FAQ

About SheEO

How is SheEO funded?

Your contribution of $1100 includes a $100 sustainability fee which helps support SheEO’s annual operations. $1000 goes directly to the Ventures. The balance of our operational costs are covered by sponsorship and philanthropy from organizations and individuals who are aligned with our mission. Our goal is to be a self-sustaining program.

What is your business structure?

The SheEO Canada Fund is a federally incorporated not-for-profit managed through SheEO.  In the US, the Fund is managed through Philanthropic Ventures Foundation (PVF), on behalf of SheEO. PVF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

How is SheEO governed?

SheEO has a Board of Directors who meet quarterly. All financial statements are audited annually and available upon request.

What is #radicalgenerosity?

Your entry into our network starts with an act of #radicalgenerosity; a $1100 contribution, with no expectation of return, on behalf of someone you don’t yet know. Your $1100 contribution is a gift that will keep on giving as it’s paid back into the fund and loaned out again. It is not a transaction where you get your money back, it’s a pay-it-forward relationship that keeps on giving. 

#radicalgenerosity is also a  practice and a behavior we are developing at SheEO. We imagine that the potential of our Ventures and of all of us, would be far greater if we were surrounded by radically generous people. We would dream bigger, we would treat ourselves more kindly and we would be happier.  In our community, we ask, what is the radically generous response to our Ventures’ needs? What kind of world would we create if we were radically generous with each other? Would we dream bigger? Would we be kinder to ourselves?  Radical generosity is a values statement, it is a behavior and it is a practice which we believe will create radically different results and a better world.

Why is SheEO only open to women?

There is emerging data to show that women investors better understand women-led Ventures, and that women-led Ventures funded by women perform better. While we recognize that women and men will need to work together in order to change the landscape, we know this is going to take time. Our starting point is women-only. We believe that building a supportive community of women engaging with their capital is the missing link that the world needs in order to catalyze significant change. We aim to launch thousands of concrete, compelling and inspiring examples of women helping women around the world to remind us all that we have all we need to redesign, redefine and recreate this world.

How can men get involved?

Men who wish to contribute capital can sponsor a daughter, wife, entrepreneur or colleague to be part of this community and encourage female entrepreneurs in their network to apply.

What about diversity?

At SheEO we are committed to building a highly diverse global community of radically generous women and those who identify as women; inclusive of LGBTQI, all ages, races and cultures.  Our goal is to build a new economy. We believe that there is a lack of diversity in our current system. Women were not at the table to design the current model we have. We need to be at the table to create a new model. We also need racial, cultural and intellectual diversity. It is our intention to build a highly diverse community. In our pilot, 500 women selected the companies they were most excited about. As it turns out, the selected Ventures were not only diverse in sector (food, hygiene, tech, education, consumer packaging), they were also founded by diverse leaders.

How does the SheEO model work?

The SheEO model brings together 500 women (called Activators) in each cohort, who contribute $1100 each as an Act of Radical Generosity. The money is pooled together and loaned out at low interest to 5 women-led Ventures selected by the Activators. All Ventures are revenue generating with export potential and creating a better world through their business model or their product and service. The loans are paid back over 5 years into the fund and then loaned out again, creating a perpetual fund which we will pass on to our daughters and granddaughters, and nieces. Our goal is to reach 1 million Activators, supporting 10,000 women-led Ventures globally with a $1B perpetual fund.

Activators are contributing more than their capital. As an Activator you can also activate your network, expertise, resources and buying power as early customers. You are also involved in selecting the Ventures directly through a radically redesigned online selection process. Activators select the Top 25 Ventures from their region in Round 1 of voting, and then the Top 5 in Round 2.

Once selected, the Top 5 Ventures gather at a retreat with the SheEO Guided Development Program Leads and divide the collective fund amongst themselves using a peer-based decision-making process based on two rules: 1) you can’t give it all to one Venture (no winner-takes-all), and 2) you can’t divide it up evenly.

Activators

What is an Activator?

“Activators” are women who contribute $1,100 annually and join our global community of radically generous women. As an Activator you can activate your capital, your networks, your buying power and your expertise to support female entrepreneurs who are benefitting humanity. As Activators support Ventures in this rich ecosystem, they also support one another – creating a virtuous cycle of radical generosity that will lead to a radically new economy.

Do I need to commit $1100 each year?

Once you contribute $1100 as an Activator, you are IN for that year and are able to participate in Venture voting and the year’s events.  You will forever have access to your year’s cohort of fellow Activators through our online community Workplace.  However, to vote for and support the next round of Ventures, attend the following year’s events (including the SheEO Summit & Gala), and gain access to the following year’s Activators around the globe (with the addition of new SheEO Regions), you need to contribute again.

