When PepsiCo bought Stacy’s Pita Chips in 2005, the brand was worth $65 million. You’d never guess that its founder, Stacy Madison, had to use her credit cards and a loan from her parents to get the brand off the ground. Like so many female entrepreneurs, Stacy found that banks and venture capital firms weren’t willing to invest in a woman’s business.
PepsiCo launched the Stacy’s Rise Project to level the playing field and help women like Stacy in the culinary world. By raising money through corporate grants and the sale of limited-edition pita chip bags, Stacy’s Rise was able to send budding female chefs to the International Culinary Center and fund female empowerment initiatives. And the project just kept growing (see timeline below).
But it was just a drop in the bag, so to speak. In 2018, data collected by Pitchbook showed that only 2% of venture capital funding went to female-founded businesses and only 0.2% went to female founders of color.