|14 Oct 2022
Christchurch entrepreneur Hannah Hardy-Jones has been recognised for her change-making work in tech and mental health. She was awarded a 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 overcome mental health challenges, especially for women. It highlights the gender-based obstacles that prevent people from receiving the help and support they need by creating highly specific app programmes. These include services for eating disorders, maternal mental health, veterinarians, HR professionals, and an offering for small businesses, to name a few.
Hannah started Kite due to her own difficult mental health journey with postpartum bipolar disorder following the birth of her daughter in 2013. Using her HR experience, she created a solution to support mums through the challenges of motherhood – an app was the perfect way to reach as many women as possible.
“Since the success of Kite for Mums, we have launched versions of the app into new markets and focus areas, particularly within corporate wellbeing. All are based on the Kite app philosophy of small achievable steps each day.”
As people move through the app, they select the Kite modules that apply to them, and they receive one quick, practical and achievable task, idea or activity to complete that day. When stressed and overwhelmed, our ability to retain and apply ideas and suggestions is limited, so breaking it down into small steps is effective, according to Hannah.
“It was important that I was open and transparent about my mental health journey when I launched Kite. When I was unwell, I couldn’t find anyone who was thriving or who was able to manage their illness successfully – all I could find were heart-breaking stories. I wanted to show that it is possible to live a full life and come out the other side. It has been my mission to break down the stigma of mental health and be open about my experience wherever I can.”
Hannah mentions how incredibly exciting it is to be chosen as the first recipient of the Jaguar She Sets the Pace grant.
“Being a sole female founder of a tech start-up can be challenging, and winning this grant was wonderful validation for me, personally. I love what Jaguar is doing with challenging conventions for women, and these values fit so well with my own values and that of our wider organisation. The grant has allowed us to start working on some epic projects in the mental health space, plus being able to drive a beautiful I-PACE has just been the icing on the cake and a great way to experience an EV.
“No matter what you are going through right now, there is always hope and always a way through. I would never have thought I could start a mental health tech company based on my mental health and being a mum of small children, but anything is possible. It just takes small steps each day to get to your dream.”