Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Applicants sought for Women in Networking grants

Group assists businesswomen in Valley

Women in Networking, a progressive lead and networking group affiliated with the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce, is seeking applicants for its annual WIN Entrepreneurial Grant.
This philanthropic program provides financial assistance to women in business, 18 years of age or older in Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Oxford, Seymour, and Shelton.

The WIN grant, celebrating its 10th year of providing grants to area women, can be used for expenses to enhance the applicant’s current business or to start a new business.

These expenses may include: equipment, tuition, books, transportation, business wardrobe or childcare necessary to reach the applicant’s career goals.

Since its inception in 2004, the WIN grant has benefited 29 women- owned businesses in the Valley with more than $28,000 in grants.

In 2007, the WIN Entrepreneurial Grant became a new named fund with the Valley Community Foundation allowing contributions to be made directly to this designated fund.
But what speaks even louder than the statistics are the testimonials.

For Jean Mai, a grant recipient in 2008, just $500 was enough to give her the breathing room she needed to purchase supplies for her business, Science Snoopers, which provides educational programs for children in the areas of nature, animals, the body, habitats and other science themes. “It’s the little things that so many kids miss these days. That’s what I try to teach them how to see the little things outside – bugs, tracks in the snow, the like.”
Prior to receiving the grant, Mai had to purchase supplies for her programs one by one.  By having the cushion, she was able to have an inventory of supplies and developed four new programs that year alone.
She participated in the WIN group for the year following the grant and noted “through WIN, I see how hard that women work to make their businesses a success and are real goal oriented.”

Kim Dulka was awarded a $1,500 grant this past year from the WIN group. She is the owner of the All American Valley General Store in Seymour and used the funds to install kitchen sinks in order to serve food at the store.  “I couldn’t have done it without WIN. I am now able to offer farm fresh lunch, which is a huge portion of our business.”

Past grant recipient, Mandy Oram, of Paws & Kisses Pet Sitting Service, LLC, comments, "The WIN grant helped me make a success of my business. Through the award, I purchased a computer and software that enabled me to automate my client files and scheduling which saved me precious time to concentrate on expanding the business. Being a WIN grant recipient is about more than just the grant money. The help and support of the professional, friendly and knowledgeable WIN members over the ensuing years has been invaluable,” Oram said. 

Megan Crandlemire, owner of Starboard Digital confirmed, “I was fortunate to receive a WIN Grant in 2011 to purchase a laptop, allowing me to meet with clients in person and give visual demonstrations of my work. This has been a tremendous asset to my business.  The grant helped expose me to networking opportunities and new relationships which have helped Starboard Digital thrive professionally and me personally.”

Appletini Harvest fund-raiser
WIN raises money for the Grant program through its annual silent auction event.  Local businesses and supporters are encouraged to participate through sponsorships and the donation of items for auction.
This year’s Appletini Harvest event will be held 3-6 p.m. Sept. 8 at the Inn at Villa Bianca, 312 Roosevelt Drive, Seymour.
Cost per person is $40, which includes martini tasting, hor d’oeuvres, door prizes, and a silent auction.
For non-martini drinkers, a cash bar will be available. A special discounted pre-fixed menu dinner is offered at Tavern 1757 for Appletini attendees with advance reservations. Call the restaurant at 203-516-5461 for details.

Debi Molfese, WIN member, Marketing Director of Villa Bianca, and 2013 Chair of the Appletini Harvest Silent Auction offered, “We are grateful for the many local businesses that provide sponsorship through advertising and donated items to be auctioned.  It is a fun time with great food, drink, prizes, and auction items.”

Minimum grant is $500
The minimum one-time grant is $500. Greater amounts may be awarded according to individual needs and funds available.
Call 203-925-4981 for information about the grant application, which can be downloaded from the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce website at www.greatervalleychamber.com and by clicking on the WIN link.

Grant applications must be postmarked by Oct. 4, 2013.
Applicants will be evaluated on a nondiscriminatory basis without consideration of race, national origin, religious affiliation or disability.
Grant recipient(s) will be announced in December during the WIN holiday luncheon.
Recipient(s) will also be invited to a complimentary one-year membership to the WIN Group.

Tickets may be purchased from any WIN member, via the Chamber’s website at http://bit.ly/12V1gcJ  or by calling the Chamber,  203-925-4981.
Make checks payable to the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce.  The Chamber also accepts Discover, Visa, MasterCard or AMEX.

WIN is the first group of its kind to service the six-town region of the Greater Valley. Founded in 2002, the group was formed by a successful group of businesswomen who meet to discuss common issues. Meetings are conducted on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at the GVCC office or off-site at a Chamber member location.
Social and educational events are scheduled throughout the year.                     

This is a press release from the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce.       

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