Posts Tagged ‘ amber grant’

Solid Ground Shelters Wins First Amber Grant of 2014

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

Congratulations to our latest WomensNet.net Amber Grant Winner, Lauren Cecil from Maryland.

Lauren is the Founder of Solid Ground Shelters, a company that puts a new spin on the traditional camping scene. Continue reading to learn all about Lauren and her company.

WN: What was the biggest challenge in starting up?

LC: I believe the hardest part of starting a business is just taking that initial leap of faith and doing it. There are always obstacles when you decide to start your first company, but the adventure of overcoming those obstacles one by one is very exciting. Starting a company is thrilling, overwhelming, scary, fun, and challenging.

Luckily, I have had an amazing support system behind me in starting Solid Ground Shelters. Jason (my partner) and myself have made a great team and our strengths and weaknesses balance out well. Our family and friends have been so fantastic, and we could not thank them enough.

I love working on our company every single day and can’t wait to see how it grows and changes every year. Thank you to the WomensNet.net team for awarding us with this grant. It helps us to be able to grow our business, and we appreciate all that you are doing for other ladies who are pursuing entrepreneurship!

WN: Any unique stories you can share about any of your guests?

LC: There are too many to count! I think my favorite event thus far has been a wedding we did for a special couple in Maryland. We brought our tents and set up at The Treehouse Camp, which is a campground in the Catoctin Mountains. The couple was so excited about their special day, and our tents were another fun aspect of their outdoorsy wedding. Seeing our customers faces light up when they open their tent doors to see the decor inside is always my favorite part of any event, and this particular couples’ faces were priceless. It was so great to be apart of their special day and make it even more unique.

WN: Tell us about your charity work.

LC: We have partnered with a fabulous charity called ShelterBox because we want to be able to provide solid ground to those who have lost their homes. ShelterBox helps by providing shelter and necessary items to people displaced by their homes due to natural disaster, conflicts, and other tragic circumstances. Being able to help just one family every year brings so much meaning to what we are doing.

WN: What inspired you to create a Safari-Style accommodations camping grounds?

LC: I had no idea how much I loved camping until I decided one day to be a camping guide and lead camping trips across the USA. Camping allows you to enjoy the outdoors, be closer to nature, and always get into some sort of adventure. I love all of these aspects that are associated with camping.

What I don’t love is not sleeping! I like to get my 8 hours a night, and without fail I do not sleep well when I camp. So, Jason and I thought about creating a mobile glamping company where we can bring the camping to any location that you would like to camp. We realized there were a lot of people like myself who would like to be in the outdoors, but would also like to have the comforts of a hotel. So, we have brought our glamping accommodations to music festivals, weddings, wineries, and other events.

WN: How big is the property?

LC: We do not have our own property currently, but that is one of our long term goals. Currently, we bring the glamping tents to whatever property suits your fancy! This is great because people can create their dream camping vacations and events with us, and not have to worry about the details. Solid Ground Shelters is currently primarily operating on the East Coast, but we also plan to expand in the coming year.

WN: Thanks so much for your time, Lauren. All the best moving forward!

Forbes Says: 2014 Will Be A Breakout Year for Women Entrepreneurs

Monday, January 20th, 2014

We recently came across a wonderful piece from Forbes entitled, 11 Reasons 2014 Will be A Breakout Year For Women Entrepreneurs.

Naturally, our eyes lit up. And we’d like to share some of our favorite nuggets from the article with you.

*** There is room for improvement, but the U.S. ranked #1 among 17 countries on having the conditions that foster high potential female entrepreneurship, according to Gender-Global Entrepreneurship Development Index (GEDI). These conditions include entrepreneurial environment, entrepreneurial eco-system and entrepreneurial aspirations.

*** Venture-backed companies that include females as senior executives are more likely to succeed than companies with only men in charge, according to Women at the Wheel: Do Female Executives Drive Start-Up Success? a report by Dow Jones VentureSource.

*** Organizations that are the most inclusive of women in top management achieve 35% higher return on equity (ROE) and 34% better total return to shareholders versus their peers – and research shows gender diversity to be particularly valuable where innovation is key.

