Archive for the ‘ Uncategorized’ Category

Communicate for Life is our December Qualification Grant Winner!

Monday, January 11th, 2016

After revealing December’s Qualification Grant Finalists last week, we’re excited to announce our qualification grant winner. Congrats Laura Richardson, founder of Communicate For Life, LLC!

Read on to learn all about Laura and her business.

Communicate for life llc logo
Communicate For Life, LLC
Laura F. Richardson, MA, CCC-SLP

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

LR:I started contracting to provide therapeutic services to Berks County families with children with speech, language, and feeding needs through the birth to 3 early intervention system. As the little ones I work with have begun to age out of the birth to 3 early intervention system, I have learned there is a need for home-based services for ages 3-5 in our county as well as additional services. Many local outpatient providers have waiting lists or limited hours (i.e., aren’t available on evenings or weekends!) I saw a need for that population, so I began to expand my services. Basically, as the families I serve express a need, I try to fill it if I can given my areas of expertise. Many of the concerns the families I work with have are concerned with developing functional communication systems using a variety of means (such as spoken language, signs, communication devices) and minimizing behavior problems that children demonstrate when they can’t effectively communicate. I have unique training in both of these areas, so this is a great need for me to fill! I also try to approach my business with the philosophy that I’m not really completing with other local service providers. I offer unique services for those with complex communication and/or behavior issues. I also offer home-based services for an age-group that does not normally have access to home-based services (ages 3-5) and therapy sessions during nontraditional hours (evenings and weekends).

WN: What made you decide to work with children ages 0-5?

LR: Really I work with individuals with functional communication needs of all ages (Hence, For Life!) In fact, my Ph.D. candidate research is with adults with complex communication needs. However, my current clinical practice is targeting ages 0-5 because I work primarily in early intervention at this time. I love working with children ages 0-5 because there is such a need in this area, and I enjoy working closely with families. Language development happens so rapidly in this age range, so quickly developing a communication system that works efficiently for a child and his or her caregivers is elemental to alleviating and preventing behavior issues and long-term social impacts.

WN: Do you have plans to employ anyone else?

LR: Right now it’s just me earning an income from this business, but I would love to become profitable enough that I can hire an administrative assistant and, in the future, other therapists specializing in a variety of areas.

WN: What type of therapy do you find to be most successful?

LR: What an interesting question with so many interesting ways to answer! The best therapy uses evidence-based practices (tried and true techniques that have a strong research and theoretical basis) to meet and adapt to the needs of the child or individual with communication needs, his or her communication partners, and the environment. The most successful therapy programs aim not just to alleviate a problem, but to truly serve a child and his or her family in functional settings. When I am authentically able to “click” with families and we co-develop a treatment plan and procedures, when we are truly a team, then children make progress and their families feel positive about the experience, then we truly have a “therapeutic relationship” and can count on current and future success.

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

LR: Be authentic. Believe in what you are doing, or get out. Be service-oriented. Be confident enough in your competence to be yourself and be honest about what’s outside your area of expertise. Your clients will love and trust you for it. Find a mentor. Carrie Wilkerson says “you should be in business for yourself, but never by yourself.” She’s my mentor and has no idea. I just read her books…and learn, and implement. Have a team. Find an attorney and an accountant you trust. (Quick shout out to Socrates J. Georgeadis (my attorney at Georgeadis/Setley Attorneys and Advisors) and Bob Shaner (my accountant at Integra Business Solutions). They worry about the stuff I find stressful so I don’t have to! I get to be totally focused on providing services to the families I work with.

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

WomensNet Domain Name Change Marks Return to Its Origins

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

We would like to officially announce that we have changed our domain name., is now

Our shift represents a desire to recognize the company’s roots. The Amber Grant Foundation was founded in 1998 by WomensNet as a way to honor the memory of Amber, a young woman with an entrepreneurial spirit who died at the age of 19—not having enough time to complete her business dreams. The new URL acknowledges Amber’s importance and serves as a reminder of her spirit.

