SheEO Magazine | Issue 01 | March 2020

Page 1


WO R K I N G O N T H E WO R L D ’ S TO - D O L I S T

WO R K I N G O N T H E WO R L D ’ S TO - D O L I S T

Selma Blair + BE Alink

Ask & Give: the impact








I S S U E 01  | MARCH 2020


IN? PLUS  Vicki Saunders: the founder’s story Tracy Gray: the Activator raising capital for minority-led businesses MJ Ryan: how to connect during times of stress by tending and befriending Inclusive workforce: employing people who find it hard to get jobs Sherry Deutschmann: putting her employees first Fixing broken models: Farm From a Box improves world access to food

01_Selma cover_D11.indd 1


21/02/20 9:53 AM

HSBC Bank Canada is proud to champion diversity and inclusion initiatives in Canada and across the globe.

We celebrate the innovators, activators and change-makers from the global SheEO Community. An inspiring group of women working to ignite ideas and shift mindsets to drive change.


Contents ISSUE 01

Cover story THE ALINKER

BE Alink creates a vehicle for social change. p28


takes the Alinker to a global audience. p36 COVER PH OTO GARTH BADG E R



4  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  C O N T E N T S










Women backing women. 26 / SPOTLIGHT Better Packaging Co gets grounded.

28 / COVER STORY The inventor transforming the lives of society’s most marginalized with her bike, the Alinker.

36 / SELMA’S STORY Hollywood star Selma Blair smiles when she’s on the bike.



Feel the rhythm of SheEO.

BMO have EQ with Heartbeat Ai.


8 / HOW IT WORKS Explaining the SheEO model.




Hundreds of thousands of dollars in flow with the Ventures funded since 2015.



SheEO in the media.

Loliware: carbon neutral + world positive.

11 / FOUNDER’S NOTE 14 / BREAKING THE MOLD Meet SheEO founder Vicki Saunders, the unstoppable force putting generosity at the heart of business.

20 / WHERE IN THE WORLD SheEO’s global reach at a glance – where to next?

22 / MEET THE COUNTRY LEAD New Zealand’s Theresa Gattung.

Want to contribute? We are looking for photographers, writers, illustrators and all-round amazing people to be a part of our SheEO Magazine team. Send an email with your portfolio to







C O N T E N T S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   5





Radical generosity starts right here. 56 / TRACY GRAY Funding minority-led enterprises is good for business.

60 / WHY DO YOU ACTIVATE? We put the question to seven women who have funded our Ventures.

64 / POWER TO THE PEOPLE Sherry Deutschmann, the Nashville businesswoman proving it pays to put your employees first.

66 / PATHWAY TO PROGRESS Harnessing the collective wisdom of indigenous women for corporate good.

70 / LOOKING OUT How travelling has given Canadian entrepreneur Susie Pan new insights into business.

76 / THE JET PROPULSION EFFECT We have all we need in our community to grow your business.



New mindset

Radically re-working the narrative. 82 / TEND AND BEFRIEND MJ Ryan explores a female response to stress that can create positive outcomes.

88 / EVERYONE’S INCLUDED Creating opportunities for people normally excluded from the workforce.

94 / ASK GIVE What would you do differently in your business if you were surrounded by radically generous women?

100 / THE WORLD’S TO-DO LIST This issue we focus on the environment.

106 / WHEEL OF GENEROSITY Five acts of radical generosity that made us smile.

6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  C O N T E N T S


New model Let’s rebuild, better.

98 / GOING FURTHER THAN FINANCE Abeego’s founder on how her relationship with RBC has boosted her business confidence.

108 / ARE YOU SURE YOU NEED MONEY? Joy Anderson says a barrier to growth isn’t always a lack of funds.

112 / A MEASURE OF INTEGRITY How far can ‘true cost accounting’ incentivize a shift towards sustainable development?


115 / AN AMBITIOUS ENTERPRISE How will Canada double the number of women entrepreneurs by 2025?


116 / THINKING INSIDE THE BOX Helping build strong livelihoods through sustainable farming.

120 / BOOTSTRAP OR BORROW? The best way to get your business off the ground.





p101 PRINTER: TC Transcontinental Printing Printed in Canada

NADA p121

Published by Spectre Publishing Limited, New Zealand © Copyright 2020. Articles and illustrations may not be reproduced in any form without the permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of, nor endorsed by, Spectre Publishing Limited, unless stated otherwise. While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy at the time of printing, the publisher shall not be held responsible for any actions taken as a consequence of information contained in this publication.

C O N T E N T S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   7

How it works SheEO is radically transforming how we finance, support and celebrate women-led Ventures that are creating a better world.

500+ ACTIVATORS make a radically generous contribution of...

$1100/ÂŁ850 to create a perpetual fund to be invested into...

5+ VENTURES who receive the funding as a 0% interest loan...

PAID BACK OVER 5 YEARS and loaned out again to support new Ventures

Suzanne Barr chef, author, restaurateur



Ed itor’s note


ABOVE: Selma Blair, BE Alink and I get close with a hug and a laugh. RIGHT: Publisher Mat Tomlinson provides his grade-A ironing skills so BE’s black shirt is photoshoot-ready.

ast year Vicki Saunders eyeballed me at dinner. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” she asked. “Let’s start a magazine.” So we did. And here is the first issue. As I write this, I am imagining you reading it. It’s making me smile; what an exciting thought! You are choosing to read a magazine about women who are solving the biggest problems in the world by being kind. I am incredibly proud to be the editor of this magazine.

design a product to suit the people who need it. The Alinker includes more people and it makes them happy. Go online and find the video of BE delivering Selma’s bike to her in Chicago where she’s having treatment for multiple sclerosis. It’s shocking how powerful the bike is in changing the lives of the people who need it, and therefore our world.

