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Charleston Business

Female Founders Win Startup Grants

May 06, 2024 11:45AM ● By David Dykes

A new nonprofit designed to support entrepreneurs and innovators has awarded its first round of grants to two women with a passion for helping others. 

Greer Moves announced the recipients at The Platform at Greer’s May Huddle event.

Occupational therapist Connie O’Neill, the founder of Big Play in a Box, will receive a $15,000 grant.

LaShonn Edmunds, founder of CAIRS Shoes, will get a $10,000 grant. Graduates of The Platform’s Bootcamp program are eligible to apply for the grants. 

“Both grant recipients have remarkable business ideas that serve worthy causes and inspire us with  their potential to make a significant impact,” said Philippe Barreaud of Greer Moves. “By providing seed funding, we are investing in a bright future for entrepreneurship in Greer.” 

Big Play in a Box offers subscriptions and gifts for children ages three to eight. The boxes are full of carefully curated items and activities that offer a tangible alternative to screens.  

O’Neill said becoming part of a community like The Platform at Greer can help make dreams a  reality. 

“I have made relationships that have guided me, made me face some hard truths, cheered me  on, and almost more importantly have become friends,” O’Neill said. “Thank you, Greer, for making  even the smallest of businesses feel big.” 

Edmunds has an incurable condition called lymphedema, which causes chronic swelling in  her feet. 

She couldn’t find any fashionable shoes on the market that would stretch with her feet, so  Edmunds invented shoes that would. 

CAIRS Shoes officially launched on World Lymphedema Day  this spring. 

“I am so grateful to be a part of such an incredible business community that cares, supports, and  creates solutions each step of the way,” Edmunds said. “Having love and support from other  entrepreneurs who’ve been down these roads truly gives me hope and lets me know I’m not on this  journey alone.” 

BMW, Countybank, and Michelin are sponsors of the Greer Moves initiative.  

“Countybank's grant donation to The Platform at Greer's Bootcamp shows our dedication to local  entrepreneurs,” said Kevin Duncan, Countybank’s Greer Market executive and a board member of Greer Moves. 

Duncan added, “I have enjoyed being involved with the Bootcamps and have seen firsthand how Countybank’s support and the Platform Launch Package equip startups for success." 

For more information about The Platform’s programs for entrepreneurs, go to