Women Entrepreneurs across the Caribbean now have a new way to raise much-needed capital for their ventures. FundRiseHER™, the first ever Commonwealth-wide crowd-funding initiative which was officially launched on July 5 alongside the CARICOM heads of government meeting, which took place in Guyana from July 4 – 6, 2016.
FundRiseHER is the vision of Valrie Grant, founder of GeoTechVision and the Commonwealth Woman Entrepreneur of the Year. It is created and powered by pitchandchoose.com, the crowd-funding platform for the Caribbean that was founded by A. Cecile Watson and which seeks to leverage crowd-funding to attract new flows of capital to the region, and ultimately to create new jobs and drive economic growth.
FundriseHER came about, when Valrie sought financing for a project she had in mind and was constantly given the brush off. Eventually, she was financed the old-fashioned way, from family and friends. After she was named Commonwealth Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, last year she was named Commonwealth Woman Entrepreneur of the Year — she remembered her struggle and began thinking about how to use her new status to help Caribbean women raise much-needed capital.
She enlisted the help of a friend and fellow entrepreneur Cecile Watson, the founder of pitchandchoose.com, a Caribbean-focused crowdfunding platform, and together they created FundriseHER.
The initiative will be spearheaded by Gr8Way Consulting Ltd of Jamaica, which will lead the charge throughout the region to deliver on the initiative’s 1:10:50 goal: $1 million grant funding target to be raised through a global rewards-based crowdfunding campaign by 10 participating Caribbean countries/territories and Commonwealth member states for the benefit of 50 women entrepreneurs. The size of grants will be between US$10,000 and US$25,000.
The game changing FundRiseHER initiative, led by the two Caribbean women entrepreneurs, was warmly welcomed by heads of government from across CARICOM as an innovative, important and much needed initiative to improve access to finance for women entrepreneurs to grow and scale their businesses and contribute to the economic development of the Caribbean.
“As a Caribbean woman who has been named as the Commonwealth Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, I feel obliged to drive an initiative that will not only foster the growth of women entrepreneurs throughout the Commonwealth but one that will also elevate the impact of Caribbean based women entrepreneurs on the world stage. FundRiseHER will do this and we will all benefit.”