Silver & Riley Awards First Grants To Women Owned Small Businesses in Honor of Women’s History Month
New luxury brand awards grants of $1,000 each as part of effort to help female entrepreneurs start, grow and scale their businesses
Grant Winners From Left to Right: Lisette Ffolkes Founder of JAM+RICO, Jadéa Asante and Shelby Adkins Co-Founders of Embracing The Crown, and Martice Founder of Girls Gone Global.
March 24th, 2020 New York, NY - Nearly 150 applicants vied for a SILVER & RILEY grant. Applications were narrowed down to five applicants by nine judges which included the Silver & Riley team and advisors. The five finalists were then interviewed via phone after which three winners were chosen. Two $1,000 grant winners and an additional $500 grant was awarded thanks to additional grant funding received.
Winners were chosen based on criteria including passion, business model and scalability of impact, both for the brand and the impact on others. Of the process, founder Lola Banjo states “All the applicants were impressive; we wish we were able to award more grants. We look forward to growing the grant amounts as Silver & Riley grows. Awarding these grants in the midst of the current economic disruptions due to COVID-19 was timely and necessary. Small businesses will no doubt take a hit, and as a new business ourself, no one understands that better. It’s important that we continue to celebrate and support female entrepreneurs both by giving them props and the financial support they need to keep going.”
Lola Banjo was inspired by her late mother and her own ten-year journey to launching Silver & Riley to build an avenue to help other women entrepreneurs lessen the impact that a lack of or limited capital can have. Watching her mother’s influence on her community in Lagos, Nigeria and seeing her help several women small business owners grow their businesses with small amounts - $100 here, $200 there - but that made a big impact, influenced her. What she learned is, for a small business, typically with many financial constraints, no amount is too small.
The Silver & Riley Female Entrepreneurship Grants are free cash infusions, as opposed to business credit cards or small-business loans that must be paid back. They are made possible by the brand’s “Buy 1, Give 5” program, which was incepted since the brand’s October 2019 launch. Five percent of all sales go towards the program which currently splits the funds evenly between supporting female entrepreneurship in the United States and working with non-profit partners in emerging economies to support business literacy and entrepreneurship for women.
$1,000 Grant Winners
Jam & Rico Founder Lisette Ffolkes. Established since June 2016, Jam + Rico is a fashion jewelry company providing bold, unique and colorful design. Growing up with the influence of her culture Ffolkes says she created Jam + Rico (Jamaica and Puerto Rico) “to dive deeper into my love of designing and the Caribbean.” In her submission Ffolkes talks about struggling to keep up with the demand for Jam + Rico. With her grant she hopes to be able to expand her inventory.
Girls Going Global Founder Martice Sutton. Girls Going Global (GGG) is a social enterprise organization with a mission to increase the ability of girls of color to compete in the global economy through access to cultural competency education, leadership training, and international travel experiences. Their travel camps and training programs provide the framework for girls of color to become thoughtful and compassionate global leaders. GGG has traveled with over 150 U.S. students since August 2012. And, has impacted over 1,000 girls around the world. Sutton plans to put her $1,000 grant towards operating costs and strengthening the educational component of the program, especially in a time when the travel component is on hold due to COVID-19.
$500 Grant Winner
Embracing The Crown Founders Co Founders Jadea Asante and Shelby Adkins. Embracing The Crown uplifts, empowers, & unites women of color. What started as a college blog documenting their journey through womanhood, has expanded into a beautiful movement. The brand aims to create safe spaces that encourage healing, community connection, & growth.
With their grant they hope to sponsor their Project Prom Initiative. It is a two part program where Embracing The Crown educates young ladies at local schools on prom safety and confidence building. One deserving senior is honored with a full experience prom package (dress, nails, hair +). The initiative is now two years running.
About Silver & Riley,
Ten years of planning, research and development birthed a new line of classic and timeless luxury goods cut from the best quality leather available. Made in Italy, the Silver & Riley collections feature premium full grain leather, designed to develop a rich patina overtime. The line includes stylish and functional leather goods for men and women, for work, travel and everyday use.
Lola Banjo, Founder and Chief Designer, incorporated several years of traveling for business as a Strategist, her love for fashion, her background in engineering, innovation & design to create functional products that are also incredibly stylish. Each product is thoughtfully crafted and offers maximum utility. The fashion bags ranging in prices from $65 to $595, can be worn in multiple ways; the belt bag can be worn as a clutch. The Executive Convertible handbag can be worn four ways. When the brand launched in October of 2019, they set out to always give back through their #BUY1GIVE5 program. The brand gives back 5% of their quarterly revenue to women owned businesses and partner organizations that support female entrepreneurship in developing economies.
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