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Invitation to female entrepreneurs: Red Letter Grants open for spring 2022

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 4:32 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -The Red Letter Grant is now accepting applications through the end of April for their spring 2022 grant cycle.

To date the organization has helped 27 small businesses launch not just in Eau Claire but rural areas throughout its 10 county region in western Wisconsin.

This year, Red Letter Grant is looking to award $2,000 in startup money to four women-owned businesses.

Rebecca Cooke, Red Letter Grant founder and executive director, says since the Fall of 2017, these grants have been awarded in hopes of leveling the playing field for women-owned businesses.

“In Wisconsin just 31% of businesses are women-owned leaving a gap in not only mentorship but leadership, and our program seeks to change that by providing start-up capital to women entrepreneurs,” says Cooke.

Even if women don’t end up starting their businesses just yet, through the process they’ll get constructive feedback from judges who have backgrounds in finance or from small business owners themselves, and who Cooke says are really rooting for them to succeed whether or not they’re awarded dollars.

Cooke says they’re seeing a lot more innovative things come through their application periods.

“Looking to address some of the issues like access to rural mental health resources, we’ve funded a rural mental health clinic, there was a sober house that was started in Eau Caire,” says Cooke. “So I think really innovative ideas have come from women looking to address the issues that our region is facing.”

The deadline to submit that business plan is April 25. Applications will then be reviewed by a board of judges and select applicants will advance to the interview stage with grants being awarded at the end of May.

Grant recipients will also be awarded a six month membership to CoLab, a co-working community downtown Eau Claire.

To hear from former grant recipients or to learn more about the application process, see here.

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