Female scholarships make a splash this spring

15 May 2020

Historically, females are underrepresented in the Consumer Packaged Goods and aquaculture industries - two areas where investment and growth is gaining steady momentum. To remedy that gap in representation, several companies are working to provide females with access to experiences and resources through grant and scholarship programs.

Kvarøy Arctic has paired up with the James Beard Foundation to offer a $10,000 “Women in Aquaculture” scholarship for those studying the subject at a college or university in any country. The scholarship also includes a paid one-month summer internship on the Kvarøy Arctic farm site in Norway. And Stacy’s Snacks has renewed its Stacy’s Rise Project for another year. The Rise Project is a grant and mentorship program that offers 15 female founders a $10,000 grant, branding design mentorship and access to Frito-Lay as well as PepsiCo leaders for guidance in sales, supply, marketing and R&D.

Female scholarships make a splash this spring

The lack of female leadership at large CPG companies has been a thorn in the side of the industry for years. Although there are notable examples of female leadership over the years - Indra Nooyi at PepsiCo and Michele Buck at The Hershey Company - the majority of the CPG giants are male-led. However, at smaller companies there is far more female leadership. Since 2007, the number of women-led businesses in the U.S. has increased by 58%, a 2018 American Express report found. But even while the numbers of entities that are female-led has grown, the dollars invested in these enterprises have not increased proportionally.

Data from Pitchbook showed that in 2017, only 2.2% of venture capital funding went to female-founded businesses. And the figures have not improved dramatically since then. “In 2019, female founders received only 2.8% of venture capitalist funding – which means that as small businesses struggle in the current environment, women-owned companies need more support than ever before,” said Ciara Dilley, Frito-Lay’s Vice President of Marketing in a release.

Data for aquaculture is not much better. The World Wildlife Foundation reported that while women make up 85% of the workforce in aquaculture, it is “rare” for them to be in top management positions. Instead, they occupy jobs such as gutting, filling cans or other processing tasks. By providing funds for an education and first-hand experience learning how to run a family farm, Kvarøy Arctic hopes to change that.

Until June 11 students can submit their applications for the aquaculture scholarship via the James Beard Foundation website. Scholarship winners will be notified in August 2020.

Female entrepreneurs looking for a leg up in their businesses can submit an application for the Stacy’s Rise Project until May 29 on the company’s website. The 15 finalists will be announced in July.

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