Mars Wrigley’s Dove Chocolate is showing female entrepreneurs some love.
As part of an ongoing commitment to support women-led ventures across the U.S., the candy brand recently awarded three $10,000 grants to budding business owners, as well as help with promotions.
Launched in 2021 as a way to uplift and empower women business owners, Hackettstown-based Mars brought back Dove’s InstaGrants program for a second year after a successful debut.
Following a December 2022 call for pitches of new business ideas or established business concepts, Dove selected the following winners:
According to Dove, promotional efforts for the winners are underway.
So far, the brand has teamed up with Volograms, a tech startup specializing in augmented reality content creation, to develop hologram video pitches for each winner. Those were then “hidden” in premium gift boxes filled with chocolate and delivered to venture capital firms across the country.
Dove also worked with Indiegogo to set up crowdfunding pages for each winner and will work with the platform to promote those campaigns across social media to encourage public support.
After citing research from London Business School that found 63% of women entrepreneurs are less likely to receive funding than men – regardless of their background and ideas – Michelle Deignan, senior director at Mars Wrigley, said, “There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure women are given the financial confidence they need to excel.”
Past grant winners have included Somerset County native Shreya Nuli of Mobile Memory, a cost-effective screening tool that utilizes AI/ML (artificial intelligence and machine learning) to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease from vocal biomarkers; Lehia Apana from Polipoli Farms, a Hawaiian-run farm using indigenous and modern growing practices in regenerative agroforests; and Brittany Rhodes of Detroit, Mich.-based Black Girl Mathgic, a subscription box designed to increase math confidence and decrease math anxiety in girls."