Last week we had the opportunity to meet Vicky Saunders, the CEO helming a new approach to funding ventures run by women. While creative thinking around how to support female entrepreneurs shouldn’t be considered ‘radical’; this concept actually is ground-breaking in approach. In fact the organization, called SheEO, calls the approach ….’radical generousity’ and plan to take on the world of venture.
Stepping back… SheEO is a global initiative transforming how women entrepreneurs are supported and funded. The model brings together hundreds of ‘radically generous’ women called Activators who contribute $1100 each (or monthly payments of $92). The money is pooled and then loaned out in the form of a 0%-interest loan to women-led Ventures (selected by the Activators). As the money is paid back into the fund, it’s loaned out again to support more women-led Ventures each year.
Here CEO Vicky Saunders explains the model in more detail:
Ventures Supported by SheEO
Since launching in 2015, 4000+ women in Canada, the US, New Zealand and Australia have collectively loaned out $4M to support 53 women-led companies. SheEO Ventures are paying back their loans, experiencing triple-digit revenue growth and are aligned with 2+ of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Below are a few examples of ventures supported by SheEO & more in the attached document ‘SheEO – Some of our Ventures’:
The Alinker – a walking bike for people with mobility challenges to maintain an active lifestyle. You may have seen The Alinker recently as Selma Blair, Hollywood actress who has multiple sclerosis, has been all over the media with it (most recently cover of People magazine as the “special bike that changed her life with MS”). Here is more on the bike:
Callisto – an online sexual assault reporting platform – paid back their full loan in the 1st year and since became a 2018 Skoll Awardee for Social Entrepreneurship.
Abeego – the original beeswax food wrap that prevents food waste and eliminates the use of plastic wrap. Up 500% revenue growth since 2015, went from 2 to 20 employees, pays their entire production team a living wage.
Become an ‘Activator’
Thanks to our friend Kristen, who invited us to the SheEO breakfast, we too became Activators. What doesn’t hurt is that it also gives you the chance to find mentors, new clients, business partners, etc. But most importantly you can be a part of something redefining how we thinking about investing in women’s ideas and innovation.
As we’ve talked about before here, we believe that women are particularly adept at spreading ideas, concepts, support, etc. through their networks and by word-of-mouth. It’s an old concept that resonates as loudly today regardless of platform – when women believe in something there is no standing in our way.
Click here to Activate and spread the word!