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EmpowerHER Competition

Awards to Michigan Individuals to Develop and
Grow Start-Ups that Address Community Needs

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Michigan Women’s Foundation (MWF) and Ford Motor Company Fund

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:



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Awards of up to $50,000 to Michigan individuals, with a focus on women, who are developing social venture enterprises that address community needs and problems. The start-ups must be ultimately sustainable and profit-making. Up to ten finalists will be chosen, and they will compete for the $50,000 award pool. Concept papers may be submitted for the categories of Ideation, Launch, or Growth.

Successful submissions will have the following criteria:
- Fundamentally exists to solve a real community problem
- Requires a business model that will ultimately allow the business to be sustainable
- Must focus on a product or service people will pay for
- Must follow the “No Margin, No Mission,” that is, while some profits may be sacrificed to serve the mission, the business must ultimately be sustainable

Up to ten finalists will be chosen and each will be paired with a coach and mentor, who will assist in developing a business plan and a pitch to compete for a pool of $50,000 to support their social enterprise.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182274

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Number of Grants:

Up to ten finalists will be chosen.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Winners compete for a pool of $50,000.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

EmpowerHER, a partnership between Ford Motor Company Fund and Michigan Women’s Foundation, will offer a continuum of programs and services to women (and a few good men) wishing to start or grow Social Venture Enterprises.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Workshop #3 - Digital Marketing & Social Entrepreneurship Overview, co-led by Katrina Turnbow, founder/CEO Kanopi Social Digital Marketing Firm and Google Digital Coach, and Derrin Leppek, Co-Director Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

You've been practicing your pitch and have been piecing together your concept paper and business plan, what's next?? Katrina Turnbow will provide resources and instructions on the steps you can take to increase your business's/organization's presence out in the digital market, whether you're just starting out or you are growing your existing social impact business.

MWF has officially opened up the EmpowerHER competition so the second half of the workshop will dive into the logistics of a social impact enterprise as one last opportunity to clarify any questions you may have.

For more information:

Pre-Application Information:

September 7, 2017 – Concept paper and application submission open
September 13, 2017 – Workshop #3: Digital Marketing & Social Entrepreneurship Overview
October 6, 2017 – Concept papers and application deadline
Mid-October 2017 – Semi-finalists notified
End of October – Semi-finalists Interviews
November 2017 – Finalists Announced
November 2017-February 2018 – Finalists work one-on-one with coaches to perfect their pitch and complete a business plan
Mid-January 2018 – Business plan deadline
February 2018 – EmpowerHER Competition

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

Meaghan McLaughlin

Michigan Women's Foundation
615 Griswold St. Suite 1020
Detroit, MI 48226

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Michigan