NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A local businesswoman is continuing a grant program created during the COVID-19 pandemic to help businesses thrive.

In 2020, ARDX Foundation president and founder Dr. Angela Reddix started the Reddix Rules Fund.

“We started at the height of the pandemic when there were so many uncertainties. We didn’t know as business owners what tomorrow would hold at all,” she said. “I remember those mom-and-pop businesses having to close their doors. Really all of us closed our doors. I thought about the women who are solopreneurs, who had to feed their households.”

Fast forward to 2022, Reddix is accepting applications for a third cohort, where women of color business owners have the chance to win up to $25,000.

“Scripture says ‘to whom much is given much is required.’ That has been the story of my life. Everytime I’ve given, something major has happened in our company. I tell you my story, my path is not just created for me. It is created for others to leverage the experience, the education, the access I’ve had available,” she said.

Reddix says this year’s cohort is focused on helping women 40 and older.

“Often when women are approaching 40s and 50s, they’re thinking about ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda.’ There’s so much ahead of us that we can use and build on our wisdom that gives us the grit and fortitude we can use into our business,” she said.

Acceptance into the program will also include operational excellence, mentorship, and mental/emotional resilience training.

Applications are open until April 30 and the top 10 winners will be announced on May 19.

Reddix says applicants must have viable businesses.

“The way we transform communities of poverty into prosperity is through employment. We want to build businesses. Yes, the individuals can sustain their households but can they employ at least five others,” she said.

Reddix also says the video portion of the application is important and those applying should look presentable in presentable settings.

“Speak from the heart. The best story wins. If you’re not passionate about your business, you can’t expect someone else to be passionate about it. Passion sells,” she said.

As for continuing the fund for years to come, Reddix says the women who were part of cohort 2 inspired her to continue for their third year and says many more years may follow.

“I will continue to do this until I feel I have a new assignment. So every May, this is my assignment and until I hear otherwise, the plan is to continue but don’t wait until next year. Apply this time. That is what I know for sure,” she said.

To apply, click here.