*** The number of wealthy women in the U.S. is growing twice as fast as the number of wealthy men.

*** 60% of high-net-worth women have earned their own fortunes.

*** Some estimate that by 2030, women will control as much as two-thirds of the nation’s wealth.

Forbes reminds us that we live in a country that allows an opportunity to chase our dreams. And we’re seeing the power of women-owned businesses rise to the forefront. It’s a beautiful thing, and we hope to contribute to this upward swing.

How? With our WomensNet Amber Grants.

Founded in 1998 and launched in conjunction with the entrepreneurial community for women, Amber Grants honor the memory of a young woman who died in 1981, at the age of 19. The purpose of these grants is to help other women achieve the kind of dreams Amber never had a chance to pursue.

We focus on assisting women with small businesses, particularly those that are home-based or online. The grants are small, usually $500 to $1000, and are intended to be used to upgrade equipment, pay for a web site, etc. –- the small but essential expenses that can often make the difference between getting started or forever being stalled.

The January Amber Grant will be for $500.00. No repayment is required or expected — we simply hope that you will pass on the kindness by mentoring and helping others along the way. If you’re interested in applying, you can do so here.

SitterCycle Wins October Amber Grant

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

We’re excited to announce the October WNN Amber Grant Winner — Helen Adeosun, founder of Sittercycle. Continue reading to learn more about her and her business journey.

WNN: Congratulations on winning the October Amber Grant Award!

HA: Thank you so much, it is such an honor! I am so excited, and I actually was inspired by last month’s winner — the founder of Designr!

WNN: Can you tell us a bit about the genesis of Sittercycle? How did you go from an EdM in Education from Harvard to starting Sittercycle?

HA: Great question! I actually had the beginnings of SitterCycle while I was a nanny the summer before I started grad school at Harvard. I knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur and work on something very meaningful given my background in teaching and training I started thinking about the educational offerings I could have used to be a better nanny. The children I cared for before I started grad school were on the autism spectrum and so often I felt that there was so much more I could have done to help, and spent the summer researching autism and how to best engage my charges before they headed back to school. My vision for SitterCycle is to help nannies and caregivers navigate providing care and the professionalism that entails. Throughout beginning SitterCycle I have been so fortunate to come in contact with nannies, educators, and entrepreneurs, that share this greater vision. The EdM was actually great preparation because it helped me translate a larger vision into the actionable steps to take to begin building SitterCycle, instead of entering education policy (my degree area) SitterCycle gets to be a part of a professional in home childcare education movement, something we don’t focus on too much in the US. I am so grateful!

WNN: We were surprised to learn there are associations and conferences for nannies! Beyond that, when most think of nannies, they think of wealthy people who hand off their kids to be raised. Can you help dispel that myth?

HA: Yes, it’s absolutely amazing! There are over a million nannies in the US alone, and the families they work with range the gambit and are no means all wealthy. I currently also work as an on call nanny. Nannies are as diverse in their skills, experience, and background as the families that they work with. Nannies work part time, full time, may have transitioned from the business and education world, come from all over the world, and their career is helping to grow a happy and healthy child. I just came back from a conference called Nannypalooza hosted by a career nanny, Sue Downey, and I was inspired by the various households and the diverse skill sets of those nannies. The greater message is dispelling the myth that nannies are babysitters: great nannies are women and,yes, men, who work 40+ hours a week and work in partnership with parents to care for children, successfully manage households, and are indeed professionals in every sense of the word. It’s an incredibly fulfilling profession and we do a lot more to ensure that nannies are fully recognized as professionals.

WNN: Sittercycle is an educational web platform for caregivers. Can you give a couple examples of what a caregiver would learn from Sittercycle.

HA: SitterCycle loves bringing experts to nannies. Our classes find the best experts on various aspects of childcare and we partner to create classes. By the end of this year we aim to launch 4 classes on our site on very distinct skills including nutrition and food allergies, the basics you should know starting out as a nanny, and teaching beginning literacy skills. We have podcasts with special guests including Alan Kazdin of the Yale Parenting Center and from the Dr. Phil Show on discipline to offer skills nannies and parents can use. In 2014, we aim to partner with organizations to host online classes, webinars, podcasts, and many opportunities to learn from experts.

We wish Helen the best of luck going forward!

Thank you for reading.

Christina