Contributing each year allows us to continue to fund additional female entrepreneurs. We’d love for this to be annual gift.

If Activators contribute each year for five years (because Ventures pay back the money over five years), then we will have a perpetual fund, one that will be handed down to our daughters and granddaughters.

Why $1100? That is a lot of money and may exclude people in our communities.

Our goal is to reach a 1 million women who collectively create a $1B perpetual fund as soon as possible. Initially we experimented with $5,000 but determined it was too high of a starting point. We considered making it a much lower number but that created too many people in a community in each cohort. We also call this radical generosity, not simply, ‘generosity’. We know it’s a stretch. Some women have collaborated and divided up the $1100 contribution amongst a few people. After much experimentation and consultation we opted for $1100 because we felt this amount was both feasible for many and scalable to achieve our goal. Once we reach our $1B fund we will likely find many other ways for many more people to be engaged. We view this as our version 1.0 design.

Can you be sponsored into the network?

Yes! This year, thanks to the radical generosity of our Activators, we have several sponsored Activator spots available. These positions are designed to enable women from underrepresented backgrounds to participate in SheEO. In the sponsorship model, the Activator sponsor covers $880 (80% of the Activator payment), and the sponsoree contributes the remaining $220. With a $220 contribution, the sponsoree can participate in the full Activator experience: online community, voting for the Ventures, Activator events, SheEO Summit & Gala.

If you or someone you know is interested in being considered for one of these sponsored opportunities for 2017, please complete this interest form!

How do you activate as a group?

If $1100 represents a barrier for you, you are welcome to activate with another person or with a group. For each group, we invite you to choose one representative who will receive SheEO email communications, be added to the online community, receive the link to vote for the Ventures, and receive the invitation to attend our SheEO Summit & Gala. How you choose to divide up the $1100 payment and roles is completely up to you. We’ve seen groups in the past who have gathered to review the Venture applications and vote collectively (a group Activation = one vote), two Activators who have shared an account on our online community (you have to list your profile under one name), etc. 

When you have the $1100 in place, that representative can sign up to activate here!

What am I committing to as an Activator?

We welcome all levels of participation and consider this to be a community that you join on your own terms. We understand that life can get busy and so we invite you to engage in a way that works for you. If you want to contribute your capital and come to one event, great. If you want to be highly engaged, host a salon or breakfast, and help grow the movement, that works too! Your participation in #radicalgenerosity is on your own terms. No guilt!

What are some ways I can engage with the SheEO model as an Activator?

Activator engagement opportunities:

  • Selection of Ventures.
  • Access to the SheEO online community to share expertise, ask for help and engage with Ventures and Activators – this is your space to self-organize in the community.
  • Many Activators self-organize within the network to create business opportunities, share resources, or create sub-groups in specific interest-areas.
  • Attend a one-day Summit and Gala in your region where we announce the Top 5 selected Ventures each year.
  • Support Ventures through their monthly asks via email and through the online community.
  • Each quarter you will be sent a Venture Health Check to see how the Ventures are doing.
How do I select Ventures through your radically redesigned process?

You will receive an email asking you if you’d like to be involved in the selection process.  You’ll then receive a link to our online voting portal where you can view the Venture applications and select the companies that you are passionate about.

We ask Activators to select Ventures based on the following criteria:

  • Would you buy or refer this product or service?
  • Does the entrepreneur have what it takes to lead this company?
  • Do you think this business will benefit humanity (is it a new mindset, new model or new solution in how they run their business or in their product and service)?
  • Is the business exporting to other countries or have export potential?
What kind of Ventures do you support?

SheEO Ventures are revenue-generating with export potential and creating a better world through their business model or their product and service. They are women-owned and women-led and creating new models, new mindsets, and new solutions that benefit humanity.  Currently, our Ventures are from all sectors from retail to artificial intelligence, and our Founders range in age from 28-50 years old.

What are the terms of the loan provided to Ventures?

The low-interest loan has a five-year term for each Venture. Ventures pay back their loans in 20 equal installments over a five year period. We track venture milestones and success quarterly and report those results out to the community.  As the funds are paid back, the money gets reinvested into the fund and loaned out again to new Ventures.

Can I track how my money is helping SheEO Ventures?

Yes! We have designed a holistic SheEO Venture Health Check reporting system which is filled out on a quarterly basis by our entrepreneurs and provides you with a dashboard of company performance so that you can see how the Ventures are doing in real time.

