Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized’ Category

July 2016 Qualification Grant Finalists

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

Sophie Ennadi

Najmtek is currently working on an adaptive and innovative learning tool for dyslexic people, to help them learn, read, and work without having dyslexia in the way. The name of the device is called the Ubook, and it is an all-in-one multi-touch, multi-language fully customizable laptop with a dual screen keyboard. While the Ubook’s incredible features go far beyond this (the Ubook also provides applications with its dual screen component for almost any industry: medicine, education, business, architecture, etc.), Sophie’s personal experience having a daughter with dyslexia is what prompted her to pursue this project.

girls at work
Girls at Work, Inc.
Elaine Hamel

Girls at Work is a not-for-profit that provides girls with a safe and supportive environment to step out of their comfort zones and to build with other girls. Not only do they discover how capable they are, they also discover how exciting it is to work as part of a team toward a common goal.

Nativ Wings Catering
Native Wings of Health
Lila Boone

Lila lives in a rural, low income country town in North Eastern North Carolina. In that area, due to generational traditions, the families eat very unhealthy. (Enormous amount of Pork, Fried Foods, still cooking with Lard & really bad cooking practices). Both adults AND children have an Alarming high rate of Obesity, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, etc.

This is why Lila started the company, Native Wings of Health, to open doors and teach members of the community that healthier options are Affordable and delicious.

ABCD Capital LLC
Aarti Mehta

Uniflo was created by a first-time mom and physician, Aarti. She wanted to feed her child breast milk as it was important to her and her husband. Unfortunately, it was difficult to determine how much her baby would drink during each feeding. After each feeding there was significant unconsumed liquid remaining in the bottle. But because of the baby’s back wash reentering the bottle, they were concerned about reusing the liquid and had to discard the remaining milk.

It’s difficult for many moms to produce excessive quantities of breastmilk and using formula can be very expensive. So after searching for potential solutions Aarti decided to create a device on her own, (called Uniflo) that would prevent backwash from reentering the bottle and as a result keeping the remaining liquid unused. Allowing her to feel more comfortable reusing the liquid, and in the process, saving significant effort and money. At that point her Uniflo Technology was born!

Diaper Diva Designs
Laura Toto

Laura’s journey began when her third child turned one and discovered her new found ability to get naked on her own. She couldn’t have been less interested in potty training and it became quite a “game”. For two months her child thwarted her every effort to keep her clothed and diapered. Nap after nap, bedtime after bedtime, Laura would walk into her room to find her kids diaper in a corner, clothes in another, along with an indescribable mess to clean up. With Laura’s sanity wearing thin she searched online. She found a few suggestions but nothing worked.

After some time Laura got the idea to cut the feet off of old pajamas, put them on her backwards and voila! It worked like a charm. After some tweaking to the outfit the Naked No More onesie was born.

Explorer Chick Adventure Co
Nicki Bruckmann

Explorer Chick Adventure Co is a travel company exclusively for women founded by Nicki Bruckmann. Her travel company plans to take women on epic adventures, in incredible parts of the world so women can live new experiences and discover new strengths while surrounded by a community of equally adventurous women.

Congrats to our July Qualification Grant Finalists and 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 the winner next week!

Yellow Scope is Our June Qualification Grant Recipient

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

After revealing our June Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Marcie Colledge, co-founder of Yellow Scope.

Read on to learn all about Marcie and her business.

Yellowscope logo
Marcie Colledge
Yellow Scope

WN: For those who don’t know what Yellow Scope is, could you tell us a little bit about your business and how you and your co-founder met?

SM: Yellow Scope is a Portland-based company, founded by scientists and moms, Kelly McCollum and Marcie Colledge. We started Yellow Scope because we think girls deserve better in the toy aisle – where rigorous chemistry and physics kits are marketed to boys, and pseudoscience spa and beauty kits are marketed to girls. Girls internalize messages that science is for boys and over time they lose confidence in their scientific abilities. In 4th grade most girls say they like science, but by 8th grade, the numbers drop dramatically. This trend continues beyond school – while women make up half of the total work force, they make up only a quarter of the jobs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

This is a shame because we need more trained workers in these fields. STEM jobs are important:

  • STEM jobs are solving the world’s most pressing problems.
  • In the US, STEM jobs are growing at a three times the rate of non-STEM jobs.
  • On average, careers in STEM fields pay 33% more than other fields.
  • The wage gap between men and women is less in STEM jobs.

We started Yellow Scope with the goal of closing the gender gap in science. Our mission is to keep girls excited about science, build their confidence, and help them to see themselves as scientists. At Yellow Scope, we make a different kind of science kit – one that takes girls seriously.

