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Launching #RadicalGenerosity in Australia: the SheEO story

Tech and Innovation

Posted on May 17, 2018

3 min read

Today we announced the Australian SheEO launch, proudly supported by Telstra and CommBank’s Women in Focus program. Australia will officially be the fourth country where SheEO is launching. And the momentum is intoxicating.

My entire career path has always been working towards a better world. As an educator in an Atlanta school system I worked to provide a meaningful education to underserved 3rd and 4th graders – a safe environment for them to be wildly creative and explorative, and much-needed technology support and hands-on curriculum in a middle school.

For nearly 15 years I worked in corporate foundations with an incredible team, providing purposeful opportunities for employees to volunteer in their community or across the world, and providing nonprofit organisations resources to help them execute their mission — from addressing homelessness, solving world hunger, finding cures for diseases, or accessing quality education.

My work with SheEO Radical Generosity adds to my purpose — on an economic, societal, and personal level.

Economic: Currently only 4 per cent of VC capital goes towards women. So we created a new financing model for female-led ventures and female investors through #radicalgenerosity. Less than 1 per cent of corporate procurement goes to women-led businesses. So we created a network to help make those connections and introductions.

Societal: Less than 5 per cent of female entrepreneurs have mentors. So we created a personalised, guided development program and a network of 1000 women to support ventures. Less than 19 per cent of business news mentions ventures led by women. So we are amplifying the impact of women-led ventures.

Personal: Doing this work, inviting women and men to believe in creating a new economic model, keeps me sane and happy. It supports my purpose. I get to be a pioneer in creating something new — again — to be on the ground floor. I get to be a part of a group of incredible humans who “get it” — these people with whom I want to surround myself and connect my heart-forward smart friends.

While I strongly dislike asking for money, I find that SheEO is about asking for support for an idea and a movement that is a possible solution to something that hasn’t been working for decades. And it’s keeping me hopeful.

Founded by serial Canadian entrepreneur, Vicki Saunders, SheEO Radical Generosity is funded by at least 500 radically generous women per city called Activators. Instead of a handful of partners making large singular investments ($100,000+), a thousand women commit to a $1100 contribution, 90 per cent of which will be loaned out to women-led ventures (in a zero-interest loan) paid back over five years, and reinvested perpetually. The Activators select the ventures. Our community is made up of entrepreneurs, executives, public leaders, and everyday citizens.