On my kitchen wall is a framed sign with our family rules: have fun and be kind. I don’t think there’s anything in life that should fall outside of those parameters. Every person who features in this magazine has kindness hardwired into their

Straight after the shoot, Selma and BE announce the 100th Alinker has been crowdfunded.

thing becomes a worry. We all took away with us an echo of her sunny smile; her booming, raucous humour; and her huge generosity in supporting our first issue. One of my favourite ideas in the magazine comes from Tracy Gray, who raises funding for minority-led businesses. She wants a future where organisations like SheEO aren’t needed, because all financial systems are based on radical generosity. It’s a massive dream. But it’s possible. Look at everything the women in these pages have already achieved. Read this first issue and allow your brain to become warm and energized by the stories. Think about the kind of world you’d like to live in, and take a step forward to create it. Who’s in? I am! Are you?

business model, or they’ve done something generous to help someone else. We chose BE to be on the cover because her bike, the Alinker, stands for everything we stand for. BE had to entirely rethink the industry to

We had no idea before we arrived at the cover shoot how multiple sclerosis affects Selma. She said it’s like a snowflake disease; no one’s symptoms are the same. She said that sometimes her spasms keep her awake at night long into the hours when every tiny

Editor of SheEO Magazine.

E D I T O R ’ S N O T E   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   9



Global news

How SheEO is making headlines and shaping conversations around the globe.

Get Social We love to hear from you!


1 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  P R E S S





Fou nder’s note become clear that if women were funding and supporting the kinds of businesses we most resonate with, the economy would look much different than our current one does. And the good news is we have all that we need to start changing our world for the better.

Our Credo


elcome to the inaugural issue of SheEO Magazine. We arrive at a critical point in time where billions of people are seeking a kinder and more inclusive economic model that focuses on wellbeing, innovative solutions for our climate emergency, transformative models to reduce inequality, and an overarching spirit of generosity and community to support one another in these challenging times.

At SheEO we practise Radical Generosity, which we believe is core to creating a new model and a better world. We have all that we need in this network to reach our potential. If you need something, ask. If you have something to give, please offer it. We are all at different stages and ages and we come from different experiences. We are here with our sleeves rolled up, ready to help one another. This is a co-created environment built on trust. We are creating a space for women to thrive on their own terms. We take our time, and we consider the future. We celebrate and embolden each other.

This SheEO community is a labor of love by thousands of women around the world who showed up in the spirit of radical generosity to support one another. Issue number one is dedicated to all of you amazing Activators who trusted in a new model and showed up, sleeves rolled up, ready to help. We are learning that we have all that we need when we are in community together to care for one another, to support one another’s dreams and to co-create a world that works for all of us.

We amplify each other’s voices. This magazine is full of examples of how We own our greatness. women are rethinking business, inventing For those with a desire new models of work, and pioneering new Are you IN? to lead change, we hope solutions for pressing issues we all face. this magazine will Activators and Ventures in deep inspire and give you collaboration with one another are insights to invent new – or surface old – models that creating entirely new conditions for success. We are serve humanity and the planet for the benefit of all. learning that if you change the process, you can change We need imagination like never before, and this issue the outcomes. is full of great ideas, radical resets and pathways Together, we have all that we need. Getting out of to change. isolation and into community is the pathway to change. And you’ll hear from Ventures and Activators in this issue how that shift is opening up possibilities we couldn’t have imagined before we all came together.

Our hope in publishing all of these stories together in one format is that we begin to paint the picture of our collective power to co-create the kind of world we want to see. When you line up all these stories it starts to

Founder of SheEO Organisation.

F O U N D E R ’ S N O T E   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 1

Continue the conversation SheEO.World is a podcast about redesigning the world. In each episode, SheEO founder Vicki Saunders sits down with incredible women who are redesigning, reimagining and rethinking the systems we live in to solve the biggest challenges of our times. Google | iTunes | Spotify

POPULAR PODCASTS: Transforming the ‘sick care’ industry with BE Alink, The Alinker Increasing food access at home and abroad with Brandi DeCarli, Farm From a Box Growing Your Business in Community with Bethany Deshpande, SomaDetect NEW EPISODES AVAILABLE NOW



Com mu nit y BREAKING THE MOLD Vicki Saunders and the journey to SheEO


Meet the New Zealand country lead, Theresa Gattung


C O M M U N I T Y / V E N T U R E S / A C T I VATO R S / N E W M I N D S E T / N E W M O D E L C O M M U N I T Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 3


1 4  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  C O M M U N I T Y


Breaking the mold You can’t have a magazine about SheEO without the story of how the movement started. Vicki Saunders is the woman behind the radical change in the way we do business. WO R DS E M MA TAY LO R / PH OTOS DAH LIA K ATZ + S U PPLI E D


t’s not easy describing SheEO to someone who’s never heard of it. “It’s a 0% interest loan and those giving the money don’t get it back. Ventures apply for a loan answering just 10 questions. Then, those who contribute money decide which Ventures receive the loan. We’re just going to trust people to pay it back. We’re just going to trust everyone to step forward.” It’s far from a traditional pitch, but the idea of radical generosity and women succeeding in business on their own terms are central to the SheEO model. It’s also central to Vicki’s mentality. Having co-founded and run ventures across Europe, Silicon Valley and Toronto, where she took a company public on the Toronto Stock Exchange, she’s no stranger to doing things differently in order to succeed. I first met Vicki in 2017 when she launched SheEO in New Zealand, I was 25 and working my first job out of university and, quite frankly, I felt intimidated. What could I ask this woman that would be interesting – she’s fronted seven initiatives dedicated to enriching the world! I have to google what venture capital is, so how could I comprehend a new business model taking an industry I didn’t fully understand by storm?

That’s the thing with SheEO though; it’s for everyone and anyone who wants to make a difference. And within a few minutes of talking to Vicki, I felt at ease – if not in total awe. This woman had done something we all wish for – she’s facilitated opportunities for women to thrive, while also creating a better future. She made it seem so obvious, I was curious why no one had done it before her. Which made me wonder; what is it that drives someone to do something that should’ve been done before now? Vicki was living in Prague when the Berlin Wall came down. “The world completely changed overnight from ‘there’s a tank in

Since 1997 Vicki has fronted seven initiatives dedicated to enriching the world and empowering business leaders, especially females.

C O M M U N I T Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 5


Vicki with New Zealand country lead Theresa Gattung.

Imagine a neighborhood full of women built on the values of kindness and support. They’re all happy to lend a hand in someone else’s garden or loan a cup of sugar.

Her most recent venture, SheEO, is what we are here to talk about. So, what is it, how does it work and what in the world is radical generosity?

your country and you’re captive’ to ‘everybody’s free’.” Suddenly, people were living in the free world with dreams, skills and ideas. Things they wanted to act on. How do you create an environment for them to thrive? It was these questions that influenced Vicki to become the entrepreneur she is today. “I wanted to know how you go further than what people think is possible for them. It’s not telling people to step over one another to win, it’s about surrounding them with people who truly want to help.”

