SheEO Offers an Innovative Funding Solution to Women Entrepreneurs
For women, getting funding in today’s environment can seem challenging. Angel investors and VC firms, while stating that they want to fund more women owned businesses, are still asking the same questions to determine value and opportunity. The fact is that only 4% of venture capital funding goes to women. The venture community wants to invest in billion dollar opportunities, their end goal being to cash out upon exit. So if you’re not building the next Facebook or Honest Company, where does that leave you for funding options?
Luckily there’s a number of funding sources that are on the rise including Portfolia, Plum Alley and Golden Seeds, all focused on funding women owned businesses. This movement is happening because more women want to fund companies they want to see in this world. And women want to see more women leading the charge. There’s also a new crowdfunding concept that recently launched in the US called SheEO. Led by Vicki Saunders, SheEO is two-decade long initiative to dramatically transform how we support, finance and celebrate female entrepreneurs.
An entrepreneur committed to building businesses that have a positive impact on the world, Vicki Saunders has co-founded and run several companies, has used and received almost every kind of financing; debt, equity, government grants, foundation grants, public markets and crowdfunding and has been a passionate and committed mentor to over 1000 businesses in her career. Today she is leading the charge with SheEO a new kind of crowdfunding opportunity for women.
“SheEO’s Act of #radicalgenerosity initiative is the starting point in a two-decade long initiative to radically transform how we finance, support and celebrate female entrepreneurs.” – Vicki Saunders
How it works: SheEO is establishing chapters all over the US, starting with Los Angeles. Denver and San Francisco. In each city SheEO raise a $1M fund by crowdsourcing $1000 from 1000 women. The women making the $1000 contributions become activators who get to evaluate and vote on the women-owned businesses applying for funding in their city. The businesses who the activators select (it gets narrowed down to 5 each year in each city) go to a retreat together where they receive mentoring and guidance from SheEO’s experts. Those 5 companies benefit significantly not only from the funding they receive, but by the experience of bonding with and learning from each other. The funds these 5 companies receive is a loan that must be paid back to the fund, interest free, within 5 years. And, when those 5 companies are ready for their next round of funding they can go to the activators that funded them to find their next round of investment.
This $1M fund gets raised every year in every city by another group of 1000 women. Think of the impact! By doing this, SheEO is educating and and encouraging the growth of an investment mentality among women. Thats right – SheEO is teaching women how to invest and teaching entrepreneurs how to raise funding and utilize it wisely. Vicki calls this idea “radical generosity.” Imagine raising a billion dollars for women by 2020.
To become a part of this movement or find out about opportunities in your city join the SheEO mailing list today.