and we worked day and night to finish a patent. We filed for the patent 2 days prior to the surgery and were able to use the device. What took Levi 2 1/2 weeks to heal from in January, took Levi one observation night in the hospital with my device.

WN: For our readers who have never come face-to-face with Spina Bifida. Can you tell us what it is and how it affects children?
MS: Spina bifida is a birth defect that happens when a baby’s backbone (spine) does not form normally. As a result, the spinal cord and the nerves that branch out of it may be damaged. The term spina bifida comes from Latin and literally means “split” or “open” spine. This defect happens at the end of the first month of pregnancy, when a baby’s spine and spinal cord (a bundle of nerves that runs down the center of the spine) are developing. Depending on the severity of the defect and where it is on the spine, symptoms vary from child to child. Mild defects may cause few or no problems, while more moderate to severe defects can cause serious problems, including weakness and sensation issues, bladder and/or bowel control issues, paralysis, or hydrocephalus. It’s a defect that causes enough pain on it’s own. To have to deal with pain from devices that are suppose to help them doesn’t seem fair.

WN: What sets your External Catheter Stabilizer apart from others?
MS: As of now, there is only one other predicate to my device. The device that exists, in our experience, has caused infection and bladder spasms beyond what Levi already experienced on his own because of his defect. The goal and purpose of my LECS is to eliminate those issues and help aid the recovery process in a children that need multiple surgeries.

WN: What’s the next step for Levity Products?
MS: I’m so excited about what’s to come! On February 20th, clinical trials begin at one of the largest research hospitals in the world. We are determined to make the device safe and effective for children all over the world. The purpose of my device was intended for a urology solution, but after seeing my invention, the head of Oncology was brought into conversations for clinical trials. There might be ways my invention could also make life easier for children who suffer from cancer. My entire mission and purpose of inventing my device was to help my son. Now my goal is completely different. I have a massive passion to help as many kids all over the world that suffer unnecessarily. The need for my device is even more so in 3rd world countries or emerging countries. They don’t have access to doctors and medical devices like we do. My device does not need to be placed by a doctor, so children who suffer from Spina Bifida in those countries will have something that will bring them relief where they might not otherwise have relief. That brings me so much joy!

WN: How is Levi doing?!
MS: Levi is doing great! 🙂 He will have more surgeries and will always live with challenges that most children don’t, but we believe that attitude is everything. We focus on being champions and showing the world the difference between facing adversity with humility and strength instead of letting it defeat us. Levi is the most inspirational human I know. What an honor it is to be his momma. He is a fighter and brings so much joy wherever he goes. The child has the most contagious smile and laugh. 🙂 I’m praying that Levi’s generation of children with Spina Bifida will be the last that suffer in the way he has.

If you’d like to vote for Sarah to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.

And thanks for reading! Remember that we award a grant every month – if interested, please apply today.

We’ve announced our $1,500 Amber Grant winner!

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Last year we came up with a new way to give back grants to the WomensNet community. This allowed us to continue awarding monthly Grants of $500, as selected by our WomensNet judges. But it also gave us the opportunity to award an additional $1,000 grant to one of our 12 monthly winners, called The Amber Grant.

Not too long ago we narrowed down our Amber Grant finalists to three great companies; NAJMTEK, GloveStix, and Yellow Scope. Choosing between these three women and their companies was extremely tough but after much debate we have finally chosen our second annual Amber Grant Winner.

Congrats Krista Woods, founder of GloveStix!

Krista Woods

Watch Krista’s video to learn more about GloveStix & how her product helps clear up the smelly situation most people have in their mud rooms.

 

As always, thank you for reading! Remember we award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply!

Stay tuned: We will be announcing January’s Qualification Grant finalists very soon!