In addition, SheEO will send out an Annual Impact Report summarizing the growth and performance of the SheEO Ventures over the past year.

We track metrics such as impact, mindset shifts, connections made, contribution to business success, revenue increases, markets accessed, jobs created, radical generosity indices, events delivered, people reached, and stories of positive impact.

How will you ensure that the SheEO Venture cohorts are held accountable?

We have developed a personalized Guided Development Program in which Ventures participate. They have 2 coaching calls each month and regular check-in with Activators and the SheEO team. All entrepreneurs will propose a ‘use of funds’ as part of the fund distribution process during our SheEO Venture Program roll-out. Each Venture will determine milestones and reporting structure as part of this process. As an Activator, you will receive a quarterly Venture Health Check which will update you on Venture performance. We believe in creating the conditions for the Ventures to thrive in our community. Most of our Ventures become Activators themselves paying forward the radical generosity they received. With 500 women watching their execution and contributing to their success, this entire program is designed to create the conditions for Ventures to be accountable.

How do I pay by cheque?

Based in Canada
If you are based in Canada, cheques can be made payable to “SheEO Fund”. Please mail your cheque to 375 Markham Street, Toronto, ON, M6G 2K8.

Once you have mailed your cheque, please fill out this form so that we can register you as a SheEO Activator. 

Based in the US
If you are based in the US, checks can be made payable to “Philanthropic Ventures Foundation”, with SheEO referenced. Please mail your check to Philanthropic Ventures Foundation, 1222 Preservation Park Way, Oakland CA, 94612.

Once you have mailed your check, please fill out this form so that we can register you as a SheEO Activator. 

Based in New Zealand
If you are based in New Zealand, cheques can be made payable to “SheEO Fund” and mailed to 3 Livingstone St, Westmere, Auckland 1022 with a note that says “Attention – SheEO New Zealand”.

Once you have mailed your cheque, please fill out this form so that we can register you as a SheEO Activator. 

 

What if I’m not an Activator? How can I stay in touch?

Sign up for our monthly impact updates where we share resources, Venture updates, and other tips for emerging entrepreneurs and female business leaders. Follow us on social media. We often host events and meet-ups in conjunction with other organizations – if you sign up for our monthly impact update you’ll stay in the know!

Entrepreneur Ecosystem

Why do we need SheEO?

In short, women need a radically redesigned model of support and funding. One that is designed specifically to tackle the kind of challenges female entrepreneurs face; women are chronically under-financed, under-supported and under-celebrated in the business world. Check out this post by Founder Vicki Saunders for a more in depth look.

What is the current state of the innovation ecosystem for women?

In 2015, two-thirds of businesses in Canada were started by women. Sixty-eight per cent had no outside capital and 73 per cent are already profitable. And they could grow, if they had support. But these businesses have been dramatically underfinanced, undersupported and undercelebrated for decades.

New data have emerged showing that if female entrepreneurs were financed to the same degree as their male counterparts, we’d create six million jobs in North America in the next five years. This is a huge economic engine we haven’t even tried to engage.

Click here for Vicki’s op-ed diving deeper into these staggering metrics.

What resources are available to early stage entrepreneurs who may not be ready for SheEO funding?

From our perspective, this is a decades-long initiative to change systems and culture. The question was where to start: what model has the biggest chance of success in the shortest period of time so we can then iterate, expand and grow its impact? When we get to 1M women supporting 10,000 entrepreneurs with a $1B perpetual fund, we believe that we can then expand this model to create a number of different approaches with less capital, more capital, larger and smaller contributions that engage women to invest in the kinds of companies that will change the world.

If you’re an early stage company seeking additional resources, you can check out our Resources section here.

Ventures

What is the eligibility criteria for Ventures?

Our criteria is simple.

  • Are you going to exceed $50K in revenue by the time you apply?
  • Are you majority women-owned (51%+)?
  • Are you majority women-led?
  • Are you able to answer the question of how your Venture is creating a new model, new mindset, or new solution to better humanity?
  • Do you operate in the US, Canada or New Zealand?
Why must Ventures have at least $50K in revenue?

Over 90% of our economies are made up of small and medium-sized businesses that are starved of capital because they aren’t considered unicorn (grow to $1B in value) potential in the traditional venture capital system. We want to start with those businesses that already have early traction and lots of potential. Early success in any new model is critical. We wanted to show that there are thousands of women-led businesses out there that can generate revenue, hire locally, pay back their loans and strengthen our economy.

