Home Business DOVE Chocolate awards InstaGrants to 3 female companies

DOVE Chocolate awards InstaGrants to 3 female companies

by Ana Lopez
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DOVE Chocolate brought her back #DOVEInstaGrants program, which encourages female entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas or established companies for a chance at a $10,000 grant, as well as further business promotion. This program is inspired by DOVE’s collaboration with CARE. “DOVE Chocolate is partnering with CARE, a multi-year program to empower women in West African cocoa-producing communities to build their own small businesses and define their financial voice. When the brand explored further how to make an impact, it found that women entrepreneurs are here in the US 63% less likely receive more funding than men,” said Martin Terwilliger, Senior Director of Marketing at Mars Wrigley.

The brand was inspired to bring the spirit of its work in West Africa to life in the US with DOVE Chocolate InstaGrants, which was designed to uplift, celebrate and empower female entrepreneurs. In its first year, DOVE offered three women $10,000 to help develop their businesses, and this year DOVE is going one step further by providing more business promotions to both this year’s and last year’s winners. To apply, DOVE encouraged female entrepreneurs to share their 30-second pitch for their business, whether it’s an existing idea or a budding one, on Instagram or through DoveChocolateInstaGrants.com. “We saw inspirational submissions in sectors ranging from technology to education to sustainability and saw more than four times as many submissions as in the first year of the programme. Judging entries for the InstaGrants program was inspiring and empowering as it showcased the immense passion, perseverance and creativity of so many women. In the end, our winners were chosen based on a criterion that prioritized impact to create positive change in their communities and the world, as well as the uniqueness of their idea,” Terwilliger said of how DOVE selected the winners.

Among the 2023 winners is Isabel Last van Faenaan immersive language teaching video game, Jillian Anderson from HERidea rideshare app made for women by women to provide reliable peer-to-peer transportation, and Kiera Gardner and Margo Newkirk of Blend of soula cold-pressed juice company that encourages a healthier lifestyle with sustainably made products.

This year, DOVE is helping this year’s and last year’s winners in addition to providing financial support to provide strategic business promotion by leveraging DOVE’s platform. “We know that women are much less likely to receive funding than men, so our goal was to give these pioneering companies additional visibility to encourage business support and funding from two groups: venture capitalists and the public.” elaborate Terwilliger. “First we worked with Indiegogo to highlight these companies on the crowdfunding platform that is specially programmed for entrepreneurs. On Indiegogo, 47% of campaigns that exceed their goals are run by women and 10 million people worldwide visit the site each month. Second, we wanted to get the entrepreneurs at the table with venture capital firms, which we did in a guerrilla-like approach. We used cutting-edge technology to develop holograms of each winner giving their business pitch. The holograms could be seen on QR codes in delicious DOVE Chocolate gift baskets, which our entrepreneurs placed in the room with the companies after scanning. Finally, we are leveraging our social platforms to excite and inspire fans to support these inspiring, powerful companies.”

One of last year’s winners, Brittany Rhodes, the founder of Black Girl Mathgic, was able to develop a quarterly subscription box for boys and is expanding our customer base to include schools, districts and youth aid organizations thanks to DOVE’s support.

This year’s winners talk about why they applied for the grant and how they hope to use the grant to further build their business.

Blend of soul

Why did you sign up for the Dove InstaGrants?

We applied for Dove InstaGrants because as a Black woman-led business, being a member of a historically underrepresented community has created a challenging path to navigate systemic barriers within our society and the entrepreneurial world. Creating access to capital, networking opportunities and mentorship for our community and small business owners would bridge the equity gap and promote diversity. One of our biggest challenges we face is having access to capital and resources to take our business to the next level. Representation is important, and this has driven us to stand up for our company and many other women-owned businesses in our community and around the world. There is a unique inequality that is explored and seen when we advocate for ourselves and the necessary resources needed to grow our business, and we hope to minimize this inequality by creating a safe space for those who are like us, through create open forums to ask questions and concerns, and create our own place at the table. We thank Dove for starting this conversation and creating funding for underrepresented groups like us so we can continue to spread powerful messages within our businesses and continue to be the voice of our community.

What do you plan to use the grant for?

We believe in speaking power into the things we desire and the Dove InstaGrant will support us in securing our first food truck! With our food truck, we hope to include a healthy menu of fun and delicious treats, juices and smoothies for our community to enjoy. We hope to make healthy products more accessible to our community and surrounding areas by continuing our mission to keep health and wellness at the forefront. Not only does getting this scholarship mean we can secure our food truck, but it also allows us to take that blank canvas and paint it as our own. We dream of creating our own welcoming space where everyone feels safe and welcome, especially those who are like us. It is equally important to us to create jobs in our community for Black and Native Colored People (BIPOC) through our brand. We are passionate about standing in our culture and our blackness and we hope that through this grant we can continue to spread our message around the world.

What do you hope the remaining benefits of the grant will bring to you and your business?

We hope that by partnering with Indiegogo to create our campaign and the Dove VC hologram pitch opportunity, we can raise awareness of our mission and company. We hope that through these added benefits we can also create more business and growth opportunities for our community. We love our brand and what we stand for, and we’re so excited that not only did we win the grant, but Dove gave us more opportunities to bring our brand to the public’s attention. We love that companies like Dove are passionate about seeing women-owned small businesses grow and strive to make businesses succeed beyond grants. We thank everyone on the Dove InstaGrants team for seeing us and believing in our vision to make our community healthier.


Why did you sign up for the Dove InstaGrants?

We chose to apply for InstaGrants because DOVE continually celebrates and supports women of all backgrounds. As a women-led company, it’s important to us to align with brands that also believe in women’s empowerment.

What do you plan to use the grant for?

Like many startup companies, we’re bootstrapped so far. We invested in our dream to be the #1 alternative ride-share option for women, and now that dream is becoming a reality. The additional funds from this grant will allow us to invest in our Q2 marketing plans.

What do you hope the remaining benefits of the grant will bring to you and your business?

We look forward to the increased exposure our brand will gain through this partnership. We also look forward to engaging with VCs interested in investing in a tech start-up that is transforming the ride-sharing safety landscape.


Why did you sign up for the Dove InstaGrants?

I’ve applied to DOVE Chocolate InstaGrants for much-needed funding for a company that aims to support and uplift female founders.

What do you plan to use the grant for?

I plan to use the grant to continue to pay my co-founders so they can continue working on Faena full time.

What do you hope the remaining benefits of the grant will bring to you and your business?

We hope the Indiegogo campaign gives us a wider fan base and enables our supporters to financially be a part of the Faena journey. We would like to see a few more small angel checks come in before our pre-seed round starts later this year.

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