WEL Enterprise receives $25,000 in funding from Bad Girl Ventures


On Dec. 6, the fall Bad Girl Ventures LAUNCH class graduated, with WEL Enterprise taking home $25,000 in funding.
 
“All the money is going entirely towards my pilot project, which has a total cost of $100,000,” said Katrina Eckard, CEO of WEL Enterprise. “So now I will be pursuing other funds to complete the total, then I will be able to immediately build the first WEL system for wastewater treatment and reclamation of its kind. I have an incredible team of experts in place who have been working with me in my research and development over that past couple of years so we are ready to go!”
 
BGV Executive Director Nancy Aichholz said that the selection committee faced a difficult decision in choosing a winner from the cohort but expressed her confidence in the entire class to secure capital and move forward with their businesses.

Douglas Craven, director of corporate advancement for the Economic Community Development Institute, who served on the selection committee, said that ECDI will offer financing to another cohort member, Chica Sport.
 
“We plan to utilize the funding from ECDI to dramatically increase our inventory of our flagship product, the Seat Hero, in order to grow our retail partnerships, as well as open our own retail space for all of our athletic accessories,” said Meredith Finn, president and owner of Chica Sport. “Thanks to BGV and ECDI, Chica Sport is ready for our next big step.”
 
The graduation event, which was held at Rhinegeist, was the culmination of a big year for BGV, starting with the implementation of its new curriculum: EXPLORE, LAUNCH and GROW. The organization also moved into its new office space in Covington, and held its first open-to-the-public pitch night in November.
 
“We expected 50 people, and we had over 80 in attendance from the startup and business community from both sides of the river,” said Angela Ozar, BGV program manager. “It was a strategic move for BGV going forward, and was great exposure for the cohort to gain recognition and connections from our network." 
 
The LAUNCH accelerator program focuses on established, women-owned businesses that are looking to expand. The fall 2016 cohort included Chica Sport, Cinfully Sweet, Dry Moon Pillowcases, SecondNurture and WEL Enterprise. BGV is accepting applications for the next LAUNCH class through Feb. 10.
 
“I learned so much that I am able to apply to my business right away and in the future,” Finn said. “I know I am part of the BGV family, and with that comes an invaluable network of fellow women entrepreneurs.”
 
LAUNCH cohort member Debra Mooney of Dry Moon Pillowcases completed the EXPLORE program earlier this year, and is helping BGV with the GROW program that will begin next year.
 
“BGV is as much about process as it is content,” Mooney said. “The network of motivated, energetic, creative, diverse and supportive women is terrific.”
 
Mooney is using her LAUNCH experience to move her product into local retail locations, supplementing her online operation. She will facilitate a GROW seminar, Entreleadership, Mastery and Moxie, on Jan. 18 at BGV’s Mentor Avenue offices.
 
"Our GROW program is designed to help all entrepreneurs further their knowledge and skills to grow their business,” Ozar said. “The program will feature a la carte monthly workshops on a topic relevant to entrepreneurs.”
 
The first BGV GROW workshop, a partnership with VonLehman CPA & Advisory Firm, takes place Feb. 14 on HR & Risk Management, registration is required. The next EXPLORE class will begin in the spring.
 

Read more articles by Julie Carpenter.

Julie Carpenter is a jack-of-all-trades with a background in cultural heritage tourism, museums and nonprofit organizations. She's a bit obsessed with the built environment and irregularly shares her musings on architecture, urban planning and city life on Facebook and Twitter (@StrawStickBrick).
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