We are the perfect team to start this company! We’re both trained scientists. Marcie has a PhD in neuroscience and over 20 years of experience designing and running experiments at the lab bench. She ran her own research lab as tenure track professor. Kelly has a Master’s degree in epidemiology and biostatistics and ran large biomedical research studies for over a decade. She also taught middle school science.

We first met in 2009 at our daughters’ elementary school, where we volunteered together for six years running the Family Science program. In these sessions, we designed exciting and engaging hands-on science experiments for kids and their families around different science topics – microscopy, genetics, computer programming, electricity and magnetism, forensic science and more. While volunteering together, we realized our shared passion for science and education. And, as moms of girls, we also were determined to do something to encourage more girls to be excited about science. Thus, Yellow Scope was born!

WN:Do you test each experiment with your daughters first?
SM: Yes, we test everything with our daughters early on. Kelly also has a son who loves testing experiments. Luckily our children enjoy science! We also run focus group sessions with our kids’ friends, at local toy stores, and with local Girl Scout troops.

WN:Have you thought about selling your products to other teachers to use in class?
SM:We have thought about selling our products to teachers and would be delighted to have them in classrooms. Our “magic sauce” is our ability to take complex science concepts and distill out the most important components. We then design numerous experiments around these essential concepts. This approach builds mastery by helping kids develop a deeper understanding of fundamental science principles. We also teach kids how to apply the scientific method and how to design their own experiments. The content in our kits aligns with Next Generation Science Standards and would be a great resource to teachers wanting to add more experimental science into their classrooms – particularly before middle school when the rigor of science tends to pick up and many kids start to fall behind and/or lose interest in the “hard” sciences.

One idea we’ve discussed is developing a special package just for groups. Each package would include ten lab notebooks and five sets of lab equipment. If kids work in pairs, each box would work for ten students.

WN:What are your long-term goals in terms of expanding your business?
SM:Our plan is to develop a whole line of science kits across different subjects – chemistry, physics, biology, environmental science, food science, neuroscience, and more. We plan to expand geographically throughout the United States and Canada. We’re currently in about 70 stores in the U.S. and will soon be in a chain of bookstores in Canada called Indigo.

WN:What’s your advice for other women entrepreneurs out there?
SM:Find a good co-founder! Starting a business is exciting, but it’s also a lot of work. There are lots of up days and also some down days – sort of like riding a roller coaster. We have different areas of expertise, we support each other, and we laugh (a lot!). The whole start-up process would be more stressful and a lot less enjoyable if we were doing it on our own.

Learn More about Marcie and Kelly in here video here:


And if you’d like to vote for Marcie and Kelly to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for them here.

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

May Qualification Grant Finalists

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

Water Collective
Water Collective
Sophia Sunwoo

The Water Collective is an international nonprofit that secures life-lasting clean water for rural communities in Africa and India. The organization was founded by Sophia in 2011 to resolve the shortcomings of clean water access in the developing world, where 40% of water points are not working at any given time.

Shannon MacDowell

SUPLOGIX was created to contribute to the progression of stand up paddle boarding and paddle sports through scientific research, instruction, product design, sustainability initiatives and promotion of the health and fitness benefits of the sport.

Art Lifting
Liz Powers

ArtLifting is a social enterprise that empowers individuals who are in art groups at hospitals and shelters by selling their artwork. They are a low-profit limited liability company (“L3C”), which means they are a business driven by a social mission. Their mission: To empower individuals living with homelessness or disabilities through the celebration and sale of their artwork.

D. Tamu
D.TAMU, Inc.
Djenee Dunn

D.TAMU is a boutique style content strategy firm specializing in the creative development of a brand’s speech. The D. Tamu team’s goal is to help their clients create a cohesive message through verbal, written, graphic, and social content.

Buckhead Fight Club
Buckhead Fight Club
Terri Moss

Buckhead Fight Club was opened in May 2013 by Terri Moss after working in the boxing industry for over 15 years. Since then her Gym has grown to be one of Georgia’s largest boxing gym and one of the only women-owned boxing gyms in the country.

Congrats to our May Qualification Grant Finalists and 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 the winner early next week!

Elu, LLC is our April Qualification Grant Winner

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

After revealing April’s Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Christina Marshall-Valdez, founder of Elu, LLC!

Read on to learn all about Christina and her business.

Christina Marshall-Valdez
Elu, LLC

WN: Tell us a little about your business and how you got started.

CMV: The idea for Elu came from my own personal struggle to find clothing in my size and that appealed to my tastes as an upwardly mobile, young professional woman in New York City. After an embarrassing fashion moment where I encountered five (5!) other plus size women wearing the same low quality white dress at a high profile event, I promised myself that I would someday create a new solution for us curvy dolls that would make us feel special and audaciously beautiful. My journey to fulfill this promise has been intentional and metered as I wanted to be confident in my ability to build a successful business. So, I obtained my MBA, became a buyer at Target Corporation and then a brand manager of an iconic brand. Six years I’ve learned enough to get the job done.

