Women make up half the world, and so too should they in the business world.
Which is why some women decided to take strides to transform the industry. One of them is Vicki Saunders.
Based in Toronto, serial entrepreneur Vicki Saunders is the founder of SheEO, a not-for-profit community support platform established in 2015 whose goal is to help under-supported, womenpreneur led-firms with a focus on solving social problems, to get off the ground and grow sustainable and profitable startup businesses.
SheEO's model is simple: Instead of seeking out partners to make large singular investments, they identify 500 to 1,000 "radically generous" women to invest $1,100 in a portfolio of five female-owned ventures focused on social change and with high growth potential. What's the catch? Zilch. The $500,000+ funding is divvied up and loaned out to these select five with 0% interest, to be paid back quarterly for the next five years.
SheEO comes to Australia
Just this May, SheEO was launched here in Australia, making it the fourth region the program has launched in (after Canada, the US and New Zealand) with the head of Telstra’s startup accelerator Julie Trell leading the initiative. They opened the doors for interested female backers, or 'activators' last Thursday, and announced their first roster by the weekend. Some of their first-ever investors included female trailblazers themselves such as Microsoft head Annie Parker, startup commentator Anne-Marie Elias, and Indigital founder Mikaela Jade.
Welcome IN @jade_mikaela, @marg_m, @ChiefDisrupter, @sebeckmas, @KimAndoInc and @KimmiCFlatWorld! We're so excited that you're among our first EVER group of Aussie Activators! Thrilled to be bringing #RadicalGenerosity down under! pic.twitter.com/jCyRcHtEy7— SheEO™ (@sheeo_world) July 20, 2018
I’m in!! It’s official! Hey Australia Radical Generous people who support and are female entrepreneurs, please join me and activate! https://t.co/P4tt6GTAb7 Why are you IN? @sheeo_world #radicalgenerosity pic.twitter.com/8rm4Uxn2Nk— Julie Trell 🌈 (@julietrell) July 19, 2018
OK Aussie ladies, pls get involved in this new initiative to fix one of our biggest probs for female founders - access to funding. By just chipping in a small amount we can create a fund we get to distribute - amazing huh? Get involved! https://t.co/XKRI3scJRG @sheeo_world— Annie Parker 🌈 (@annie_parker) July 19, 2018
Although only women can contribute to the fund currently, this doesn't stop the venture fund from receiving support from the men. BlueChilli entrepreneur-in-residence and angel investor Alan Jones has shared the launch announcement with an endearing message.
Tip USD1,100 into a global fund providing interest-free 5yr loans to female-founded revenue generating startups? Seems like a great idea to me thx @annie_parker @julietrell @sheeo_world https://t.co/Zo65xc12Pt— alan jones (@bigyahu) July 19, 2018
Trell admits that SheEO's vision to alter the business landscape for female entrepreneurs cannot be afforded by excluding men from the conversation. "It can’t be done without men,” she says. “Their network and their support is more valuable than their capital.” After all, change that proposes to benefit everyone will not happen fast enough unless every person, of every gender, recognises their capacity to impact this topic.
A new model for funding
Nothing like this has been done before in Australia. The initiative aims to take its model and scale it country by country, city by city; and if their goal is realised, by 2020, they will have had a million women backers and about $1 billion every year going into the hands of 10,000 women entrepreneurs all across the world.
Can you just imagine being surrounded by a global network of radically generous people? If you're an Australian female founder or mumpreneur, here's proof that there’s never been a better time to be a woman in business.
With great support comes great perks
Of course with every great support group comes a multitude of benefits. On top of the 0%-interest five-year term loan to help fund their small business, beneficiaries also get to:
- Attend a personalised Venture Retreat
- Receive one year of world-class coaching and support from SheEO's Guided Development Team
- Gain access to a network of radically generous women who commit to support your success by opening up their vast networks and expertise and leverage their buying power for your products and service
- Top 25 Ventures gain access to the SheEO online community where you can connect with hundreds of radically generous women to grow your business
- Top 25 Ventures will receive a special invitation to our annual Summit & Cocktail
The SheEO application process is simple and requires no elevator pitch. Find out more about how to become a SheEO Australia venture here.