The Inspiration Lab is a soft place to land and a strong place to launch for women from all walks of life. At least 20% of our supporters are small business owners. In an effort to help these women feel the comfort of a soft landing or the boost of a strong launch during this difficult time, we are launching a micro-grant program.



Recent national polls by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Glassdoor indicate women are feeling the weight, anxiety, and disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately more than men. Yet in the 2019 North Carolina Small Business Handbook published by the Small Business Technology and Development Center in Raleigh, the power of women-owned businesses was clear. In the years between 2007 and 2018, women-owned businesses surged 58%(!) while all businesses increased 12%. Women also saw their employment rise 21% while other businesses declined at .08%. Total revenue for women-owned businesses jumped 46% while other businesses increased 36%.  These numbers are even more astounding when you consider that data shows women struggle more to find access to capital and strong mentors than their male peers. In short, if you want to invest in our economy, in the areas where it is truly growing, it’s smart to invest in women-owned businesses. And there’s never been a more critical time to do so. 


The Inspiration Lab’s Land & Launch Fund, a micro-grant program, is our way of saying very important things to women who own small businesses during this global crisis. Like: First off, we need you — now more than ever, your hard work, your ability to create jobs, and your can-do attitude is needed. Second, we see you — your dream, all those extra hours, all those times you didn’t pay yourself… your sacrifices matter! Third, this is a tiny way to bring you relief and even more hope. Consider this grant our way of saying we’re betting on you. We believe at The Inspiration Lab we should create the things we wish existed and nothing embodies that idea more than starting your own business. 


Each micro-grant recipient will be welcome to join our Small Business Squad, a group of women within The Inspi Lab who own small businesses and are on this same challenging, thrilling, exhausting, and wonderful entrepreneurial journey.  If you want to know more about our Small Business Squad, click here.

Who It's For

Small business owners who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and need immediate cash flow in order to keep their business open, their household running, etc. Our micro-grants are gifts — they are not loans and never have to be repaid.

What It Can Do

Aside from offering financial relief to women in need, your generous donation will give something equal in measure: hope. Hope that there is a bright light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. Hope that, during any hardship, there will always be a soft place to land or launch and other women cheering on the road to success.

How You Can Help

Anyone with a generous heart can donate to the Land & Launch Fund through GoFundMe.

Have a Question? We've Got an Answer!

How does the Land & Launch Fund work?

Inspiration Lab members, friends, and anyone with a generous heart can donate to the fund through GoFundMe. Monies raised will be used to distribute micro-grants of up to $500 to qualifying applicants.

How is this program different from other philanthropic opportunities?

We know there are countless places to give your hard-earned dollars during this global crisis. This Land & Launch Fund is a unique opportunity for five distinct reasons. 1. Small business owners can request grants to help with personal or professional expenses. At The Inspiration Lab, we believe you bring your whole self to work and your whole self home. Therefore, we want to support the whole woman’s life during this extraordinary time. 2. There is no red tape — at all. To be considered for a grant, small business owners (or their nominators) only need to fill out a confidential one-page application. We recognize discretion is paramount for business owners who want to keep their level of need private. Applicants will not be required to supply receipts or invoices, although they are welcome to do so if they desire. We are here to love and support, not police and regulate. 3. Once a week, Inspiration Lab founder Stephanie Lanier will evaluate the submitted applications and fund as many grants as possible based on the money available via GoFundMe. Our Membership Manager, Lisa Barrett, will administer the funds. Grant recipients will receive their funds in the mail via check, along with a note of encouragement from our members, in a timely manner. 4. Unlike very restrictive grants and loans, we are open to virtually any reasonable grant request — from help with vendor bills to money to purchase PPE that might be required to reopen their doors, funds to pay personal medical bills, help with rent for an office or home mortgage, financial assistance with payroll or with health insurance costs, etc. If there is a need we can meet, we will. 5. In addition to meeting their immediate needs, we wanted to offer our grant recipients something for the long haul too… the gift of community. Along with the check and notes of encouragement, grant recipients who are not already Inspiration Lab members will be given an invitation for a free basic membership for the rest of 2020 (hundreds of dollars in value), which gives them unlimited access to our entire tribe of more than 300 women and, most importantly, the opportunity to be a part of our Small Business Squad.

Will donors know who receives the funds?

Micro-grant recipients will remain anonymous beyond Inspiration Lab Founder Stephanie Lanier and Membership Manager Lisa Barrett. However, members and donors will receive a weekly email update on the grant amounts we have given, making sure we take special care to protect confidentiality.

Do you have to be an Inspiration Lab member to receive funding?

If funds remain after meeting the needs of eligible Inspi Lab members, we will evaluate applications from non-members who are women small business owners in need in Southeastern North Carolina and then, funds permitting, beyond the region.

I’m not in a place to give monetarily. How else can I help?

While every bit helps — even just $5! — we understand not everyone is in the position to give monetarily. The good news? You can still help in a huge way! Share this page on social media, text it to a friend, email it to family. We want to get the word out in a big way to make an impact on as many lives as possible.