Photo of Reese Witherspoon, in partnership with Stacy's® to help female founders
Image courtesy of Frito-Lay North America
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Stacy’s Pita Chips and Hello Sunshine Partner To Amplify Women Founders

Stacy's has announced the 2021 Rise Project finalists and launched the FoundedByHer business directory.

Stacy’s Pita Chips is continuing its commitment to helping women founders by partnering with Oscar-winning actress and producer Reese Witherspoon and the media company she founded, Hello Sunshine, to spotlight the 10 inspiring winners of the 2021 Stacy’s Rise Project. New this year, Stacy’s is also amplifying founders by launching FoundedByHer.org. This is an online business directory featuring women founders from across the United States.  

Stacy’s is a female-founded brand that grew from a sandwich cart to nationwide distribution. The brand is building upon its legacy of helping women rise through the Stacy’s Rise Project. This is a grant and mentorship program that aims to help women grow their businesses. Earlier this year, Stacy’s, with longtime partner Hello Alice, received an overwhelming amount of interest in the Rise Project from founders across the nation. They received an almost 300 percent increase in applications from years prior.

Providing opportunities for women founders

The 10 winners will each receive a $10,000 grant, mentoring from Frito-Lay and PepsiCo leadership and the opportunity to participate in a speaker series featuring Frito-Lay leadership and notable founders. Perhaps most importantly, they also have access to a built-in community. This will help them experience the power of women coming together to lift each other up, celebrate each other’s successes and achieve their dreams. To welcome and amplify the 2021 finalists as well as extend visibility to founders in 2022, the brand is kicking off a partnership. Stacy’s has partnered with actress and producer Reese Witherspoon and the media company she founded, Hello Sunshine.

“I truly believe that when one woman rises, we all rise, and that is why my team at Hello Sunshine and I partnered with Stacy’s, beginning with the 2021 Stacy’s Rise Project,” said Reese Witherspoon, Oscar winning actress, producer and founder for Hello Sunshine. “This partnership and project are so important because it not only provides essential funding, but also provides unmatched support through mentorship and connections to help female founders take their business to the next level.”

Helping women founders overcome challenges

To better understand the unique challenges and opportunities female founders face, Stacy’s commissioned a survey among 500 U.S. female entrepreneurs. Each entrepreneur currently owns or plans to own a business with the intent of making a profit. One of the key findings was that unconscious bias proves a hurdle in female entrepreneur’s business journeys. Unconscious bias is “prejudice” or “social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness”. Notably, of the 500 respondents, more than one third (34 percent) believe they frequently experience unconscious bias. Seventy-six percent believe they have encountered challenges their male counterparts have not. When it comes to having a support system, the survey underlines the importance of having female leaders and mentors. More than 45 percent of respondents said female leadership and mentorship was very important.

“As we continue to champion the Stacy’s Rise Project and founders across the U.S., we’re overjoyed to partner with Hello Sunshine and Reese Witherspoon, whose dedication to empowering female entrepreneurs is inspirational and perfectly aligned with Stacy’s legacy of supporting these women,” said Ciara Dilley, Frito-Lay vice president of marketing. “This is just the beginning of Stacy’s work with Hello Sunshine and Reese to spotlight remarkable founders and continue to build up a community of empowered and supported women.”

This year, Stacy’s will make it easier than ever to discover female-founded businesses nationwide. The brand has established the FoundedByHer business directory, now available at FoundedByHer.org. This directory provides consumers with the ability to search for founders by zip code or category. It also allows founders to register their business to appear in the directory. Doing so will help consumers locate them.

More ways to support women founders

The support doesn’t stop there. Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is on November 19. You can support founders through the FoundedByHer curated gift boxes. Each gift box represents a variety of founders featured in the FoundedByHer.org directory.

Aspiring entrepreneurs and fans can follow along the journey of the Stacy’s Rise Project class of 2021 by following #StacysRiseProject across social media channels.

