Aside from offering financial relief to women in need, your generous donation will give something equal in measure: hope. Hope that there is a bright light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. Hope that, during any hardship, there will always be a soft place to land or launch and other people cheering on the road to success.
Recent national polls by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Glassdoor indicate women are feeling the weight, anxiety, and disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately more than men. Yet in the 2019 North Carolina Small Business Handbook published by the Small Business Technology and Development Center in Raleigh, the power of women-owned businesses was clear. In the years between 2007 and 2018, women-owned businesses surged 58%(!) while all businesses increased 12%. Women also saw their employment rise 21% while other businesses declined at .08%. If you want to invest in economic growth, it’s smart to support women-owned businesses. And there’s never been a more critical time to do so.
Our micro-grant program is our way of saying very important things to women who own small businesses during this global crisis. Like: First off, we need you — now more than ever, your hard work, your ability to create jobs, and your can-do attitude is needed. Second, we see you —your dream, all those extra hours, all those times you didn’t pay yourself… your sacrifices matter! Third, this is a tiny way to bring you relief and even more hope. Consider this grant our way of saying we’re betting on you. We believe at The Inspiration Lab we should create the things we wish existed and nothing embodies that idea more than starting your own business.
Each micro-grant recipient who is not already a member will receive an invitation to join The Inspiration Lab membership community for free for the remainder of 2020. Should she choose to do so, we’d also love to welcome her into our Small Business Squad, a group of women within The Inspi Lab who own small businesses and are on this same challenging, thrilling, exhausting, and wonderful entrepreneurial journey. If you want to know more about our Small Business Squad, click here .
You can help these deserving women and their businesses survive by donating right now! We know they will be so grateful and we will be too, because it isn't enough to want things to get better — we have to take action to make them better.
For more information and a link to the grant application, please click here .
The Funding Guidelines:
We are beta-testing this micro-grant program, called the Land & Launch Fund, in response to the coronavirus crisis and the desire to help our community. We currently plan to operate this fund for the next six months, until November 8, 2020. Please review the following guidelines before applying for a micro-grant.
You must be a current Inspiration Lab member in good standing to apply or nominate someone for a micro-grant.
The application can be printed from The Inspiration Lab website here .
Stephanie Lanier, the founder of The Inspiration Lab, will review the applications and evaluate the requests. Our hope is to approve every reasonable request.
Micro-grants are available for up to $500.00. Awarded funds will be delivered via check, sent to the address included on the application, once approved. A micro-grant is intended to be a one-time gift. However, if a new significant need occurs, you can submit a new application for review 90 days after your first award.
Examples of micro-grant requests include, but are not limited to: rent for your business space, car payments, water and/or electric bills, etc.
Micro-grant funds will be raised through member donations and also from our Inspiration Lab friends. The Inspiration Lab will provide a weekly report to members and donors showing the amount of money raised and how the money was donated without revealing anyone’s identity. We value the privacy of our grant recipients.
All donations will be processed through GoFundMe. Funds donated through GoFundMe will be given back to The Inspiration Lab community through micro-grants.
The Inspiration Lab will NOT keep any of the money donated; GoFundMe does, however, deduct processing fees for each transaction.
Donations will NOT be considered tax-deductible.
Anyone can make a donation to the fund; however, only Inspiration Lab members will be able to apply for a micro-grant at this time. If funds remain after meeting the needs of eligible Inspi Lab members, we will evaluate applications from non-members who are women small business owners in need in Southeastern North Carolina and then, funds permitting, beyond the region.
Our goal is to disperse all available funds by the end of the six-month test period.
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