Imagine a neighborhood full of women built on the values of kindness and support. They’re all happy to lend a hand in someone else’s garden or loan a cup of sugar. Those are the women who are part of the global community across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. These women, known as Activators, pledge $1100 (£850 in the United Kingdom), which goes into a pool of capital. The Activators do not get their money back; instead, they become part of a community and support female entrepreneurs who are benefiting humanity. They also get to vote on the Ventures who receive a loan.

Since 1997 Vicki has fronted seven initiatives dedicated to enriching the world and empowering business leaders, especially females. She’s spun out 14 new business in one summer with entrepreneurs under 24 and helped millions of employees create sustainable lifestyles. In other words, she truly wants to help.

Female entrepreneurs, known as Ventures, apply by answering just 10 questions such as ‘What is your vision?’, ‘Why you?’, ‘Why now?’ and ‘What are your top business challenges?’ The rules are simple; your business must have generated between $50,000 and $2,000,000 in revenue within a certain time frame, be helping to create a better

world, majority women-owned (51%) and majority women-led. Those who receive the loan then have to pay it back over five years, with 20% of the money coming back each year and new Ventures being funded. Really it’s simple, a perpetual fund to support women for generations to come, “Imagine if a million women crowdfunded with $1000 each, a billion-dollar fund. And we left it as a legacy on the planet to fund female entrepreneurs.” The framework began in 2013 as a 10week programme for female founders under 40 in tech and social. These women contributed $5000 each, so there was a $50,000 pot. Then, like SheEO today, the women divided up the money among the Ventures. After running three programs, Vicki was able to correct any bugs; she realised it had to be longer than 10 weeks, Ventures needed to be farther along, and more women were needed to fund it. Throughout the process, Vicki realised everyone was talking about venture capital as the only way to fund your business, something she saw as a problem. Think of it like this; 98% of




Activate ‘97


The NRG Group

Worked with 54 young entrepreneurs aged 14-24, to establish businesses.

Cultivated 20 new businesses and trained over 1000 teens.

Invested up to $250,000 to early-stage web business.

Seven Quests

Vicki’s journey to SheEO A story of paving and creating new mindsets, new models, and new solutions for a better world.

1 6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  C O M M U N I T Y


Imagine if a million women crowdfunded with $1000 each, a billion-dollar fund. And we left it as a legacy on the planet to fund female entrepreneurs.







Canada innovation


Created sustainable strategies to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.

Co-founded a platform to help employees create sustainable lifestyles and engage customers toward meaningful change.

Began to advise and absorb the Created a global community of innovation ecosystem to understand women committed to changing how the nuance of the question ‘Why female entrepreneurs are financed, aren’t we measuring the right things?’ supported and celebrated.

C O M M U N I T Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 7


Vicki with her husband Richard Ford.

1 8  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  C O M M U N I T Y


“I just turned 50 and I thought, I actually know what I’m talking about here. I’d been an entrepreneur in residence and I just saw the ‘bro-ness’ of everything. It’s way worse than it was 20 years ago.”

businesses are small or medium, like the plumber you use or the small grocer you frequent. They get profitable quickly, but they often stay small or close because they can’t get the money they need from investors to grow. For many women in business, it’s the same. “You’re stuck as a female entrepreneur. Less than 5% of female founders go over $1 million in revenue because of that,”




says Vicki. “However, if we surround these women with people that want to help them, you find it’s more powerful than money.”

like ‘crushing it’, ‘nailing it’, ‘killing it’. She realised there was no kindness factor in business, which is how radical generosity, the heart of SheEO, came about.

SheEO is proving that idea correct. It has funded 63 Ventures at the time of print, with numerous stories of growth and scale. In the United States and Canada, only 4% of venture capital is awarded to women-led ventures and less than 1% of corporate contracts go to women. These statistics are terrible. It has to change.

Radical generosity is more than just contributing money; it’s the spirit underneath it all. It’s sharing your wealth whether that’s money, time, contacts, social media know-how or a listening ear. Think of the gardening assistance or sugar borrowed in our neighborhoods founded on radical generosity – you don’t ask for your time or sugar back, and if you’re lucky you get to benefit from the final creation.

“This has been going on for 20 years and, despite us knowing these numbers, nothing’s changed. That’s why we need to do something different.” Since launching in Canada in 2015, the initiative has generated $4 million in loans, proving that doing something different works. To be clear, SheEO isn’t anti-men. It’s just that there are a lot of pathways out there for men to succeed, ones with aspects that do not work for women. “I had turned 50 and I thought, I actually know what I’m talking about here. I’d been an entrepreneur in residence and I saw the ‘bro-ness’ of everything. It’s way worse than it was 20 years ago and I wondered how I could create an environment to support women on their own terms.” Vicki thought about her mother and her friends and how they spoke and supported one another through kindness and generosity, which created a loving, welcoming environment where people can succeed. It struck her that we didn’t have any power words for being nice to each other; it was all sport or war metaphors

“At SheEO we say ‘If you need something, ask. If you have something to give, please offer it’. Together we can work on the world’s to-do list and support one another.” This is a new leadership style everyone can benefit from because it allows people to run their business the way they want to. Vicki does and always has felt we need to change the way we look at wealth, often posing one simple question – why do we feel the need to hold on to wealth so tightly? “At the moment, eight men have the same wealth as 3.5 billion people. That’s absurd. Wouldn’t it be a better world for all if we spread it around? We have enough for everyone to thrive. Currency should be in flow all the time.” The promising thing is, it’s working. “I think it’s the beginning of showing it’s possible to run a business in different ways.” It’s a radical concept, one that could become the future. Imagine that. VICKISAUNDERS.COM C O M M U N I T Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 9


“Women in our country need a stronger sense of empowerment.”


- Asha, Philippines


Canada 2013: The home of SheEO. It all started here in Toronto.

305 United States 2016: Next year the USA will have a perpetual fund. Money in flow, forever. What a legacy.

Where in the world We are in Canada, USA, New Zealand, Australia and UK already, with applications from 70 other nations asking us to bring SheEO to their country. Where will we go next?

2 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  C O M M U N I T Y




“The most active and vibrant time for women is between 20 and 40 years old and we often spend it in households raising children. Why should we let go of our skills, dreams and visions because of these responsibilities?”