The Stacy’s Rise Project Class of 2021

Sara Fludd, Founder of Pop Goes The Waffle
  • Pop Goes the Waffle is an innovative waffle company based in St. Petersburg, Fla. The brand makes authentic liege waffle via retail, wholesale and eCommerce.
Samotria Holmes, Founder of Holmes Sweet Home
  • Located in Simpsonville, S.C., Holmes Sweet Home is a specialty food producer. The company cares about ingredient quality and supporting the local economy.
Marsha Stephanson, Founder of Cater to Mom
  • From Pflugerville, Texas, Cater to Mom is a monthly postpartum self-care subscription for new and seasoned moms.
Sue Kakuk, Founder of Kakookies
  • From Minneapolis, Minn., Kakookies are delicious grab-n-go cookies made with real food ingredients and plant-based protein. They provide the nutrition of energy bar with the deliciousness and comfort of a cookie. Kakookies are an ideal snack for travelers, outdoor enthusiasts and busy families.
Jocelyn Ramirez, Founder of Todo Verde
  • Todo Verde is a plant-based Mexican food business based out of East Los Angeles that is creating culturally relevant dishes.
Adrienne Walker, Founder of BlueHenry LLC
  • BlueHenry LLC is a manufacturer of quality all-natural beverage garnishes. They produce dehydrated fruit, simple syrups and rimming salts and sugars that can amplify craft cocktails. The brand is located in Capitol Heights, Md.
Amber Balakian, Founder of Balakian Farms
  • Balakian Farms is a manufacturer of fruit and vegetable CPG products in Reedley, Calif. They currently produce Organic Blended Heirloom Tomatoes.
Alberta Liao, Founder of Jinka
  • From Millbrae, Calif., Jinka is the first vegan tuna spread product in the refrigerated section. Its goal is to provide a clean, healthy, sustainable and delicious tuna alternative.
Julie Butcher, Founder of The Vegan Knife
  • The Vegan Knife is a company that offers a line of allergy friendly and vegan cupcake/cakes and donut mixes. Specifically, all of their baking mixes are gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, soy free, nut free and vegan. It is based in Estero, Fla.
Sajani Amarasiri, Founder of Kola Goodies Inc.
  • Kola Goodies Inc., which makes botanical-rich, yummy, easy, superfood latte blends to boost your energy, mood, immunity and well-being. Made with ingredients sourced directly from South Asian farmer collectives, Kola Goodies is located in San Francisco, Calif.

Survey Methodology

This survey was conducted online in August 2021, among a sample of 500 U.S. female entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs currently own or plan to own a business with the intent of making a profit. Stacy’s Pita Chips commissioned this online survey and conducted by market research company OnePoll, in accordance with the Market Research Society’s code of conduct. All participants are paid an amount depending on the length and complexity of the survey. This survey was overseen and edited by the OnePoll research team, who are members of the MRS and have corporate membership to ESOMAR and AAPOR.

About Stacy’s Snacks

Stacy’s Snacks is one of the many brands that make up Frito-Lay North America, the $17 billion convenient foods division of PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP). Company headquarters are in Purchase, NY. Learn more about Frito-Lay at the corporate website, http://www.fritolay.com/ and on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/fritolay.

About PepsiCo 

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $70 billion in net revenue in 2020, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker, Tropicana and SodaStream. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 23 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales. 

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Convenient Foods and Beverages by Winning with Purpose. “Winning with Purpose” reflects our ambition to win sustainably in the marketplace and embed purpose into all aspects of our business strategy and brands. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com

About Hello Alice

Hello Alice is a free, multichannel platform that helps businesses launch and grow. With a community of nearly 500,000 business owners in all 50 states and across the globe, Hello Alice is building the largest network of owners in the country while tracking data and trends to increase the success rate for entrepreneurs. Our partners include enterprise business services, government agencies, and institutions looking to serve small- and medium-business owners to ensure increased revenues and promote scale. A Latina owned company, founded by Carolyn Rodz and Elizabeth Gore, we believe in business for all by providing access to all owners including women, people of color, veterans and everyone with an entrepreneurial spirit. To learn more, visit www.helloalice.com, as well as TwitterLinkedInInstagram and Facebook.

About Hello Sunshine

Founded by Reese Witherspoon, Hello Sunshine is a media company that puts women at the center of every story it creates, celebrates and discovers. Hello Sunshine tells stories across all platforms – from scripted and unscripted television, feature films, animated series, podcasts, audio storytelling and digital series – all shining a light on where women are now and helping them chart a new path forward.

Hello Sunshine is also home to Reese’s Book Club and the newly launched RBC App. Fast growing in reach and influence, this community aims for meaningful connections with stories, authors and fellow members. Recently Hello Sunshine acquired Sara Rea‘s SKR Production to expand its unscripted content and also announced the launch of their Kids & Animation Division to create content that celebrates a younger audience. Fast Company Magazine named Hello Sunshine the #2 Most Innovative Company in Media for 2020. It was also among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Companies of 2021.

Read about Hello Sunshine’s recent majority investment from a newly formed media company.