July 2022, Christchurch, New Zealand: Christchurch entrepreneur Hannah Hardy-Jones has been recognised for her changemaking work in tech and mental health, and awarded a $10,000 grant to develop a programme that allows better support for women on their cancer journey
Launched earlier this year, the ‘She Sets The Pace’ community grant by car brand Jaguar recognises changemakers and people challenging the status quo by providing funding for their ventures – in Hannah’s case, the $10,000 prize will go towards The Kite Program, a mental health app publisher that creates apps to support groups, organisations and causes.
The Kite Program aims to challenge the obstacles around mental health, especially for women, and highlights the gender-based obstacles that prevent people from receiving the help and support they need by creating highly specific app programmes such as for Eating Disorders, Maternal Mental Health, Veterinarians, HR professionals and an offering for small business to name a few.
Hannah has said she will use the $10,000 will be used to investigate how The Kite Program can be used support women on their journey, in particular after being diagnosed with the breast cancer gene.
“When people find out that they carry a gene mutation that increases their risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, they can feel overwhelmed and unprepared emotionally to make life changing decisions that will reduce their risk of developing cancer. The Kite App will look to package and make available bite sized information to support and empower these women and their families to make informed choices.”
Hannah says that launching a start-up in the tech space wasn’t easy, and found the gender imbalance in the tech industry a struggle to navigate, especially as a mother of young children: “Women in tech are hugely underrepresented (and women founders in general) and of the top 150 Silicon Valley companies only 4 per cent are run by women.”
“When I first started Kite I lacked confidence in my skills because of the perception that you needed to be a male in his 20s to make it big in the tech world. I was also very aware that I was a mum and that I had to juggle my family life whereas so many founders don’t have to consider this. It was almost a feeling of embarrassment that I could only work school hours and that it would count against me.”
The community grant is charged by a panel of convention-breaking women in their own right, one of whom is Christchurch motorsport star, Tiffany Chittenden.
“Mental health is such an issue in New Zealand,” said Tiffany. “it was fantastic to receive an entry from Hannah and the Kite Program – an organisation trying to breakdown the stigma around mental health, particularly for women.”
Hannah says applying for the grant was a great chance to reflect on her journey: “I loved having the chance to really reflect on my journey and my ‘why’,” she says. “Anytime I refer back to my journey and the challenges I have faced it makes me realise how far I have come.”
The Jaguar She Sets the Pace grant gives winners $10,000 cash to continue challenging conventions in their chosen field, as well as the use of an all-electric Jaguar I-PACE SUV for three months.
Jaguar New Zealand CEO, Steve Kenchington, added: “We’re thrilled to be supporting Hannah and The Kite Program which is making tangible change in the mental health sector by providing support to women around New Zealand and globally.”
“Our vision with She Sets the Pace was to uncover convention-breaking initiatives and enable them to grow, so we’re excited to see what other ground-breaking stories are out there.”
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