- Sanjida, Bangladesh


United Kingdom The UK joined in 2019 during the Extinction Rebellion movements across the city.

Australia 2018: The highest percentage of Activators who vote for their Ventures are here in Australia.

New Zealand 2017: The third country to join. Also the home of this mag!

“I want to join as an Activator, then bring SheEO to Colombia and apply as a Venture for my new business idea.” - Maria, Colombia


C O M M U N I T Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   2 1


Meet the country lead

Theresa Gattung N EW Z E A L A N D

The driving force behind getting SheEO beyond North America and into the southern hemisphere was Theresa Gattung, a leading New Zealand businesswoman and philanthropist. I NTE RVI E W E LLY S TR A N G / PH OTOS GA RTH BADG E R

C O M M U N I T Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   2 3


“I could feel the energy swell as Vicki spoke, and 300 women signed up to an Activator waiting list.”


Top a n d bot tom : There s a at She EO event s in N ew Zealand . M id d le: My Food B ag board of direc tors .

SHEEO: WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO BRING SHEEO TO NEW ZEALAND? THERESA: I saw Vicki speak at a women’s conference in San Francisco in 2017. I knew straight away that SheEO would fit the New Zealand psychology. We are a nation of people who are comfortable solving problems. There’s a phrase here: ‘The number 8 wire mentality’. Number 8 wire is a steel wire used to keep sheep in paddocks which is durable and adaptable. As we’re a long way from anywhere else in the world, for many years it was tricky to import spare parts, so Number 8 wire has been used to fix or invent throughout our history. That scarcity of parts and products coupled with a need to push our country forward through isolated times has given us a can-do attitude of ingenuity and resourcefulness. SheEO is an obvious fit. 2 4  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  C O M M U N I T Y

WERE THERE ANY TEETHING PROBLEMS? I brought Vicki to New Zealand to speak at a women’s conference. I could feel the energy swell as she spoke, and 300 women signed up to an Activator waiting list. Then things slowed down, because we had to work out how to set it up here; SheEO isn’t a charity, it’s about reimagining business. But the fund was loaned out without interest. We were all acting out of generosity – we didn’t want it to be taxed. The world is moving to this intersection of making money and doing good, but the legal and financial framework doesn’t always support that. HOW DID YOU FIND A WAY AROUND THAT? With the support of Australasian bank Westpac, SheEO got a bank account in New Zealand. We launched in October 2017 and the first round closed in March with 440 women. When you consider that there are only 2.5 million women in New Zealand compared with 166 million in the USA and 19 million in Canada, that’s a high proportion of women practising radical generosity. HOW DID YOU EMBARK ON THE LAUNCH AND SPREADING THE WORD ABOUT SHEEO? It’s been hard, to be honest. I have a great network in New Zealand within both the corporate and start-up world. First of all, I used all my own networks and held events at venues and in people’s homes, too. They brought their friends and I spoke. I got other people who believed in SheEO and got them to help, like people who are better involved in the venture community. I’d also be reading about interesting companies and email or text them.


Career highlights 1999 CEO of Telecom First woman to lead a large public company. Leads the telco provider through the world’s fast changing tech space and repositions them as New Zealand’s largest IT provider from 1999 to 2007.

There s a with B arack O bama in Auckland , March 201 8 . O bama’s visit to N ew Zealand was sponsored by Air N ew Zealand , Mas terc ard and We s tpac .

“People are approaching me, and we’ve had about 100 Ventures apply each year. It’s always hard to pick the final five – the Ventures are always fantastic.”


166m 19m 2.5m Canada

New Zealand


HOW IS SHEEO NEW ZEALAND TRACKING NOW, THREE YEARS IN? It has a life of its own. Now, people are approaching me, and we’ve had about 100 ventures apply each year. It’s always hard to pick the final five – the Ventures are always fantastic. Beany [a 2019 New Zealand Venture] will be going to the global Summit in Canada in 2020 to do their global launch there and use the committed SheEO Activators as a way into offshore markets. AS SHEEO EXPANDS INTO OTHER COUNTRIES, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN WHO ARE THINKING ABOUT WHETHER THEY COULD BE A COUNTRY LEAD? You really have to be very well connected, because you’ve got to start with your own connections. For me, it’s entirely voluntary. You have to have the time, the energy, the passion, and the contacts. Also, Australia has two country leads, so if you are in a bigger country, you may need a few of you.

2010 Chair of AIA Australia Theresa becomes Chair of AIA Australia, Australia’s largest life group insurance company.

2013 Co-founder My Food Bag Now an entrepreneur, Theresa helps build one of the country’s most successful start-ups. The food delivery company grew to $100 million in annual revenue in its first three years.

2015 Co-founder World Women Theresa co-founds the World Women Charitable Trust, a forum for women to share knowledge, examine issues from a different perspective, and challenge the status quo. The same year she is made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy.

2017 Brings SheEO to New Zealand Theresa brings SheEO founder Vicki Saunders to speak at the worldwomen17 conference in Auckland; 300 women sign up to an Activator waiting list.

THERESAGATTUNG.COM C O M M U N I T Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   2 5



The Better Packaging Co New Zealand You know you’re onto a good thing when you’re showing off about being a real dirt bag. Friends Becs Percasky and Kate Bezar have developed courier packaging which biodegrades. The bags act like plastic – they are hardy and waterproof – but they are bio-based, which means they are partly made of plants. They are compostable at home, and you can reuse them time after time. With warehousing in the US and the UK, they sell worldwide. We love their honesty, too. They say, “Our range has environmental benefits and, let’s face it, shortcomings. Rest assured, we are still looking for the perfect solution, but in the meantime, what we’ve found is WAY better!”

Becs and Kate met while living on the world’s most beautiful tiny islands, Waiheke, off the coast of New Zealand. They are working towards a zero waste world.

2 6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  S P O T L I G H T



Let ’s roll


C O M M U N I T Y / V E N T U R E S / A C T I VATO R S / N E W M I N D S E T / N E W M O D E L V E N T U R E S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   2 7





Vehicle for change

How BE Alink is improving the inclusion of society’s most marginalised – such as older people and those with disabilities – thanks to her bike, the Alinker. WO R DS E LLY S TR A N G / PH OTOS GARTH BADG E R / S U PPLI E D

C O V E R S T O R Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   2 9



ver my dead body will I ever use one of those things. It was her mother’s remark about mobility scooters that turned BE Alink from a woodworker and architect to an inventor.

