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Johnnie Walker backs female leaders

Diageo-owned Johnnie Walker is aiming to give US$1 million in grants by 2030 to support women-owned businesses as part of its First Strides Initiative.

Johnnie Walker
Johnnie Walker has teamed up with Canadian comedian Lilly Singh (pictured centre)

The blended Scotch whisky brand has teamed up with organisations I Fund Women and She Should Run to help support female entrepreneurs.

Together with I Fund Women, Johnnie Walker is supporting the organisation’s mission to close the funding gap, with a goal of reaching US$1m in grants for female-led businesses by 2030.

The partnership will offer select entrepreneurs money through grants, as well as access to coaching and connections through the I Fund Women platform.

She Should Run aims to inspire 250,000 women to take their first strides toward public leadership by 2030, and will be supported by funds donated by Johnnie Walker.

The collaborations are part of the next phase of Johnnie Walker’s First Strides initiative to help close the gender gap in leadership. The initiative, introduced earlier this year, is an ‘evolution’ of the brand’s First Women campaign.

First Strides aims to provide funding and mentoring to female entrepreneurs and leaders across the public and private sectors.

“Johnnie Walker is committed to celebrating and enabling bold first strides that open the door for seconds and thirds to follow,” said Sophie Kelly, senior vice-president of whiskies at Diageo North America.

“We are proud to support the meaningful work of partners I Fund Women, She Should Run, Black Girl Ventures and the ERA Coalition, among others, and we hope to help them achieve their goals in creating positive change.”

In addition, Johnnie Walker has partnered with writer, actor and gender equity advocate Lilly Singh as part of its goal to accelerate women in leadership. The Canadian comedian has produced original content to raise awareness of First Strides.

“I am thrilled to work with Johnnie Walker on this important effort,” said Singh. “We have to make space for more women in leadership roles. We often talk about the importance of having a seat at the table.

“Well, right now there is only one woman at the table for every three men – even though gender diverse teams perform better, are more innovative and more profitable. In other words, it pays to let women lead.

“We need to build a future where women have more equitable access and opportunities, and where we are all seated as equals.”

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