“The data was shocking and made us stop and think about how we could shift this reality; be a part of the change that we wanted to see,” says Devaunshi Mahadevia, director of global marketing & innovation for SunChips/Sunbites and global lead on WomanMade at PepsiCo. In an attempt to harness their collective passion around this area, they convened a three-day meeting in 2019 to figure out how PepsiCo could do even more to closing the gender investment gap.
Their solution was WomanMade, an initiative that unites PepsiCo’s efforts to support the economic empowerment of women. “We saw this as an opportunity to positively impact the lives of women in the food system: from female farmers to women in supply chain to female entrepreneurs who are launching their own food and beverage businesses,” says Mahadevia. “The efforts would be widespread, and in partnership with PEP Foundation, supplier diversity, procurement, venturing and brands, among others.”
To directly address that 2% statistic, they wanted to expand on Stacy’s Rise, but that would lead to something much, much bigger.
Building on Stacy’s Rise
“At the meeting, we spent a lot of the time talking about how to expand the Stacy’s Rise project as part of WomanMade,” says Lucie DuFour, associate marketing manager, Stacy’s Rise Project. “And we decided to launch the first-ever Rise Project Mentorship Program, which is essentially an accelerator program for female-founded small businesses.”