Elu (pronounced eh-loo) is a brand created with beautiful, authentic plus-size women in mind. At Elu, we are inspired by her curves and seek to create an offering that addresses her biggest pain point in apparel – finding quality, fashionable clothing that fits. But we didn’t stop there… We heard her say in focus groups that she felt left out and like a recipient of left-over, hand-me-down options. The fashion industry found a way to truly disenfranchise and disempower this wow-inspiring woman, but we’ve come to return what is rightfully hers – her control. Our Elu made to measure apparel gives her the power to customize her look in a way that highlights what she loves most about her body. Elu also liberates women from prescriptive fashions that were casually graded up to her sizes as an afterthought. To all the plus-size beauties out there, you were not an afterthought for us. You were first and foremost in our thoughts, thus we crafted this brand and each pattern and garment we produce with your curves in mind.

WN: What will the process be like to obtain a custom dress? Will women have to visit a tailor to get the proper measurements taken?

CMV: The process to obtain a custom dress begins with a visit to our platform at Our customers will start their journey by taking the Elu Style Quiz, which will give us insights about their body type, style inclinations and fit preferences. At the end of the quiz, we create her style profile and recommend base garment that she can customize to further flatter her curves. From there, our customer can begin customizing her selected look. Beginning with measurements, we give her bite size video to guide her through the process of gathering her unique dimensions. We advise our customers to have another persons measure them or if at all possible, we ask them to visit to their favorite tailor to ensure best results. After dimensions are captured, our customer selects her preferred neckline, sleeve style and length and hem length. Three weeks later, our customers receive their custom apparel arrives and we hope she proceeds to strike a million and one poses in her full length mirror.

WN: Have you determined a price point for your clothes yet?

CMV: Our initial offering is focused on dresses, but we will soon introduce additional apparel options. Our dresses are made of quality, finer fabrics that have the versatility to go from desk time to date time. Our looks are stylish but have a classic, enduring aesthetic that make them easy to style, increases their lifetime in your wardrobe and decrease their cost per wear.

In addition to providing quality clothing, we seek to become our customer’s fashion accomplice. For example, we know that some of our customers are on a journey to lose weight, thus they fear that their custom apparel may become unusable. For that reason, we offer our customers a FREE alteration if they lose a certain amount of inches. We are doing all we can to celebrate the women we serve and be by their side for the long haul.

Our dresses start at ~$249, but we believe that our customers will receive unparalleled value in the apparel they purchase from us.

WN: Where and who will be making the clothing?

CMV: We are currently based in Chicago, IL and our apparel is made here in Chicago by a team of women makers. We are also exploring a responsibly sourced off-shore solution as well.

WN: Any advice for other women entrepreneurs?

CMV:Take the leap, but on your own terms.

Not everyone needs to go to business school or seek industry experience like I did in order to start a business and build an empire (I’m foreshadowing ;). There are countless examples of successful entrepreneurs who just jumped without a parachute and they landed in the winner’s circle. Be authentic and true to yourself. Make this experience what you need it to be in order to live the life you envisioned for yourself and your family. Best of luck ladies!

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

And if you’d like to vote for Christina to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.

Equilibrium Learning, LLC is our March Qualification Grant Winner

Monday, April 11th, 2016

After revealing March Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Gina Clarke, founder of Equilibrium Learning, LLC!

Read on to learn all about Allison and her business.

meinlondon (2)
Gina Clarke
Equilibrium Learning, LLC

WN: Tell us about your business and how you got started.

DB: I had the idea since high school but I never acted on it. I never took it seriously and didn’t really believe in myself enough to try it, I always talked myself out of doing anything with it. It was when I went to see the doctor and she told me that I might have lupus that really pushed me to go for it. I’m young and I know that there are people who live well into old age with it, but I had an aunt who died pretty quickly after she was diagnosed, so it really hit home. Even though I’m glad to say all came back ok, it changed my perspective on life and really helped me to emotionalize and give meaning to “living life to the fullest” and “life’s too short”. So now I’m on a mission to do everything I ever wanted to do, including Equilibrium.

WN: Was it your educational background that inspired you to start Equilibrium?

