In this year of racial reckoning, people are waking up to the fact that our systems and structures are biased. The deck is stacked against so many of us – and especially against Black, Indigenous and Women of Colour.
Women make up 51% of the population yet receive less than 3% of venture capital funding (Source). In 2018, all women founders put together received $10 billion LESS than Juul, an e-cigarette company, received on its own (Source).
At SheEO we believe that when the system is inherently biased, we need to build a new model – one that works for everyone.
Since 2015 we have been building relationships at the speed of trust with diverse women and gender non-binary folks. Thanks to SheEO Activators who prioritize diversity, we have significantly outperformed the venture funding numbers when it comes to funding and supporting women of diverse backgrounds.
Here’s the percentage of Black, Indigenous, Women of Colour and 2SLGBTQI+ we have funded in each of our Venture cohorts in Canada and the US from 2015-2019.
This new model that we’re building is one that amplifies the ventures and voices of Black, Indigenous and Women of Colour and we have become even more intentional about doing this on our new website, social media, videos, events, and messaging.
In an effort to bring in a more diverse Venture applicant pool, this year we made a concerted effort to reach out to more BIPOC entrepreneurs, including hundreds of personal pings to women who had started their applications via LinkedIn and email. Whenever we heard of someone struggling, we jumped on 1:1 calls to encourage and provide support through the application process
We saw Activators and past Ventures encouraging entrepreneurs to apply via social media and personal outreach more this Fall than ever before. Through the Indigenous LIFT Collective, who we’ve done weekly calls with since February, a number of Indigenous entrepreneurs applied for the first time.
As a result, this year we are thrilled that 40% of Canadian, US and UK Venture applicants are Black, Indigenous and Women of Colour – our highest representation yet! It takes a village and we want to thank the amazing SheEO community for making this happen. Here is the breakdown by country:
And, we know there is SO much more work to be done.
We will continue doing the self-work and building intersectional relationships to transform ourselves and systems. In our SheEO Racial Justice Working Group led by Wakumi Douglas (SheEO Venture S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective), 70 Activators and Ventures are going on a journey to examine and deconstruct the racial bias that exists inside us, and we are doing a research project on the UN Sustainable Development Goals through an anti-racism lens.
We will continue to work on ensuring the SheEO community not only welcomes IN more Black, Indigenous and Women of Colour but that we truly create and embody an inclusive culture.
And we will continue to fund and support more Ventures led by women and non-binary folks of different races, backgrounds, ages and experiences.
Thank you for being on this journey with us.
Stay tuned for more content and discussions like this podcast we did on Racial Justice with Social Justice Doula and Black Feminist thinker, Lutze Segu (who co-designed the SheEO Racial Justice Working Group along with Wakumi!).