Mississauga, Oakville entrepreneurs receive grant from Visa Canada

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Published May 9, 2022 at 1:46 pm

Mississauga's Seema Sanghavi and her Cook Who Feed Inc. business is one of 10 recipients named in the third round of Visa Canada's She's Next Grant Program. COOK WHO FEED INC. PHOTO

A trio of women entrepreneurs and their Oakville and Mississauga businesses are getting a financial boost from Visa Canada to help grow and expand.

Mississauga’s Cook Who Feed Inc., led by founder Seema Sanghavi, and Oakville’s Sitti Social Enterprise, led by co-founders Noora Sharrab (pictured below on left) and Jacqueline Sofia (pictured below on right), are two of the 10 recipients named Monday (May 9) in the third round of Visa’s She’s Next Grant Program in Canada.

The program supports women entrepreneurship, empowering growth and innovation through a grant of $10,000 and one-year of business coaching in partnership with IFundWomen.

The 10 recipients of the program span diverse industries from fashion, beauty and wellness to education and social services, each with unique offerings.

Cooks Who Feed is a social enterprise, uniting food lovers to end hunger. The company ethically produces kitchen textiles with a give-back model, providing meals to alleviate hunger.

Their flagship product, their handcrafted aprons, provides 100 meals for every apron sold. All their textiles are handmade in India where they provide safe, fair trade work to marginalized women.

Sitti, which means “my grandmother” in Arabic, is a conscious lifestyle brand committed to the self-reliance of refugee and displaced communities through long-term employment opportunities and skill development training, empowered by an inclusive global economy.

Both recipients will gain access to funding, coaching, and connections to help expand their businesses.

Support that is much-needed as small businesses come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some 45 per cent of Canadian businesses (according to Maru Canada BizPulse Q4 2021) continue to need some form of financing.

“Women entrepreneurs deserve the funding and support needed to allow their businesses to flourish,” said Stacey Madge, president and country manager, Visa Canada. “Women-led businesses were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, and we hope our continued support will help build on the growing optimism we are seeing. This year’s recipients continue to embody the creativity, perseverance and perspective required of successful small business owners.

“In addition to being innovators and job creators in their own right, they are truly an inspirational and diverse group of women who represent the backbone of our economy.”

Since the start of 2020, Visa has awarded over US$1.6 million dollars in grants and coaching memberships to women across the globe through its She’s Next Grant Program.

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