“Existing medical devices like wheelchairs and mobility scooters only emphasize the disability; they are made for a body with a problem instead of humans who want to stay active,” BE says. And so she came up with the Alinker – a bright yellow, three-wheeled walking bike. Netherlands-born BE – she’s Barbara Elizabeth, but prefers BE – had been working with international aid organizations on reconstruction projects across the world, from Africa to Afghanistan. She founded a woodwork vocational school for street boys and girls and a school for the deaf in Kenya. However, disillusioned with the politics of it all, she headed back to Vancouver. Then came the epiphany with her mother. She decided to create a device 3 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  C O V E R S T O R Y

for those who want to be active, regardless of their physical capability or age. How would I want to live, thought BE, if I were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis or suffered from a spinal cord injury, a stroke, Parkinson’s, had a limb amputated or any other number of things that happen unexpectedly? Not in pity or disdain, that was for certain. The Alinker puts you at eye level with everyone else, and allows more freedom for those capable of a range of movement, from very little to lots. It’s bright yellow, and looks cool. So anyone would use it regardless of what’s going on with your body. There are no pedals, you can glide around with ease as your weight is supported by the seat, with no stress on the lower body. Your legs can swing a little to help move it forward. BE zooms around everywhere on it. It’s interesting that when you look at someone on an Alinker, your brain doesn’t make any of the usual unconsciously biased assumptions that it does when you see someone in a wheelchair or using a cane. It’s also a lot lighter than a motorised scooter. With an arched aluminium frame, it weighs in at 26lb and is foldable. To collapse

B E is of ten a keynote speaker and has spoken at TEDx in Vancouver.


C O V E R S T O R Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   3 1


3 2  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  C O V E R S T O R Y


“I wanted to design something so cool that people would love to use it, something that would overcome the divide between people with and without disabilities.”

and put in the car, you just remove the quick release wheels and saddle, bringing the weight down to just 21lb. The bike also grabs people’s attention, with passers-by often stopping to ask, ‘What is that?’ “I wanted to design something so cool that people would love to use it, something that would overcome the divide between people with and without disabilities,” BE explains. The isolation and poverty that sickness and disability create are bigger diseases than the problems that caused them in the first place. The Alinker removes isolation. You can join in conversations, you can get around with ease, and your body stays active.

B E Alink : “ My f ull name is B arbara Elizabeth Alink . I have never liked my firs t name. When I shor tened my name to B E Alink , I liked it . E specially in c apitals . I thought yeah , that ’s who I am! ”

The Alinker first launched to market in the Netherlands via a crowdfunding campaign in 2014 and then two years later into the North American market. It was also around this point that BE was introduced to Vicki Saunders and the SheEO network. The fit was obvious; both organisations are redesigning systems to change the status quo and empower disenfranchised people to live on their own terms. The introduction couldn’t have come at a better time. BE was struggling to get the funding she needed through traditional methods of capital raising, as the business didn’t fit the cookie cutter model for investment. This took a toll on her mental health, and she began to lose faith in the world around her. Being introduced to Vicki “totally saved my life”, BE says. “I was not in a good way. Business was hard and I needed money, but I was going into boardrooms with mostly white guys telling me to bootstrap more because their risk was too high. With a physical product, it’s really hard to get investors involved; really, really hard. I did have a few angels along the way, but in general they want something like an app where they’ll make 10 times the revenue in five years.” BE applied for Alinker to be a SheEO Venture in North America in 2016. When it was announced that they had made it into the top five SheEO Canadian Ventures to receive funding, she was ecstatic. C O V E R S T O R Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   3 3


“One minute I was in survival mode, the next I was with a group of women who were saying ‘Here we are. We want you to succeed. What do you need?’”

“I cried my head off because I knew my life was going to change from now on. One minute I was in survival mode, the next, I was with a group of women who were saying ‘Here we are. We want you to succeed. What do you need?’ It made me so much more powerful. I use the phrases SheEO uses about themselves to describe the Alinker, like being a vehicle for social change, and #RadicalGenerosity. With Vicki being another visionary, it was like finding a sister,” she says.

The bike has received global attention – and one of its most famous advocates is American actress Selma Blair, who was recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Selma became aware of the bike thanks to Joe Revello, the Alinker’s first United States user. He was regularly googling terms such as “futuristic walking device” to try to stay active despite having MS. He finally tracked down the Alinker when it was still in the prototyping phase in Amsterdam, and was an instant cheerleader. Revello rode past Selma on an Alinker at the Tisch MS Research Center, in New York – just a few months before the actress made headlines by turning up at the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscars Party using a cane – her first public appearance since announcing she had MS. Shortly after, the star was gifted her own Alinker bike by actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler and posted a picture of the bike on Instagram. BE recalls: “I sat on the couch in Vicki’s room and my phone wouldn’t stop buzzing. I was like, ‘What is happening?’ Selma Blair’s Instagram post sent everything berserk.” Since Selma has shared her discovery of the Alinker with her two million strong following, the story spread and the business has grown exponentially. Many, many more people now have access to these life-changing bikes. Selma and BE have also teamed up to support crowdfund campaigns for people who can’t afford the USD$1977 retail price. BE calls it the ‘Selma fund’.

3 4  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  C O V E R S T O R Y

B E and her par tner Vane s s a enjoying a moment together before the photoshoot with S elma in Los Angele s .

CROWDFUNDING THE ALINKER Many people who’d benefit from an Alinker don’t have access to the funds to buy one. Disability and sickness dramatically reduce your ability to earn, increasing the cycle of isolation. The crowdfunding campaigns are about sharing. Most of us have no idea what life is like when you live with disabilities. Some people share their experiences on their campaign, others share their funds to support the campaigns. It is not about asking for money, it is about creating an opportunity for people to learn how life is for others, and show up with generosity. Being generous resonates with who we are as humans. When you practise it, you feel so much better. To contribute towards an Alinker campaign head to... FUNDRAZR.COM/ FAMILY4SELMA2019


“Most people don’t want to use wheelchairs and walkers because they aren’t the right tool for the job, and worse, they feel stigmatized.”

The farm is a place for people who want to belong, who want help and support to live the way they want to live. BE says people will have access to healthy food grown locally in their hub, be seen, loved and acknowledged as human beings and have a space to heal, connect and network with others.