What about early stage Ventures with limited resources?

From our perspective, this is a decades-long initiative to change systems and culture. The question was where to start: what model has the biggest chance of success in the shortest period of time so we can then iterate, expand and grow its impact? When we get to 1M women supporting 10,000 entrepreneurs with a $1B perpetual fund, we believe that we can then expand this model to create a number of different approaches with less capital, more capital, larger and smaller contributions that engage women to invest in the kinds of companies that will change the world.

If you’re an early stage company seeking additional resources, you can check out our Resources section here.

What kinds of Ventures do you support?

SheEO Ventures are revenue-generating with export potential and creating a better world through their business model or their product and service. They are women-owned and women-led and creating new models, new mindsets, and new solutions that benefit humanity. Currently, our Ventures are from all sectors from retail to artificial intelligence, and our Founders range in age from 28-50 years old.

Tell me about the application form.

We know from consultation and studies that female entrepreneurs often don’t apply for funding and investment because the process is cumbersome, filled with jargon and women are proven to receive far less funding than their male counterparts. We have radically redesigned the application process to simplify it and make it accessible to everyone. No jargon. No attachments. No pitch decks. We have a dozen questions in an online form that can be filled out in under 30 mins.

What are the terms of the loan provided to the Ventures?

The low-interest loan has a five-year term for each Venture. Ventures pay back their loans in 20 equal installments over a five year period. We track venture milestones and success quarterly and report those results out to the community.  As the funds are paid back, the money gets reinvested into the fund and loaned out again to new Ventures.

What if my Venture is not selected? Does SheEO provide any support?

Simply applying to SheEO’s Radical Generosity Initiative is an act of marketing your business to hundreds of women. Activators are encouraged to provide comments and feedback to everyone who applies to SheEO’s #radicalgenerosity program, so you will likely receive at least some feedback on your application. We also have a detailed Venture resources section on our blog with a crowd-sourced list of resources for entrepreneurs of all stages that you should definitely check out!

What happens if I’m selected as one of the Top 25 SheEO Ventures?

We will announce the Top 25 SheEO Ventures on our website, social media and mailing list. You will be asked to submit a 1-minute video and financial summary in the next round of the application process. For those Top 25 Ventures not voted into the Top 5, you will still be invited to attend the SheEO Summit and Gala in your region, and will be invited into our online community where you can access SheEO’s community of radically generous Activators.

What happens if I’m selected as one of the Top 5 SheEO Ventures?

First of all – congratulations! When you are selected as a  Top 5 Venture in your region, we’ll provide you with detailed next steps. But, here are the highlights:

  • Attend the SheEO Venture Retreat to meet your fellow Ventures and your SheEO Development Guides, divide up the loan, and start your journey as a SheEO Venture.
  • Attend and be celebrated at the SheEO Summit & Gala.
  • Participate in personalized guided development calls with the SheEO Development Guides twice a month.
  • Join the SheEO online community to connect with all Activators in the network.
  • Share impact stories and business growth in your quarterly Venture Health Checks.
  • Be available for media interviews, speaking opportunities and special events as part of your leadership role.
Who decides how the collective fund is distributed?

Each SheEO cohort (5 selected Ventures) will use peer-based decision making to decide how the money will be distributed amongst themselves, with only two rules: 1) you can’t give it all to one company, and 2) you can’t divide the funds evenly. Our SheEO Development Guides will be in the room to facilitate the process and will ensure the experience goes well for all participating Ventures.

How will the success of the selected Ventures be measured?

SheEO uses surveys to track impact, mindset shifts, connections made, contribution to business success, revenue increases, markets accessed, jobs created, radical generosity indices, events delivered, people reached, and stories of positive impact.

How will you ensure that the SheEO Venture cohorts are held accountable?

We have developed a personalized Guided Development Program in which Ventures participate. Ventures also have 2 coaching calls each month and regular check-in with Activators and the SheEO team. All entrepreneurs will propose a ‘use of funds’ as part of the fund distribution process during our SheEO Venture Program roll-out. Each Venture will determine milestones and reporting structure as part of this process and will participate in completing a quarterly Venture Health Check. The highlights of this check in will then be shared with the Activator community.  We believe in creating the conditions for the Ventures to thrive in our community. Most of our Venture recipients become Activators themselves paying forward the radical generosity they received. With 500 women watching their execution and contributing to their success, this entire program is designed to create the conditions for Ventures to be accountable.

Are your Ventures available for media requests or speaking opportunities?

Yes! We love sharing our Ventures’ stories. Please email us at [email protected] with your request.

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