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As we head into Women’s History Month, I find myself reflecting on my journey as a female founder and the many lessons this unique experience has taught me. The path to entrepreneurship is paved with challenges, especially for underrepresented founders like myself. Securing funding at early stages is a crucial step for scalability and competitiveness, yet it often comes with external pressures that can be overwhelming for startups.

During my decade-long trajectory of building Briogeo, I was a heads-down entrepreneur, focused solely on making my business work. I chose to bootstrap for the first six years of my venture, using bank loans to support my rapidly growing business before deciding to bring on a private-equity investor. As my company scaled and I began to take on a more heads-up role, I realized the impact I could have on other entrepreneurs through mentorship and financial support. Not everyone has the luxury of raising money from friends and family, and I believe that founders shouldn’t be forced to take on investment capital before they’re ready.

This realization led me to consider what else I could offer to the next generation of entrepreneurs beyond just mentorship. I was inspired to establish the Dream Makers Founder Grant, a no-strings-attached capital initiative designed to empower underrepresented female founders in the consumer goods industry. This $1 million grant aims to bridge the resource gap and help emerging businesses get a headstart without the need to surrender equity or succumb to payback obligations.

The impact of access to “no strings attached” capital for early entrepreneurs cannot be overstated. It allows for risk-taking, empowers founders to learn from mistakes, accelerates growth, reduces personal financial risk, and enhances network access without traditional ownership dilution. Through my experiences advising other early entrepreneurs through programs like Sephora Accelerate, I’ve seen firsthand the transformative power of mentorship coupled with financial support.

Business grants like the Dream Makers Founder Grant offer a valuable alternative to traditional financing methods. Unlike loans or investments, grants do not require repayment or equity stakes, making them an attractive option for startups looking to preserve control and focus on growth. They also provide validation and credibility, which can be supportive in attracting additional funding and partnerships.

However, navigating the world of business grants can be daunting. It’s important to understand the different types of grants available, their eligibility criteria, and the application process. Grants can be offered by government agencies, private foundations or individuals, and corporations, each with its own set of requirements and objectives. Thorough research and a well-crafted application are key to increasing your chances of securing a grant.

For entrepreneurs navigating the grant process for the first time, here are some tips and suggestions:

Start with a Clear Goal

Identify what you need the grant for and how it aligns with your business objectives.

Do Your Research

Use resources like, the Small Business Administration, and industry-specific organizations to find grants that match your business.

Tailor Your Application

Customize your application to each grant’s specific requirements and focus on how your business aligns with the grantor’s goals.

Seek Support

Reach out to mentors, business advisors, or even previous grant recipients for advice and insights.

Prepare for Reporting

Be ready to provide progress reports and demonstrate how the grant is being used effectively.


As I look back on my journey and my recent launch of the Dream Makers Founder Grant, I am filled with hope for the future of female entrepreneurship. Grants are an invaluable resource for funding your business while preserving your vision. I encourage all entrepreneurs to research and apply for grants that align with their goals and needs. For more details on the Dream Makers Founder Grant and additional insights, please visit