Last month, we told you about how Ciara Dilley, VP of Transformation & Innovation at Frito-Lay America, is leaving a legacy for female entrepreneurs including through the Stacy’s Rise Project. The project recently announced the 15 winners of its grant and mentorship program with Plano-based female entrepreneur Chi Nguyen, founder of Purpose Tea, among the recipients.
This mentorship program supports female entrepreneurs through $150,000 in grants to support women and their businesses through the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants will also partake in learning opportunities about funding, supply and operations, marketing, and self-care with four months of professional advertising services and executive mentorship, according to a statement.
Purpose Tea is a mission-driven company specializing in purple tea “rich in health benefits,” including lower caffeine levels, fat-burning properties, and high antioxidant levels, according to its website.
But what sets Purpose Tea apart, according to Nguyen, is its mission of extending its impact beyond the consumer to female tea pickers in Kenya. Nguyen wanted to create something sustainable that helps women live up to their full potential—not only benefiting them, but their families, communities, and nation.
“Our business is obviously focused on empowering women and also bringing to market a very healthy tea. I think the mission of Purpose Tea really aligns with Stacy’s mission, which is ultimately at the end of the day, knocking down barriers for women,” Nguyen said.
Sales of Purpose Tea fund their social impact model, which provides training for tea pickers in financial management, budgeting, gender equity issues, and nutrition. Another portion of the social impact model is community support services, which supports scholarships for the tea pickers’ children.
The final piece of the model is access to land, as “in Kenya, 95% of the land is owned by men passed down generationally,” Nguyen told Dallas Innovates.
“Our goal with the Stacy’s Rise Project is to share our own resources so that women can both identify and seize those opportunities,” Dilley said in a statement. “As a female-founded brand, it’s in our DNA to help women rise and this year’s theme is #ShareForHer—a reminder that we all have something to share to help a woman succeed, be it expertise, a word of encouragement or another valuable asset.
In a survey done by the Stacy’s Rise Project, 73 percent of female entrepreneurs who have a mentor are “more likely to feel well-equipped with the necessary resources to grow their business—yet 53 percent have not had a mentor to guide them,” according to a statement.
As a female entrepreneur, Nguyen faced challenges when starting Purpose Tea, but it hasn’t stopped her. She said that one of the bigger issues women face is gaining access to capital to grow their businesses. Nguyen says that access to capital is “heavily networked” and typically led by men.
“It’s been a challenge, but it’s not a challenge that I don’t welcome,” Nguyen says. “I’ve always said that I believe women have superpowers, and I really do think because we’ve always been underestimated, we’ve been able to do more with less, and we’re just crazy good operators.”
Now, as part of the Stacy’s Rise Project Class of 2020, Nguyen is excited about the mentorship aspect of the program and connecting with fellow female entrepreneurs. She believes that entrepreneurship can be a lonely road, and she and the other program participants can benefit from mentorship and coaching along the way.
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