We’re hopeful that our new website address, will better state our mission, and will help even more women find the resources and assistance they need to realize their own business dreams.

Thank you for your continued support throughout the years,

Christina and the WomensNet Team
WomensNet Facebook

Vote Stretch Recipes for The WomensNet Amber Grant

Friday, January 16th, 2015

This past December we announced Lauren Foster, CEO of Stretch Recipes our First Grant Winner to qualify for an additional $2,000 with our new Amber Grant.

Now, Lauren needs your help. View her video below where she explains why you should vote for Stretch Recipes to win the additional $2,000.

About: Lauren Foster created Stretch Recipes to help people eat better and save more. Stretch Recipes is in the process of creating an app that will help allow shoppers to enter their budget, choose their meals, and automatically receive their shopping list with coupons. Stretch also hosts cooking class experiences to teach people how to cook on a tight budget.

Interested in receiving a grant like Lauren? We award a grant every month – if interested, here’s the link to apply. We’d love to hear your story!

Take me back to the voting page.

Follow-Up Story: How a Build & Imagine Turned $500 into $600,000

Monday, November 24th, 2014

For those of you who are new to our community Laurie Peterson was our grant recipient from July 2013. She was the founder of Build & Imagine, a constructible StoryWall toy company for girls.

Laurie recently reached out to us and told us about her accomplishments since receiving our Amber Grant. We were so delighted to hear about her recent success and thought it would make a great follow-up story with the community.

Build and Imagine Tower

Laurie Peterson
Build & Imagine

WN: How are things since you received July’s Amber Grant in 2013?

LP: It’s been a very busy year getting my new toy company Build & Imagine off the ground. The grant funded my first prototype and a video for a successful kickstarter campaign where I raised $30,000 to fund product design. I used the Kickstarter success and retailer interest to attract an additional $600,000 in angel investments. Meanwhile, I buttoned up the product design and worked with my university’s alumni office to find an advisor who connected me with an excellent toy manufacturer in China. Our product is now available for pre-order on and will be arriving in our warehouse next week!

WN: What makes your product unique?

LP: Build & Imagine StoryWalls are magnetic building sets that inspire storytelling. Unlike most magnetic building toys that are composed of abstract geometric shapes, Build & Imagine play-sets contain illustrated scenes that children can build, decorate, and use as a backdrop for imaginative play with the included dolls. We call them StoryWalls, because it’s like building a storybook setting in 3-D and then jumping in to play!

Our leading adventurous female characters and rich narrative details help to attract girls to our building sets. Historically, construction toys like these have catered to boys. Girls have been missing out because building toys develop important skills such as spatial reasoning, design, and problem solving. These are skills that are essential for overcoming the gender innovation gap. We believe our toys can make a difference.

WN: Congratulations on being Dr. Toy’s best new play product she has seen. Did you have to make any changes to Build and Imagine to get noticed by her, or was it constant perseverance?

LP: Early on I connected with Dr. Toy on LinkedIn, where I post occasional updated about the business. After she saw me post a fundraising article I wrote for Fast Company she reached out and requested a meeting. Our building sets appealed to her in that they engage early STEM skills (science, technology, engineering, and math) while they develop language. It was the combination of building plus storytelling that she loved.

WN: As a former Amber Grant winner, do you have any advice for the new applicants?

LP: Applying for the Amber Grant was the first thing I did to “put myself out there”. My advice is to go for it! The Amber Grant provided me with a little bit of cash and a lot more confidence to move forward.

WN: When will we officially be able to purchase your product?

LP: Right now! We are taking pre-orders on and ship in a few weeks. Our buildings sets are recommended for kids ages 4-8. Thanks so much!

Again, big congratulations to Laurie! We knew Build & Imagine was bound to be a success!

