SheEO’s community of women innovators and investors are taking action to create a better world, and Queensland is helping to lead the charge.
The all-women network of investors is dedicated to supporting women-run businesses that are tackling the United Nations’ sustainable development goals – the “World’s To-Do List”.
“Globally, less than four per cent of venture capital goes to women innovators,” explains Vicki Saunders, Founder of SheEO. “It’s an appalling statistic that hasn’t changed for decades, despite strong business cases for investing in women. It’s a legacy of the structural and systemic inequities that result from women not being at the table to design this world. We don’t believe you can change that incrementally; we believe you have to redesign from scratch, and that’s what we did with SheEO.
“SheEO has designed a highly innovative ecosystem approach to support women innovators. It’s a ‘money&’ approach. Activators contribute capital – $1100, or $92/month – and then vote for the women-led ventures they are most excited about supporting. They also provide feedback to all applicants during the voting process. Beyond the funding and selection process, Activators in our network leverage their buying power, expertise, connections and capital to support the SheEO Ventures and each other to prosper and grow their impact.
“We call it #RadicalGenerosity, as that’s the spirit in which people enter the community. For all of us, being surrounded by radically generous women is a gamechanger.”
Ventures are asked 10 questions when they apply for SheEO funding, and are not required to submit any attachments or pitch decks. SheEO Activators can then go online and read through the applications, provide feedback and vote for the Ventures they believe should receive funding.
Monica Bradley, a Queensland-based ‘Super Activator’, believes SheEO’s unique approach is making a real difference. “SheEO is a powerful movement – but it’s not a movement about power,” she says. “It’s a movement that uses the power of connectivity and friendships to change the world.”
The Queensland Government has supported SheEO by gifting 10 ‘Activations’ to women across Queensland who were keen to participate in the SheEO community, but didn’t have the required capital to do so.
This year’s SheEO Australian Summit was scheduled to be held in Brisbane on April 2. Due to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis, however, the new cohort of Australian Ventures were announced as part of a virtual Venture Retreat instead.
The Australian Ventures receiving funding and support from SheEO Activators include:
- BeauTex Designs – A closed loop waste management system turning recycled materials into durable work wear for a variety of trade industries.
- Code Like A Girl – An education startup closing the gender gap in technology through result-driven education pathways for women and girls.
- Indigital – An augmented reality startup helping Australia’s Indigenous communities tell their stories through new and emerging technologies.
- Verve Super – Australia’s first ethical superannuation fund tailored for women, led by women.
- WorkRestart – A social enterprise connecting currently and previously incarcerated people with meaningful employment opportunities.
“Participating in the Venture Retreat helped us shift our company vision by 12 months,” says Indigital founder and CEO Mikaela Jade. “Being part of the SheEO network has made us feel like we have an exponential team of enthusiastic professionals ready to help grow our impact.”
SheEO began holding weekly Activator Support Calls during the pandemic, giving Australian Activators a chance to connect and offer support to one another via Zoom. High school student Tahlia Harris, one of the Queensland Government’s Gifted SheEO Activators, says the weekly calls have become the highlight of her week.
“My favourite part about SheEO is being constantly accepted, inspired and challenged by the amazing, radically generous women I meet each week, who – without hesitation – do everything they can to help,” Tahlia says. “Week after week, I walk away feeling empowered and ready to conquer the world.”
Felicity Chapman, the founder of Deadly Weavers, also received an Advance Queensland Female Founder’s scholarship which allowed her to become a SheEO Activator. “SheEO has changed my life,” she says, “allowing me to connect with like-minded, social impact-driven women from across Australia and the world, and building my self-confidence to achieve my business and community goals. Our Weekly Activator calls allow us to connect, dream big, support each other and drive positive change. SheEO is my superpower.”