Applications for the 2022 Lillie Knox Investment Awards are open August 1st - 15th! Apply here!

Each year the Women’s Business Council – Southwest gives away cash awards of up to $20,000 via the Lillie Knox Investment Awards to support the business growth of WBEs within our region. The awards are available exclusively to WBCS members – any current member in good standing is eligible to apply, regardless of company size or revenue! The application consists of these questions:

  1. How has WBE certification benefited your business? Please provide examples of how WBCS opportunities and resources are utilized by your company (i.e. sponsorship, event participation, committee participation, etc.).
  2. What is your business need?
  3. How will funding your business need support the growth of your business?
  4. What is the total amount you request?
  5. Provide an itemized budget of your request.
  6. How much are you financially contributing toward your business need? 

The winners are decided by a selection committee of WBCS past board chairs, the current board chair, and the WBCS President & CEO. Read below for some tips on how to make sure your application is complete and stands out this year:

  1. Provide context for your request clearly and concisely.  Assume the reader isn't aware of what's going on in your business or marketplace. However, sometimes less is more. Show that your idea is well thought out without being overly wordy or using complicated industry jargon. Do be sure to provide all required information – including the amount of funding requested and a breakout of how the funds will be used. 
  2. Ask for a defined amount of money.  The Lillie Knox Investment Awards were created with the purpose of funding specific needs to further business growth. In the past, we've given out awards ranging from $2,500 to $15,000. Ask for the amount needed for your request, give specifics on the reason for that amount, and justify how it will be used. If the award will not cover the entire cost, explain where the remainder of the funding will come from. *note - in general, the awards are given for one-time expenses, and not for costs related to ongoing expenses such as salaries, rent, or education costs.
  3. Tell us how certification has helped you.  For the first question, we want to hear how your certification and involvement with WBCS benefits your business – regardless if you’ve been certified 6 months or 6 years.  How do you plan to use your certification in the upcoming year?
  4. Show off your collaboration.  WBCS is all about supporting women-owned businesses! Will you be working with a fellow member? Hiring another WBE as a result of the award? Will the result of your growth have a positive impact on women in your community?  
  5. Proofread, proofread, proofread.  Check it yourself, then step away and have a friend or coworker read it too. Correct grammar and spelling help make the best first impression.   
     

Some general examples of using funding to grow your business:

  • Buying a piece of machinery that will allow you to bid on larger contracts
  • Using the funds to purchase licenses to do business in new states
  • Purchasing a piece of software that will allow you to scale manufacturing for your business

Learn about our 2021 winners

Good luck to all 2022 applicants!