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The Lillie Knox Investment Award is a cash prize of up to $20,000, exclusively available to WBCS Women's Business Enterprises, to help further business growth. Current members, in good standing, are welcome to apply annually for consideration.
New in 2023, the application process includes a pitch!
The first round includes a written application that asks the applicant to:
- Share how certification and WBCS has impacted their business.
- Identify a need that, if met, would support the growth of their business.
- Provide an itemized budget of their funding request.
- Address how they are financially contributing to their business need.
The second round invites the top 10 applicants to pitch live to the judges panel and have a Q&A with the judges at our Harvesting Partnerships event on Friday, November 10 in Hurst, TX. The pitch must be 2 minutes or less in length, be compelling, and address the above four points from the written application. The judges will deliberate and announce the recipients live during the luncheon portion of the event. The recipients then get to share their 2-minute pitch with the full event audience.
View our 2023 Live FAQ Session for more tips from the selection committee:
Because WBEs provide services across a range of industries and are at different stages in their business development, the investment award can be utilized for myriad purposes and the amount requested can be any amount up to $20,000.
The Lillie Knox Investment Award is funded solely by member donations. The number of awards distributed and the amount of each award is determined by the total fund available as well as the merits of requests in each application.
Lillie Knox was a vital part of the history and current success of the Women's Business Council - Southwest (WBCS) and the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). The Lillie Knox Investment Award was established in 2005 to memorialize Lillie for her support of Women's Business Enterprises (WBEs) through her commitment, passion, and determination to increase opportunities for female entrepreneurs.
Questions? Contact VP of Operations & Strategy, Lindsay Pittard.
Learn about our 2022 winners:
- Recipient(s) must be a current WBCS WBE in good standing
- The application must be completed by the owner of the certified business
- WBEs who have received a Lillie Knox Investment Award in the past are ineligible to submit an application for a period of two years following receipt of the award
Thank you for considering a donation to the Lillie Knox Investment Award Fund. One hundred percent of your donation will go directly to the Fund. Please note that donations are not considered a charitable contribution. Click the button below to securely make a donation using a major credit card.
What is the application process?
The 2023 application cycle is Monday, August 14 - Thursday, August 31.
August 14 - 31
Applicants complete the written application
Top 10 are identified and all applicants are informed of status
November 10, morning
Top 10 pitch live to judges and do a Q&A with them during our Harvesting Partnerships event in Hurst, TX
November 10, afternoon
Recipients are announced and get to share their pitch in front of the full audience at our Harvesting Partnerships event in Hurst, TX
Who can apply?
Any Women's Business Council - Southwest Women's Business Enterprise member in good standing, who has not won this award within the last two years, can apply.
When is the application deadline?
The deadline to apply is Thursday, August 31 at 11:59pm CST.
How many awards are given each year?
There is no set number of awards given. The awards are fully funded by donations, so it depends on the total fund available as well as the merits of requests in each application and the strength of the pitch presentations.
How is the award amount determined?
The award amount is determined by the merits of requests in each application and the strength of each pitch presentation.
Who selects the recipients?
The selection committee is made up of WBCS past board chairs, the current board chair, and the WBCS President & CEO.
Are there any restrictions on funding requests?
Yes, generally only a one-time expense with a long-term impact that increases the company's competitive advantage (like website enhancements, new software, equipment, licenses, etc.) is funded as opposed to an on-going or operational expense (like salary, rent, event attendance, education, etc.). Also, you must outline how you plan to use the funds in the application.
Do I have to report on how the money is used?
Yes, but not a formal report. We simply want to know what you purchased with the award and how it has impacted your business. We use this information in promotional materials.
When will the recipients be notified and announced?
The top 10 will be notified by October 6 and the recipients will be announced publicly during our Harvesting Partnerships event on Friday, November 10 in Hurst, TX.
What if I can't attend Harvesting Partnerships?
By submitting an application, you agree to be present at Harvesting Partnerships.
If I won last year, can I apply this year?
You must wait for a period of two years before applying again.
If I'm newly certified, am I eligible for the award?
Yes! The length of your certification does not impact your eligibility. How you've utilized your certification and the WBENC network (attending events, networking, sponsoring, etc.) is what is considered.
If I receive an award, will my award amount be publicized?
Yes, it will be publicized as part of the award announcement.
What is the evaluation criteria?
For the written application, you must:
- Demonstrate with quantitative data and context how funding your request will lead to business growth.
- Ask for funding for a one-time expense.
- Share how you've financially contributed to your business need already.
- Share how you've utilized certification and WBCS resources.
While not required, an application can be strengthened by indicating how you could collaborate with fellow WBEs as a result of the award.
For the live pitch, you must address the above criteria in two minutes or less and in a compelling way.
How can I best prepare?
- Incorporate the above criteria into your application.
- Review tips to strengthen your application.
- Watch the recording above of the live virtual FAQ session.