Women entrepreneurs in Montana will now have a cause to smile as the University of Montana startup incubator MonTEC receives an $850,000 Google Impact grant.
MonTEC will use the money to support women who want to start or grow a business in Montana.
The grant will also help them in other areas like writing a business plan and applying for loans.
“Women of color, in particular, are incredibly underrepresented in business and leadership roles,” said Morgan Slemberger, director of Women’s Entrepreneurship & Leadership at the University of Montana.
Slemberger said the grant would “supplement the existing strength of Indigenous women by providing them with culturally empowering online courses.”
MonTEC is partnering with two community colleges in Montana, Salish Kootenai College and Blackfeet Community College, to develop online programs to support women-owned businesses.
Tech giant Google said the “Native Women Launch” project provides online courses on business ownership and personal finance.
Thirty-four organizations from various parts of the world, including women-focused startups South Africa’s The Q Network, Kenya’s Buildher, and New York City’s Girls Inc., received funding as part of the Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls, 2021.
The groups were evaluated based on the following criteria: innovation, impact, feasibility, and scalability.
The funding is expected to promote gender equity and improve women’s economic outcomes.
“Every woman we help touches multiple generations and family members: their children, their husbands, their aunties,” Rachel Andrews-Gould, dean of the Salish Kootenai College Business Division, said. “It will make generational differences.”
Andrews-Gould said the college would develop personal finance, tax, marketing, business, and self-care programs for Indigenous women, hoping that the impact would reach far beyond them.
In March, Google announced $25 million in grants for nonprofits and social enterprises to empower women and girls.
“Whatever these teams need, we are going to be alongside them and help carry out their vision,” Jacquelline Fuller, President of Google.org, said during the launch on this year’s International Women’s Day.
Applications from teams worldwide closed on April 9.
The Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls is a $25 million fund for organizations committed to empowering women and girls.
Selected projects would receive up to $2 million, mentorship opportunities, and more support from Google.
MonTEC is a “high-growth, technology-focused business incubator.” It connects people on the Clark Fork River and links them up with support services to help them run a successful business.