Grant – Pepper

$5K Startup Grant for Black Women

Click here for application. Apply by August 20.


We're small, but hope to make a big impact. We took $5,000 out of our savings to turn the initial idea of Pepper into a successfully funded Kickstarter project. Rather than adopting a growth-at-all-costs mentality that usually requires raising VC capital from the very beginning, we bootstrapped for as long as possible so we could grow our community the way we wanted. We now want to give that $5,000 back every year in the form of a free grant. In addition to this financial grant, we are also committed to providing access to our own networks and mentorship opportunities.

Pepper was inspired by a passion to change industry standards for women who are overlooked in the bra industry, now we want to help underrepresented entrepreneurs to kick start their business, in their own way.



One recipient will receive a $5K grant and the following benefits:

  • Monthly mentorship calls with the founders of Pepper
  • Dedicated promotion on Pepper’s social media accounts
  • Access to consultations with experts in legal, fundraising, finance, marketing, and relevant fields as needed

We’re excited to partner with Startup Girl Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit venture capital fund investing in female founders to administer the grant.


Find out if you're eligible:

Business in any industry

At least 51% of the business must be owned, controlled or operated and managed by Black or African-American, female or non-binary identifying owner(s)

At least 18 years old

U.S resident, and your business must have U.S legal entity

Early stage business with less than $500K in external equity financing raised


Applications close on August 19, 2020 11:59pm MT. Three finalists will be announced by September 1, 2020 via email. Finalists will be asked to submit a short video that will be used to select the winner and will be promoted on Pepper's social media accounts.



For more information please email

How many grants will be awarded? One grant will be awarded per year

Do I have to pay back the grant? Nope!

When is the deadline to apply? August 19, 2020 11:59pm MT.

Are there requirements for how recipients need to spend the funds? No, as long as it's business related

What is the selection proccess? Our selection committee consists of Pepper founders Jaclyn Fu and Lia Winograd, and Startup Girl Foundation founder Shilpa Yarlagadda. The selection committee will select three finalists by September 1, 2020. Finalists will be asked to submit a short video that will be used to select the final grant recipient winner.

What is the selection criteria? The committee reviews all applications submitted within the period and judges each application based on the following criteria: Demonstrates passion and creativity for solving the specific problem (40%) Demostrates viable business opportunity with clear plans (30%) Demonstrates financial need (20%) Ability for Pepper to support and add value (10%)

Will my competitive business and financial information be kept confidential? Definitely! Your application will only be seen by the selection committee.

What will benefits with recipients receive in addition to the financial grant? Grant recipients can also receive introductions to relevant funding opportunities, including being presented to the Startup Girl Foundation investment team, workshops and consultations with experts in various fields as needed such as PR, legal, finance, customer service etc, monthly mentorship calls with Pepper founders, promotion on Pepper’s social media accounts.

What is Startup Girl Foundation? Pepper is working with Startup Girl Foundation, a 501(c)(3) entity, to administer the grant. Startup Girl Foundation is a nonprofit venture capital fund investing in female founders through profits from Shiffon Co. Startup Girl Foundation's founder, Shilpa Yarlagadda, was also Pepper’s first female investor!

Where can I find the official terms and conditions?

Where can I find the application?