All this makes you wonder, why hasn’t someone invented something like this before? Because, says BE, the healthcare system only kicks in when you are sick. She calls it the ‘sickcare’ system.

MS or anyone else at all. It’s never

“The systems are not broken. They’re extremely sophisticated and very efficient at serving the people who run them. They’re just not designed for how we want to live,” she says. “Most people don’t want to use wheelchairs; they are static so any mobility reduces even more, and there’s a risk of related disease. Worse, they feel stigmatized.”

doing any job, I’d still have the same

For BE, the Alinker is a lifestyle tool rather than a mobility device. “It’s for who we want to be, whether that’s an active person who happens to have

campaigns and work in customer service

focused on the circumstances or the materialistic stuff around it. I still don’t see myself as an entrepreneur – I just get on and do things I believe in. I could be thoughts. My thoughts are manifesting themselves through the Alinker right now.” After witnessing the many social determinants of health that are not being addressed with disenfranchised groups, The Alinker Family LLC was established, employing Alinker users to run roles, and together they are building a farm in Kentucky that will be a hub for a community to flourish on a local scale.

“At the moment, we don’t show up for each other and we just dismiss and isolate people and put them on antidepressants. When we build an inclusive community, people do not have to face isolation. That’s why we’re building a community on a farm,” she says. “People are like, ‘Weren’t you selling bikes?’ But when we start telling the bigger story of what we actually want to build – a world where we can live to our full potential – the Alinker just becomes a vehicle for that change. It’s not a change in the world, it’s a change in ourselves. What world do I want to live in, who do I want to be? Then build exactly that. It’s very simple, really.” THEALINKER.COM THE_ALINKER_WORLD C O V E R S T O R Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   3 5


Selma’s story Actress Selma Blair appeared at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party in 2019 with a cane. She’d just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and it became worldwide news. Here Selma reveals how her Alinker bike is bringing her joy. I NTE RVI E W J E N N Y R U D D / PH OTOS GARTH BADG E R


he first time I got on the Alinker, I couldn’t stop smiling. I was at a multiple sclerosis specialist in New York City and had come across an Alinker in the hallway. As I passed I thought how nice and bright it was.

And I didn’t even use it as it’s designed, because I just didn’t trust myself to sit on it properly – my feet don’t usually stay flat to the ground. It was a new feeling and really comfortable. Everyone’s multiple sclerosis presents differently. Mine can look a bit like Parkinson’s in how it affects my speech and the way I walk. When I saw a replay of a video of myself on the Alinker I could see how much more of myself I became when riding it. I was animated, moving smoothly, not dragging my body around. So I posted a pic online and that’s how BE and I made contact.

3 6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  C O V E R S T O R Y


Se l m a is able to hold hands with f riends thank s to the f reedom the Alinker give s her.

We ordered one to be delivered to Chicago where I was having stem cell transplants. But instead of shipping one to me, BE drove 1500 miles and delivered it to me in person. That was in July 2019. It made the whole experience in Chicago so much more enjoyable. It meant that on the few times I was out of isolation in my hospital room, I could move. The multiple sclerosis had all come on very fast and strong. While I was very accepting of the situation, I probably was in a bit of denial too, thinking I could do more than I really could. I had got myself in a bit of a pickle as I wanted to be able to move around and be a mom to my son. So for BE to drive all the way to Chicago was huge. Not only did she invent the bike which has been so helpful for all of us, but she also took the time to bring it to me, meet and connect. Which is very much about what the Alinker stands for. That’s the reason you find yourself attracted to the whole Alinker community beyond the bikes. It’s really people acknowledging and listening to each other. That way we can all become each others’ cheerleaders. That helps us to feel better regardless of our situation. When I first posted the photo of me on the Alinker, it got so much traction. You don’t really see celebrities when they are in a state of what’s perceived to be falling down or struggling. But I happen to have an interest in that so I’m happy to share what I’m going through. I like

seeing how people come back to life or take news. That’s me. I like stories. There are always people who will be positive and pleased that you have found something like the Alinker to help you. And then there are others who are angry, and say things like, ‘Oh it’s alright for you; I couldn’t afford anything like that.’ It’s horrible, as I can see how upset they are. They feel backed into a corner, and may not be able to see the possibilities they have to help themselves. And it was BE that taught me to have a look and think about how the Alinker works. The crowdfunding campaigns we run are an essential part of the connection and the story of the Alinker. We could just give handouts, but more often than not, handouts don’t have the desired result. It’s good to really take ownership of asking for help and looking around for how that help might take shape. If you know people are invested in your recovery, or your life – I mean, we are all this

“While I was very accepting of the situation, I was probably in a bit of denial too, thinking I could do more than I really could.”

together – then it’s a huge force of healing and good, no matter what your situation is. Asking for help and support, and sharing stories together is a big part of healing. I’m happy when I am on the Alinker. It takes so much of my energy to appear normal. Because appearing normal is more comfortable for everyone, including me. I like to fit in and move quickly. And doing everything I want to do takes a lot of energy. When I really want to go farther than my body will allow me to, daily, I bring the Alinker out. My speech is better on the bike too because my brain is having to deal with less instruction and body mechanics while I’m sitting on the bike. And I have fewer spasms. One of my legs causes more problems than the other. Sometimes I use it to propel myself forward, and sometimes it needs a rest, so I can lean it on the frame and take all the pressure off. And I can move so fast! My son rode his bike two miles to the farmers’ market on Sunday, and I was able to ride with him. The bike’s so friendly because it doesn’t look technical and medical – everyone stops me to ask what it is, and have a go. Even the colour is very sunny. I can stand up, or hold hands with my friends. They are little, but important, things which all bring me joy. It’s relaxing on the Alinker. It kind of makes me feel like Easy Rider. SELMABLAIR C O V E R S T O R Y   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   3 7


Backing us all the way When 80 women executives from BMO raised their hands in SheEO’s first year to be Activators, it was just the start of a long relationship. We look at the SheEO sponsor’s pivotal role in SheEO’s creation, and in helping Ventures to thrive. WO R DS MA R IA H OY LE


t wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that without the radical generosity of Bank of Montreal (BMO), SheEO wouldn’t exist. As a bank with a stated commitment to standing with women entrepreneurs, when it came to support for Vicki Saunders’ fledgling initiative, it certainly put its money where its mouth is. It was the Montreal-based bank’s senior vice president (and now SheEO board member) Julie Barker-Merz who managed to build an activator network of 80 women executives within BMO prepared to put their own money into the first SheEO Activator cohort. Among these were Sheri Griffiths, Moriah Linton and other senior BMO figures. 3 8  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  V E N T U R E S

To this day BMO is entrenched in lending support – both financial and advisory – to the organisation’s many Ventures. One such is Heartbeat Ai, a tech enterprise with a supremely human objective – to help businesses deliver a better client experience by speaking to the customer’s heart. The business-to-business tech analytics platform for the detection of emotions allows organizations to truly understand their customers, employees and patients through the power of data-driven emotional intelligence (EQ). By teaching computers to read how we’re feeling, as opposed to simply looking at the way we behave, Heartbeat Ai is helping companies to build solid, lasting relationships.

