“SheEO is a radically generous community supporting women + non-binary people working on the World’s To-Do List.” SheEO is a unique investment and community-building opportunity for women and non-binary people. The potential return on investment comes in the forms of activating funding for women and non-binary entrepreneurs, learning, and community building. I recently became a SheEO “Activator.” In this post, I will share what SheEO offers and my experience so far of being part of the SheEO community.
SheEO was launched in 2015 in Canada. It is now also in the US, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. There are over 1600 Activators around the world, with ~350 based in the US.
SheEO’s model brings together Activators in a manner that encourages “radical generosity.” SheEO aims to break the status quo, creating a new model and a better world. The new model is one where women and non-binary people commit to elevating each other. This conscious generosity and support enables community members to achieve their goals.
Enablement of and from the SheEO community comes in three forms: revolving loan fund, online courses, and networking.
Revolving Loan Fund
SheEO Activator membership fees are contributed to a revolving loan fund, known as the Perpetual Fund. Activators vote to select semi-finalist and, subsequently, finalist Ventures. Ventures are led and majority-owned by women and non-binary folks. They can be for profit, not for profit, or a charity that generates revenue and can pay back a loan. Ventures receive zero-interest loans, coaching, and support from the SheEO community.
Over 100 US ventures applied to be 2022 SheEO Ventures. Five ventures were selected by Activators as finalists. The five ventures selected include:
- Access Trax empowers people with physical disabilities to easily access outdoor terrain & recreation using our modular, ADA compliant, portable access mats.
- Mohala Eyewear designs inclusive eyewear (3 nose bridge options, widths and adjustable frames) and every pair sold sends a girl to school at Room to Read.
- Remark Glass is a zero-waste certified, woman owned business focused on innovative and creative glass reuse.
- Saathi addresses lack of access to menstrual products in a sustainable way by making 100% biodegradable & compostable sanitary pads from banana & bamboo fiber.
- Youme Healthcare is a digital pediatric mental health company for the forgotten children on Medicaid.
Participating in the voting process was an enlightening experience. In the past, I have analyzed start-ups for investment. However, it was glorious and a unique experience to review 13 semi-finalist ventures run by brilliant and motivated women and non-binary folks, many of whom were Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Activators reviewed the pitch videos, financial models, and business plan overviews of the semi-finalists. We selected five finalists based on diversity, our excitement about the venture and entrepreneur, growth potential, and impact potential.
New to 2022, SheEO offers four online courses or Learning Circle Tracks. They include: Mindset, Finance, Systems, Venture. Each track includes a six-session learning session that happens virtually once per month. The tracks are led by women and non-binary thought leaders and SheEO community members. The tracks enable Activators to learn tools and insight into becoming entrepreneurs, leaders and enablers of change. The overview for the Finance Track can be seen in the image below.
Learning Track Experience
The Learning Circle Tracks are a well-organized opportunity to learn about the selected topic. Inspiration played a major part of the courses that I have so far attended. The courses also provide an opportunity to meet other Activators and coaches who speak during the sessions. Like all other SheEO events that I have attended, Activators share their LinkedIn profiles with each other, as a way to connect.
Networking opportunities are at every corner for SheEO Activators. They include:
- A new Activator introductory welcome call with a current Activator
- Monthly events for new Activators
- Regularly “SheEO Connects” events where Activators chat for 7 minutes with other Activators. This event made me wish that all networking events could be as well organized, with such warm welcomes from other attendees.
- Slack – there is a very active SheEO Slack community with channels for announcements, amplification requests, introductions, events and more.
- Ask/Give platform (a Slack channel connected to a separate app)
- Monthly group meetings for Black, Queer, or Indigenous Activators.
Networking Experience: My SheEO Highlight
The highlight of SheEO for me is the amazing networking opportunity. The power of the SheEO network has been clear to me from the start. When I was deciding if I wanted to become an Activator, I reached out on LinkedIn to a number of current Activators. Strategically, Activators have on their LinkedIn profiles that they “work” at SheEO as an Activator. Everyone that I contacted replied to me astonishingly quickly. They all expressed how happy they were with being part of the SheEO community.
This type of friendliness and willingness to assist is what makes SheEO so special. We are all there to help each other. SheEO has built an impressive platform that enables radical generosity and support.
The cost to join the US SheEO community is $92 per month or $1100 annually. As a US Activator, your contribution goes to the SheEO Radical Generosity Fund at Philanthropic Ventures Foundation. The contribution for US Activators is therefore tax-deductible. The cost is prohibitively high for many women and non-binary people. SheEO offers a “Gifted Activation” for a limited number of people.
I am very impressed by the SheEO community. The Activators truly aim to elevate each other. SheEO staff is friendly, helpful and engaged. Events are well-organized and useful. The Venture voting process allowed me to see that my funds are going directly to impactful ventures led by inspirational women and non-binary people. The networking opportunities are endless and amazingly welcoming. As an added cherry on top, my contribution to the ventures is tax-deductible.