As businesses around the country continue to struggle even as many states push to reopen, some corporate fairy godmothers are trying to come to the rescue with cash and professional guidance.
Verizon, which also donated $250,000 to Hello Alice’s Business for All grants, will launch a mentoring program that aims to provide female entrepreneurs with a network of other women business leaders to coach them on how to run their ventures during a pandemic.
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The program, which is free and starts in July, will help women get a firmer grasp on what the economy will likely look like, how to restructure or pivot, and how to manage employees. According to USA Today, it was conceived after an internal survey found that more than 30% of women-owned businesses indicated they were not confident they would be able to recover losses from Covid-19, versus 21% of their male counterparts.
“It’s my belief that women need to help each other,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business, which partnered with CircleAround, a for-profit subsidiary of the Girl Scouts, and the National Association of Women Business Owners to launch the initiative. “We hope this program will provide a safe environment for listening, learning, helping and mentoring each other.”
ThirdLove, a bra and underwear startup founded by Heidi Zak and David Spector, also announced this week that it would start a new program to support early-stage companies founded by women of color.
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Dubbed “The TL Effect,” the program will award cash grants to companies, dedicate a portion of the loungewear company’s office space for entrepreneurs to use for meetings, workspace and photoshoots, plug products on its social media and blog, and offer mentorship and assistance with raising capital.
The application will be released on ThirdLove’s website on June 30.
And home improvement company Lowe’s is still accepting applications for its $25 million grant program for minority- and women-owned businesses by midnight June 17.
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Businesses fighting to stay alive, with immediate expenses around rent and utilities, payroll, debt to vendors, upgrading technology infrastructure and other operational costs, are eligible for the funds.
Grants will be made in the amounts of $5,000, $7,500, $10,000 and $20,000, according to the community development group that is managing the process.