Heartbeat Ai was a global company with clients in Australia, the US and Europe and a growing software development team in Asia.


BMO regional president Julie Barker-Merz is on the SheEO board, and BMO has been instrumental in the continuing success of SheEO.

In 2018 BMO announced it was advancing $3 billion in capital for the next three years to womenowned businesses across Canada. And for Lana Novikova, founder and CEO of the Toronto-based company, finding a bank like BMO that understands Heartbeat’s own needs as a young business has been pivotal to its growth. From its launch in 2016, Heartbeat Ai was a global company with clients in Australia, the USA and Europe and a growing software development team in Asia. “Our dream was to grow business without venture capital investment money, which means we had to have a consistent revenue stream from the very beginning,” says Lana. However, because sales cycles are long and it takes 30-90 days to get paid for a completed project, managing cash flow has been a constant challenge. “Our team grew from four in 2016 to 10 in 2019, and we needed to borrow money, to have an operational line of credit.” It was thanks to Lana’s connection with SheEO – which in 2017 had provided Heartbeat Ai with $100,000 in funding – that she identified BMO as an institution that she could turn to for help.

Lana Novikova, founder of Heartbeat Ai, outside her local BMO branch in Toronto.

BMO runs the only bank-owned recognition program for women in North America – BMO Celebrating Women, which acknowledges those who have given back to their communities or achieved success in business – and is passionate about supporting female enterprise. Having identified access to capital and credit as a significant issue for women entrepreneurs, in 2018 BMO announced it was advancing $3 billion in capital for the next three years to women-owned businesses across Canada.

In addition, BMO has in place training programs for its bankers who serve women entrepreneurs so they can better understand how to best meet their clients’ needs. Heartbeat Ai has been a BMO client since 2017; this means Lana has a corporate Mastercard and a commercial line of credit and, above all, a friendly and expert ear in the form of relationship manager Christopher Zolumoff. “Right away, we received a great service and exceptional support from Christopher,” says Lana. It was “like day and night compared” to their previous bank, which, according to Lana, offered minimum support and advice. “We were small yet I expected a little more help. For a start-up that is just learning to walk, it makes a huge difference to have a business banking expert to watch over us and help us with advice.” BMO has helped Lana’s business with its cashflow issues, and “structured a deal in the best interest of Heartbeat”, says Lana. “In 2020, we are planning to grow organically and keep building the most advanced and high-quality AI in the world. We hope BMO can help us make our dreams come true! I also hope they will become our client and benefit from our human-centered technology.” BMOFORWOMEN.BMO.COM V E N T U R E S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   3 9


Venturing forth Meet the diverse winners of SheEO’s previous Venture funding rounds. WO R DS E LLY S TR A N G


heEO has welcomed many Ventures into its ranks since it began in 2015. These Ventures must be majority womenowned (51% or more) and womenled, generate revenues of at least $50,000 to $2 million at the time of applying, have export potential and represent a new mindset, new model or new solution that helps build a better world.

To become a Venture, individuals must undergo an application process where they are asked 10 questions about their Venture, and 10 questions only. This process cuts out the fluff and the pitch desks and gets straight to the heart of what the business is trying to achieve.

These 10 questions are: 1. Describe your Venture. 2. Tell us about your Venture’s vision. 3. Why you? Why now? Why are you the person to solve the problem your venture is addressing?


4. Explain how your Venture helps to create a better world. 5. What is your business model (how you make money)? 6. How much money have you raised from other sources? 7. How do you plan on growing your Venture? 8. What are your top business challenges? 9. How would you use this loan to grow your Venture? 10. Tell us about your team: the fulltime and part-time members and what they do.

Activators in each country will then look at the submissions and go through a voting process for semi-finalists, who will be asked to validate their financials and submit a one-minute video about their business. Based on the opinion of the collective, the final five from each country are selected. Take a deep breath. Over these next 15 pages, you’ll take a dive into some of the Ventures we have funded to date. 4 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  V E N T U R E S

Want to become a SheEO Venture in the future? Head here to register you interest!

Left: Better Packaging Co founders Becs and Kate. Right: Kai XR is a brand new Venture from the USA 2020 round. Meet the other 9 Canadian and USA 2020 Ventures on page 51.


Kai XR is an educational WebVR platform that creates inclusive and accessible mixed reality spaces for children to explore, dream, and create using new technologies. It encourages educators, kids and parents to become early adopters of these technologies through its educational resources. It also promotes accessibility and inclusion for all by using tools like virtual reality (VR) “field trips” to show kids diverse experiences around the world. This opens their eyes to new ideas, locations and sounds from an early age, broadening their horizons. KAIXR.COM KA1XR


Kai XR brought the National Portrait Gallery’s official Obama portraits into schools through VR

V E N T U R E S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   4 1


AVA Technologies Canada

AVA technologies is an indoor smart garden that enables people to grow fresh produce in their homes through every season, year-round. The AVA Byte indoor garden functions without soil or sunlight and uses smart technology to alert the budding gardener to when the plant is too hot, needs more water, or is ready to harvest via a smartphone app. The idea came about after co-founders Chase and Valerie wanted to grow their own fresh food, but had limited options living in a small apartment. AVAGROWS.COM AVASMARTGARDEN

Aitken Frame Homes Canada

Kim appeared on an episode of TV show Dragons’ Den.

