First Class of Stacy’s Rise Project Scholarship Recipients Receive Mentorship To Help Break through Male-Dominated Field
Something is still missing from the highest ranks of food-related businesses across the U.S. — women. At a time when only 21 percent of all chefs and executive chefs are female, Stacy’s Snacks launched the Stacy’s Rise Project with the goal of advancing women in the culinary industry. Here’s the newest female entrepreneurs to take part in their initiative.
Stacy’s celebrated the inaugural class of Stacy’s Rise Project scholarship recipients with a professional development day hosted at the renowned International Culinary Center (ICC) in New York City. The day provided the newest female entrepreneurs business advice, tools and support to continue to break through some of the toughest barriers to women in any field.
“Stacy’s is committed to empowering the next generation of female culinary leaders to pursue their dreams, and is thrilled to celebrate the first class of Stacy’s Scholarship for Female Culinary Leaders recipients,” said Stuart Beck, senior director of marketing, Stacy’s Snacks. “Each of these women has developed impressive business plans that we are proud to be able to support – and ultimately be a part of advancing the number of women entrepreneurs in the U.S.”
The Stacy’s Rise Project was born out of Stacy’s roots as a brand founded by female entrepreneur Stacy Madison, who started by baking pita bread into fresh chips each day to give her customers waiting in line at her Boston food cart. Customers loved the simple but delicious chips so much that they encouraged her to start her own brand and today they are America’s favorite pita chip. Launched earlier this year, the Stacy’s Rise Project helps female culinary entrepreneur hopefuls pursue their business endeavors through scholarship, mentorship and thought leadership. In September, Stacy’s awarded $40,000 in scholarships and stipends to four women entering the Culinary Entrepreneurship Program at ICC. Recipients participated in the six-week entrepreneurship program that demystifies the start-up process and guides them through the steps of business planning in an immersive, mentorship-driven environment.
Future culinary luminaries: the inaugural scholarship class
This year’s scholarship recipients include promising and inspiring female entrepreneurs whose business plans may differ, but share a common passion for food and hospitality.
- Raven Rivera was born and raised on Long Island in Bay Shore, N.Y. Although equipped with a Master of Arts in television, Raven had a dream to one day be a restaurateur. Stacy’s Rise Project and ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship Program have helped her follow her dream. She is embracing her family’s roots and is opening a Puerto Rican restaurant that families, friends and the surrounding community can enjoy.
- Kiki Canuto is a trilingual world traveler from Massachusetts who would like to create connections and cultivate fulfillment through the food she serves. She is the owner of The Getaway Plate, which provides families with in-home meal prep in the Greater Boston-area. Kiki’s zest for life is contagious and she is passionate about simplifying the lives of families who are very busy, but also value enjoying a meal together at the end of the day. With the tools she gained from ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship Program, she hopes to soon expand her services to Southern California.
- Eunice Giarta is a Californian-turned-New Yorker. Having previously studied engineering and working in software, she found her passion in a different type of challenge—not in an office, but in a kitchen where she pursued further education in pastry arts. She enjoys the methodical, precise and special art of baking and loves sharing the fruits of her labor with others. Eunice plans to leverage the business plan and mentorship advice she received through the Stacy’s Rise Project and ICC’s Culinary Entrepreneurship Program to open a dessert bar in Chicago where she can share her cultural background and love of pastry by merging Asian-inspired flavors and French-pastry techniques.
- Jane Deegan hails from Manhattan, New York. Baking also holds a special place in her heart, as the art has helped Janie find her light, beauty and inspiration after struggling with homelessness and addiction growing up. Janie aspires to open a bakery and café that serves light food and specializes in delicious baked goods that are a creative, modern twist on American classics. A dream that would be far more difficult to achieve without the financial support of the Stacy’s Rise Project and the advanced culinary business education from ICC. Her most notable product thus far is her Pie Crust Cookie, which has already gained attention from top food industry experts. She currently operates an online business named Janie Bakes.
Stacy’s and ICC will continue the work of the Stacy’s Rise Project next year, awarding $60,000 in scholarships and stipends to future female entrepreneurs. Visit stacyssnacks.com/riseproject to learn more about Stacy’s Rise Project, scholarship opportunities, and the brand’s commitment to supporting women.