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StitchCrew and VEST Her Ventures Announce The Future of Women at Work Grant

StitchCrew and VEST Her Ventures Announce The Future of Women at Work Grant, a program providing $10,000 grants to Women-Led Companies in the Care Economy and Future of Work

In collaboration with StitchCrew, we are excited to announce a new program designed to catalyze investments in women-led companies building solutions in the Care Economy and Future of Work sectors.


A total of five companies will be selected to participate in the inaugural cohort. Selected participants of this program will receive a $10,000 non-dilutive grant to grow their businesses. Beyond financial support, these women entrepreneurs will have the unique opportunity to build a community with peers, receive introductions to investors and capital allocators, gain access to an extended network of women professionals, and more. The grant includes an invitation to an in-person retreat designed to foster collaboration and provide invaluable resources and connections that can propel their businesses forward. The program is made possible in large part through financial support from BMO U.S., Google, Inasmuch Foundation, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, and VEST.

Why the Care Economy 


The U.S. economy today would not function without caregivers. However, instead of strengthening this critical infrastructure, we've reduced public and private investments in our care system. Consequently, working families—particularly women—bear the financial burden.

Across the country, millions of individuals quietly provide unpaid care for their loved ones, from children to aging parents and disabled family members. As caregivers juggle work and caregiving responsibilities, they often encounter lost wages, missed career opportunities, and job losses. In fact, caregiving responsibilities are the number two reason (behind retirement) that people, mostly women, leave the workforce. According to the Rand Corporation, family caregivers lose $522 billion in wages annually. Since women are more likely to take on caregiving roles than men, they often experience a greater financial impact as a result. These disparities further contribute to the gender wage gap, making it even more challenging for women to achieve financial security and long-term stability.

This economic impact extends beyond individual caregivers and their families, affecting businesses and communities as well. Businesses are losing up to $34 billion annually in decreased profitability due to loss in productivity and attrition tied to employees with caregiving responsibilities. This negatively impacts our nation’s economy and workforce availability. According to the Boston Consulting Group, the U.S. will lose about $290 billion a year in GDP in 2030 and beyond if we fail to fix the critical care crisis.


Why the Future of Work


The conversation about the future of work has largely centered on readying workers to take on new skills, jobs expected to grow, and how emerging technologies, like AI and automation, may change workplace operations and the nature of work. Yet, little focus has gone to preparing workplaces for the future by transforming work environments so that all workers, including caregivers, have the best chance of success and can participate in the labor force to their fullest potential. Moreover, innovations in the Future of Work and AI lack adequate representation. Despite comprising 50% of the workforce, women represent only 14% of AI authors and 22% of AI professionals. All while women-led companies receive a mere 2% of venture capital. If left unaddressed, this imbalance will perpetuate biases in data sets and AI algorithms, reinforcing harmful stereotypes and widening the existing gender divide.


To build a more sustainable future of work, we need innovative and inclusive solutions that enable all workers to seize opportunities in the automation age. Equally important is the need to ensure fair representation and distribution of power in the AI sector. Additionally, we must develop (and fund) tools and solutions that help employers create more flexible and inclusive work environments. 


By focusing on backing comprehensive solutions in these two sectors, this program aims to create a more inclusive economy and future of work that benefits all.


To be eligible for this program, companies must be women-owned (50% or more), have an existing business or MVP with the ambition to scale, and be based in the United States. Applications are open through August 23, 2024. For more information, please visit www.StitchCrew.com/future-of-women-at-work-grant.


About StitchCrew

StitchCrew is a non-profit organization creating a more inclusive economy through entrepreneurship and creative economic development efforts. Since its founding in 2017, the organization has created programs to fund and support more than 210 companies owned by socially and economically disadvantaged entrepreneurs. Learn more at www.StitchCrew.com.


About VEST Her Ventures

VEST Her Ventures, a peer network and investment fund for women, invests in women-led companies building the future of work and care infrastructure needed to unlock women's labor participation, career potential, and lifetime earnings. VEST also connects and provides executive coaching to women professionals across industries, regions, and career levels. Learn more at www.VESTHer.co.

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