Application call-out for business grants

Thorold-based fashion wholesaler and retailer Shannon Passero is seeking applications in a special awards program.

The Shannon Passero Women’s Business Grant awards two, $12,500 grants to women entrepreneurs.

Now its second year, the program is aimed at supporting fully women-owned, Ontario-based businesses.

Candidates must combine principles of social consciousness, sustainability, and innovation in creating new businesses or invigorate existing ones.

“Now that I’m in my 16th year in business, I think my responsibility as a woman entrepreneur is to encourage other businesswomen to have this support,” Passero said.

“And we’re excited that this year, so far we probably have three times the applicants as last time.”

The deadline is Oct. 15 and applicants must have been in business at least three years, have a solid business plan and strategy for long-term growth.

They must also be based in Ontario, with preference given to Niagara businesses or those that supply to the region. For-profit businesses and non-profit hybrids, or social enterprises, are eligible for the grant.

For more information and further criteria, visit click on “about” and link to “grants”.

Last year’s winners included St. Catharines resident Lori Elstone for her Provisions Food Company.

Provision’s core business is to connect with Niagara wineries to supply speciality, non-wine food products to complement wines and add to the retail shopping experience.

The other grant winner was Alyssa Kerbel from “mini mioche,” a Toronto infant and toddler clothing company.

Passero said she has collaborated with both award winners in many different events since then.

“I have been able to be not just be in a mentoring situation, (or) where I just give them money,” she said.

“We’ve been able to partner business-wise in a couple of things … it’s really been a great experience.”

Semi-finalists will be contacted for additional information between Oct. 1 and Nov 1. and the winners will be announced Dec. 1.

By Don Fraser – Tuesday, September 16, 2014