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Our Great Ydeas Grant winner, Rae Knopik, is changing the game for local women in business

Photo of Rae Knopik outside in a CBR Gals branded t-shirt

You know the We Can Do It! WWII wartime poster designed by J. Howard Miller in 1943 to boost female worker morale? Well, Rae Knopik gives off those same vibes as she works with the “gals” at The CBR Gals Network to encourage and promote local women in business.

Rae received one of two grants that we sponsored for the 2021 YWCA Canberra Great Ydeas Small Grants Program back in April. We recently caught up with Rae to hear how the funds have helped advance her project, The CBR Gals Network Directory.

The CBR Gals Network Directory is like an online “yellow pages” of all businesses owned and operated by women in Canberra and regional NSW. The hope is that it will provide enduring value to Canberrans who wish to support women’s financial wellbeing by supporting these businesses.

Rae and the gals of The CBR Gals Network found that women in their networks want to shop from, and collaborate with, women in business, but there was no single repository of all the women-run businesses in Canberra. The Directory aims to solve this problem by including all women (and non-binary) owned and operated businesses, allowing users to shop from women easily and transparently. Businesses will be able to self-elect and list their own businesses, which makes the Directory both scalable and inclusive.

There are already over 200 small businesses signed up to be a part of the Directory, a huge win says Rae, considering the build of the Directory is not yet complete.

“I'd say receiving this grant has been another major win. When other organisations support what we're doing in such a tangible way, it gives us serious fuel to keep going. We are so grateful,” Rae added.

Being a very small not for profit run by a team of dedicated volunteers, The CBR Gals Network have put Sustineo’s grant funding towards hiring a local skilled web designer to build the Directory, to ensure it is professional, functional, accessible, and, of course, beautiful.

Sustineo’s CEO, Tom Sloan, reflected on the grants program, “it is a great initiative, and we were really pleased to be able to make a small contribution in supporting some worthy and innovative projects. The project that Rae and The CBR Gals Network are driving fills an important niche and we wish them every success in building the Directory. We can’t wait to see it up and running later in the year!”

You can join The CBR Gals Network at their next inclusive networking event; check out their website for details, or connect with them on social media: Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.

YWCA Canberra’s Great Ydeas Small Grants Program provides grants up to $2,500 to support women, girls and non-binary people in the ACT to pursue their passions and improve our community. Find out more and when to apply for next year’s round of grants on the YWCA website.

Photo of 12 women at a networking dinner hosted by CBR Gals at the Mt Stromlo Observatory in Canberra

A CBR Gals networking event at Mt Stromlo Observatory