Three $20,000 grants for digital media startups by female entrepreneurs

By Ashley Crockett

The 2011 grant winners with IWMF board members.
(Left to right - Maria Balinska, Liza Gross, Gene Robinson, Julia
Reischel, Lissa Harris and Jeanne Pinder) Photo by Anthony Tilghman

Are you a woman? Do you have a great idea that would be a great contribution to digital news media? 

If you answered yes to both questions, then consider this: the International Women's Media Foundation is offering three grants, each worth $20,000, to female journalists looking to advance their digital media startups.

This is the second year for the Women Entrepreneurs in the Digital News Frontier grant program, which aims to "(diversify) the digital news media landscape by expanding the voice and role of women entrepreneurs." As a woman studying convergence journalism and serving as the ONA Mizzou president, I was happy to learn about these grants. The smile on my face, however, quickly subsided as a Google search revealed that Mediabistro is the only outlet reporting it. One would think that such generous grants for an increasingly competitive field would garner more attention.

Even though these grants were first offered last year, the IWMF had more than 100 applications. Hopefully, the IWMF receives just as many proposals, if not more, for the grants' second year.

Last year's winners were Jeanne Pinder (ClearHealthCosts), Maria Balinska (News LatitudeJulia Reischel and Lissa Harris (both of NewsShed). 

The Foundation offers these grants, which are funded by the Ford Foundation, to encourage women to take a more active part in the digital news realm:

"Limited access to credit and training, coupled with cultural stereotypes and outdated perceptions, threaten women's full participation as entrepreneurs in the digital media. Men currently receive 95 percent of all venture capital funds and almost 75 percent of training in starting a business." (Source)

Applications are due March 2, 2012. More information is available on the IWMF website.

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