Imagine what you could do with the monthly $500 Qualifying Grant? Or with our new $2,000 Amber Grant? The deadline for our next Qualification grant is coming up soon, (November 30th.) Get your applications in before you get too caught up with family, friends and celebrations! ‘Tis the season!

Build and imagine rescue center


Amber Grant for Women Increased to $2,500!

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

We have some super exciting news to share. Besides our typical $500 monthly grants, WomensNet (WN) is going to give away a 2015 year-end $2,000 Amber Grant.

Effective immediately, WNN will still give our monthly “qualifying grant” of $500. Those 12 qualifying grant recipients will then become the 12 finalists for the $2,000 Amber Grant to be announced in January, 2016.

Here are the details on how the increased grant-giving works:

  • WNN judges will select a qualifying grant recipient ($500) every month for the next 12 months.
  • Each qualifying grant recipients will create an informal YouTube style video explaining why they deserve the $2,000 Amber Grant, to be posted on the WomensNet website.
  • WomensNet website visitors will vote on who should receive the $2,000 Amber Grant. The voting will weigh in the WNN judges’ final decision. WNN judges want to determine how well recipients can market themselves through social media and brand awareness.
  • WNN will also consider how recipients used their qualifying $500 grant in determining who receives the $2,000 Amber Grant.
  • The $2,000 Amber Grant will be awarded in January 2016.

We really wanted to give back more to our grant recipients. A couple of our judge’s wanted to review all the monthly recipients and give away a larger Amber Grant at the end of the year. We thought it would be a great way to encourage these women entrepreneurs – knowing they could still find more money at the end of the year for their business.

To Your Success,
WomensNet Facebook

October Amber Grant Finalists

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

This October we had many inspiring, creative, and well though-out applicants. We enjoyed reading each one.  A huge thank you to everyone who applied this month- You made our decision very difficult!

For now, we’ve narrowed it down to the top five finalists. Be sure to check out their websites, congratulate them and stay tuned – we’ll announce the October winner very soon!

October Amber Grant Finalists 2014


Poutine Your Mouth
Poutine Your Mouth
Jennifer Buckallew

Poutine Your Mouth is an art and food cart decorated with colorful art and music from local artists. This food trailer opens up and invites patrons to eat and enjoy poutine, which is French fries, cheddar cheese curds, and gravy with various toppings. They cater to all vegetarian, vegan and gluten food restrictions.


Hot N' Handi
Hot n’ Handi
Lisa Grant

Lisa the founder of Hot n’ Handi has Friedreich’s ataxia. Friedreich’s ataxia is an autosomal recessive inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system, resulting in symptoms ranging from gait disturbance to speech problems. Currently it has no cure so she’s decided to embrace it and create Hot n’ Handi.

Lisa’s mission with Hot n’ Handi is to encourage confidence in all disabled people. They sell fun, sexy, confidence-boosting attire for women who are disabled.


Solight Designs Inc.
Alice Min Soo Chun

SolarPuff is the first flat packageable and inflatable solar lantern. It is designed to provide an affordable and renewable light source to disaster relief victims.

Solar Puff uses the principles of origami and foldable design to “pop” open from a flat envelope into a cube with a very simple pull motion to diffuse the light after charging. It’s a lightweight solution that advances itself to easy packaging and storage.


The Wooden Palate
The Wooden Palate
Eileen O’Dea

The Wooden Palate was founded by Eileen O’Dea and Ryan Silverman. Every board they make is designed to last forever. The boards are tested for integrity by Ryan in the woodshop and further vetted by Eileen in the kitchen before sent to production. The Wooden Palate was born of the belief that every kitchen and home needs more bespoke wood pieces and that every chef should love the board on which they serve their creations.


Heathers Choice
Heathers Choice
Heather Kelly

Heather looks forward to providing adventurous athletes with the most delicious dehydrated food on the planet. Her recipes are inspired by her extensive travels, and rooted in locally grown ingredients. She loves throwing on her backpack and getting out to field test each and every recipe.