The Radical Generosity of NZ Women

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As a female business owner I’m proud to be part of one of the most disruptive feminist business models on the planet. Having just branched out recently to New Zealand, SheEO is less than a decade away from having a billion dollar perpetual fund.

SheEO is a global community of women coming together to transform how female innovators are financed, supported and celebrated, inspiring women to follow their dreams and change the world.

The model is simple. In each region 500 women ‘Activators’, like me, each contribute $1100 as an act of radical generosity. The half a million dollars raised creates a capital fund to be loaned out to support up to five selected women-led ventures. Successful ventures need to show they’re creating a better world through their business and that they can scale. The loans are paid back into the fund over time then loaned out again, creating a perpetual fund for future generations.

The initiative is not just about the dollars; SheEO is also about generating a community of support. Along with wanting to help women succeed and share my design expertise with others in business, one of the reasons I got involved is the networks. Being part of SheEO means you have access to an incredible group of females around the world – a global women’s network like never before.

According to Forbes, women will create over half of all businesses this year, yet astonishingly only 4 percent of venture capital goes to women-owned businesses. An almost unbelievable fact and one of the other reasons I decided to get involved with SheEO.

After visiting New Zealand last year, SheEO Founder Vicki Saunders noticed a definite move to action here that she hadn’t seen in other markets. Along with former Tele­com CEO and My Food Bag Co-Founder Theresa Gattung, she decided to make NZ the first country outside of the US and Canada to be part of the movement. Now, a year later over 150 regions around the world have applied to replicate the model.

The first SheEO NZ finalists have recently been announced. They include chia seed beverage company CHIA, Dove River Peonies, who create natural products for sensitive skin and Pomegranate Kitchen, a catering social enterprise employing former refugee women as cooks.

We’re aiming for 500 NZ Activators by the end of this month to help fund 5 Kiwi women-led ventures. Today there are 344 Activators signed up, so we need your help. And what better day to sign up than today – International Women’s Day. Let’s change the world together! Are you in?

#InternationalWomensDay #radicalgenerosity #SheEO #SheEONZ

Article originally published for LinkedIn by RUN Design Director Laura Cibilich.