DB: Yes definitely! I remember when I was in school my favorite subject was Math. I was good at everything concerning Math and caught on to new concepts quickly. At the same time, I HATED English. I felt like it was a waste of time, I had no interest in the class and felt it was pointless. I knew how to read, write and speak coherently and that was all I cared about. Because of this, I struggled in English. I did well in it, but I still struggled because I just didn’t care enough for the class to really WANT to put in any effort. But when I was in high school, I met an English teacher who helped me to see English in a new light: She taught us new words by turning them into Math problems. Every week we would be introduced to a new prefix, root or suffix and for everyday of that week we would be presented with a new word that contained that prefix, root or suffix. It was such a small gesture, but it appealed to my natural thought processes (logic, calculation, etc) and my natural need to “figure things out”. For that moment I was so engaged in the class, and it helped me to take in interest in the subject as a whole because when I would read or be presented with new words, my first instinct would be to break them down into math problems and figure out their meanings. But this got me thinking: if this one small change in perspective made such a huge impact on my interest in a subject (that at one time I literally hated), what if we could somehow do the same for ALL subjects?

WN: What if you don’t know what intelligence type a student is? Will Equilibrium help identify what their type is?

DB: Yes. Equilibrium will initially test the student to determine:

a: their learning style (based on a few psychological/personality questions)
b: their favorite subject/subject they do best in
c: their level of competency in each subject

Based on the above 3 criteria, Equilibrium will not only be able to determine the level of competency (grade level) a student is currently, but also what the student’s learning profile is and how best to present information to them.

WN: Do you have any partners in this venture?

DB: Because Equilibrium is so new, I currently do not have any business partners, but I am looking! I do have mentors who have run businesses before and have experience in the education industry who provide me with immense support.

WN: Do you know when this software will become available?

DB: We’re still in R&D phase, but we’re shooting for Fall of 2017 at the ABSOLUTE latest.

WN: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?

DB: I would tell them the obvious: network, promote your business as much as you can, create a business plan, learn how to live on a budget (you will NEED this skill), get a mentor ( is pretty good if you don’t know anyone), etc. But I’d also tell them to do what scares you. Become comfortable with the uncomfortable. For the longest I was so afraid of other people laughing at me, as much as I hated to admit it. Get used to rejection; put yourself in situations where you know you’ll be rejected (or that there’s a high chance) so that you lose fear of it. Everyday I make it a habit of asking for something for free when I order something. The worst that would happen is that they’d say no and I’d just take what I paid for, but every now and again I’d get a yes, surprisingly. You never know what can happen when you really try and put yourself out there, so just do it!

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

And if you’d like to vote for Gina to win the $1,000 Amber Grant, you can vote for her here.

March Qualification Grant Finalists

Monday, April 4th, 2016

Sole Savers Inc.
Melodie Narain

Sole Savers is a rollable flat shoe company. They provide emergency flat shoes for women through their website and vending machines. The company has big plans to contribute to charities and work in different philanthropic avenues to keep with their mantra that “every sole has a soul.”

Elu, LLC
Christina Marshall-Valdez

The Elu brand is for women who want their curves to cascade into styles that inspire confidence. Elu’s style shop at will soon offer gorgeous styles that can be made-to-measure to highlight everything beautiful about a womens body.

Alumni Funds
Amber fox

Alumni Funds is an organization founded by a group of Drum Corps International Alumni. They created a platform for alumni to create custom performing arts scholarships. Alumni groups can be comprised of anyone they wish; and each group can customize the eligibility, criteria, and dollar amount of the scholarship they wish to create.

Flying Change Equine Therapy
Lissa Corcoran

Flying Change Equine Therapy uses unforgettable interactive experiences with rescued and retired horses to foster emotional social, spiritual, and psychological growth in people. Flying Change provides equine assisted psychotherapy and Equine Assisted learning with children, adolescents and adults for emotional growth.

Lissa’s business provides clients with many opportunities to practice a healthy life skills in a physically and emotional safe environment, and the confident to take those skills back into their family and life.

Equilibrium Learning, LLC
Gina Clarke

Equilibrium is a learning software that creates individual learning profiles based on the natural skills and talents associated with the school subjects. They couple these learning profiles with Multiple Intelligences types (such as Verbal, Visual, Logical, Kinesthetic, etc.) to make the learning process as personalized as possible.

Explorer Chick Adventure Co.
Nicki Bruckmann

Explorer Chick Adventure Co is a travel company exclusively for women founded by Nicki Bruckmann. Her travel company plans to take women on epic adventures, in incredible parts of the world so women can live new experiences and discover new strengths while surrounded by a community of equally adventurous women.

Kettle Black TeaHouse
Kettle/Black Teahouse
Christina (Tina) Eilers & Lynn Halldorson

Kettle/Black Teahouse plans to be a modern, Asian-inspired teahouse located in the beautiful coastal town of Cannon Beach, Oregon. Once their Teahouse opens they plan to offer monthly evening tea tastings, and hope to partner with local businesses to sell their tea wholesale to them for use in coffee shops and restaurants.

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 the winner very soon!