- 10 February 2022
- Posted by: Canberra Innovation Network
- Categories: Coworking, General News, Women in Innovation
YWCA Canberra know that from little things, big things can grow, so they’re thrilled to be funding their Great Ydeas Small Grants Program for 2022, with an additional grant on offer from local inspiration, Serina Bird.
A veteran supporter of YWCA, Ms Bird is “delighted” to donate a new grant this year aiming to assist women or non-binary people who are passionate about building a start-up or heart-centred business.
“It’s so delightful to be able to provide a grant this year. I wasn’t quite sure if it was going to happen, and I think they thought I was crazy for wanting to offer it, but getting the grant money last year was just the validation and push I needed as a woman,” Ms Bird said.
She has decided to fund that same grant this year that she was awarded in 2021. Ms Bird is well known locally and nationally as ‘The Joyful Frugalista’ with her highly successful book of the same name, her podcast, Business Club, and blog.
“Women suffer so much impostor syndrome. Well, everyone does, but women in particular do because of societal and historical reasons. We tend to crave that validation for our crazy ideas,” she smiled.
“Once you pitch your idea, it’s out there, and when someone says it’s a winner, it’s such a great feeling. I want to pass that onto another woman or girl with this grant, and then they’ll go forth and do what they want to do in the world!”
Ms Bird credits some of her success to the wonderful community she became a part of after winning the grant last year.
In a pragmatic sense, winning created a certain amount of media attention that really helped get her projects out in the open, she said.
“I’m now part of a WhatsApp group with other winners,” Ms Bird smiled. “It’s really been a significant thing for me.
“This grant will help people get over the line, and with seeing the start of the ‘great resignation’ in the US, people are wanting to choose a life aligned with their true purpose, not just paying the bills. Women have ideas that will help other people and the environment but are just not sure how to take it forward or don’t have enough funds, so that’s why initiatives like this grant really do help.”
Ms Bird is adding another venture to her brand in April with the launch of her new book, The Joyful Start-up Guide, which is one of her passion projects.
“I’m very passionate about women entrepreneurs – it’s integral to what I do,” she said.
“Women tend to self-censor and think their ideas are not worth it, so these micro grants are less daunting for them. All the research points to women in start-ups struggling at the beginning stage with taking on a massive loan, so these types of grants are just so significant.”
As well as taking on being a grant donor, Ms Bird has been working with the YWCA for many years, and leases out a property through Rentwell, which is another significant issue she feels strongly about.
“I’m really passionate about affordable housing and helping people get through difficult times in their lives. Through my podcast and my book, I’ve met so many women who have made me realise how big of an issue homelessness for older women really is, so it’s lovely to be able to pay things forward … I’ve been saying that a lot, but I am very blessed,” she smiled.
“Everyone has had challenges, and especially with COVID, so the more you pay your blessings forward, the more you get back in return.”
YWCA Canberra CEO, Frances Crimmins, is thrilled to have the additional targeted grants this year to add to the $10,000 already available through their own funding. Ms Crimmins thanked all the corporate partners that have answered the call for support.
“We are proud to have Beyond Bank and the Canberra Innovation Network joining us again in 2022 to demonstrate the social impact we can have when corporate and community organisations connect,” she said.
“Since our Great Ydeas program began in 2010, it’s helped more than 80 local women and girls to progress their projects including establishing a podcast, launching a public awareness campaign, running empowering programs for girls, attending a conference, and launching a social enterprise.”
The inspiring group of 2021 recipients have been contributing to the local community by launching a sustainable fashion online store, developing a response toolkit for sexual violence survivors and their supporters, and creating an online directory of women-run businesses in Canberra.
Individual grants of up to $2,500 are available from a total pool of $16,000, and applications close on 13 March.
If you’d like to find out more about what the previous recipients are up to or ask questions about the grant, check out the YWCA Canberra’s online information session on 17 February.
Visit ywca-canberra.org.au/get-involved/great-ydeas to get involved or apply.
Article published by Canberra Weekly.