You can connect your AVA garden to Amazon Alexa

Aitken Frame Homes founder and structural design engineer Kim Aitken says she is not a property developer, she’s a problem solver with a housing solution. Her company is disrupting the real estate market by creating a hyper-efficient, smart-value hybrid house building system for cheaper, stronger and more sustainable houses. Its design process uses prefabrication, onsite construction and materials that are more energy efficient and less costly, lowering the barrier of entry for home ownership and making what can be a life-long struggle more attainable for all. AITKENFRAME.CA AITKENFRAMEHOMES

Ananda Devices


Go on the Ananda website and watch YouTube

Co-founder Miranda Wang won the United

videos of cancer cells squeezing spaces smaller

Nations Environment Programme Young

than themselves.

Champions of the Earth prize in 2018.

It seems so casually futuristic that on Ananda’s website, you can shop for organ-on-a-chip products (where an artificial organ’s responses are simulated for scientific experiments). Just click and checkout for a few dollars. Ananda Devices are bringing drug testing into the future by making biomedical testing faster, cheaper and better. Margaret Magdesian is the founder and CEO. So she’s an entrepreneur, a visionary, a scientist, and business strategist. Just the kind of leader the world needs.

BioCellection is transforming unrecyclable plastics into valuable virgin-quality chemicals and materials, reducing CO2 emissions for a circular economy. The idea for BioCellection was inspired by the co-founders finding a soil-based bacteria capable of eating plastic. They have genetically engineered a comparable catalyst that does the same thing as the bacteria, only faster, on plastics no one else can recycle at present. The cost reductions are believed to be up to 30 to 40%.




4 2  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  V E N T U R E S



Brain Fit

New Zealand

Has the oldest founder in any country. Brain Fit was created by New Zealand sisters Dr Allison Lamont and Gillian Eadie after they’d seen first-hand the devastating effect that Alzheimer’s disease can have on families. Their Brain Fit classes help senior people put strategies in place that can help manage memory changes that appear from age 40 and sharpen the brain to ensure it is functioning healthily. Brain Fit describes it as like taking your brain to the gym to keep memory connections active, alert and growing at any age. BRAINFIT.NZ BRAINANDMEMORYFOUNDATION

CMNGD Canada

Has had a $1 million impact on Canada’s homelessness problem in three years. CMNGD is more than just a commercial laundry service. It also employs people facing poverty and homelessness through its services. This breaks down the poverty barriers through on-the-job training and mentorship, while providing people with the option to use an impactful service that contributes to the greater community. It also doesn’t just serve a social good, either: it has sustainable practices that help the environment, such as turning food waste into biofuel, then using it to heat the water it uses to wash laundry. CMNGD.COM @ 4THECMNGD

Callisto USA

Paid back their SheEO loan in full in the first year.


New Zealand

More than 100 new topics and 500 clinical images are added to DermNet every year

Callisto is a non-profit company that creates technology to detect repeat sexual assailants. An estimated 90% of sexual assaults are committed by repeat perpetrators, and yet sexual assault is often never reported. Callisto helps empower survivors by allowing them to disclose what’s happened in a way that feels safe. Its matching system securely connects victims of the same perpetrator to identify repeat offenders and advance justice. It can also link users to other individuals who’ve been assaulted by the same perpetrator so they can build a case together.

DermNet is a New Zealandbased clinical website about dermatology and skin conditions that has become a world-renowned resource for anything skin related. Its mission is to make information about the skin accessible to anyone in the world with an internet connection. Dr Amanda Oakley is DermNet’s founder; she has dedicated her life to providing a free online dermatological library. Every day, the website hosts up to 80,000 visitors with queries such as, ‘What’s this rash and how do I treat it?’



V E N T U R E S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   4 3


4 4  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  V E N T U R E S


The Discourse Canada

The Discourse is reimagining the town newspaper by creating a new, digital-based business model that helps independent journalists provide community-powered local news. It does this through building digital news products, as well as training and empowering journalists to tell these important stories that are increasingly disappearing from the public discourse due to the rise of online and the fall of print readership. It also champions diverse perspectives and creating positive change in under-represented communities through its coverage. THEDISCOURSE.CA THEDISCOURSE

Greensulate Canada

Implemented some of the first commercial scale vertical farming projects in the US.

Has launched an indigenous media project

Greensulate transforms empty or unused spaces in buildings into thriving ecosystems. The company engineers, installs and maintains green roofs and living walls in everything from private residences to corporate offices. The green spaces are scalable and engineered to improve the quality of environment and the lives of people who inhabit it by making the atmosphere cooler and quieter through shading and the absorption of sound by plants. Its founder Adrian Wilton is a certified Green Roof Professional with over a decade’s experience in roof top design and installation. GREENSULATE.COM GREENSULATE

Satya Eczema Relief Canada

Available in over 700 stores in Canada and starting to export into Hong Kong. Satya Organic Skincare is made from just five organic ingredients that are proven to soothe eczema, relieve dryness, itch and inflammation. The idea came about after founder Patrice Mousseau wanted an effective and non-toxic solution for her baby’s eczema rather than steroid cream. She couldn’t find one, so she researched, experimented and came up with a balm in her kitchen that cleared the eczema up in two days. Satya has also been submitted to Health Canada, which has validated its health claims and research. SATYA.CA SATYAORGANIC

V E N T U R E S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   4 5


Has helped students pay off more than $1.5 million in school tuition and loans. HigherEdPoints helps students pay off school tuition by tapping into an unused source of currency: people’s loyalty points. The company converts existing loyalty points from friends or family into cash that can be used to pay off tuition and student loans at most major universities and colleges in Canada. The idea came to founder Suzanne Tyson after working in the loyalty card industry and witnessing the billions of dollars of unused points sitting in people’s wallets. HIGHEREDPOINTS.COM HIGHEREDPOINTS

Embrace Innovations USA

Has helped over 300,000 babies in 22 countries. Embrace Innovations is social enterprise which produces baby products that uses NASA-inspired technology to keep babies’ skin at an ideal temperature so they can sleep better. Through its 1:1 model, its goal is to give one million premature and underweight babies in the developing world a better chance at life. Co-founder Jane Chen came up with the idea at Stanford University, where her class was challenged to devise a baby incubator that costs less than 1% of traditional incubators. EMBRACEINNOVATIONS.COM EMBRACEINNOVATIONS

Envorinex Australia

Jenny’s team is always testing new products made from 100%

Guardian Angel Security New Zealand

recycled materials.

Was a finalist in the innovation and marketing category at Westpac Business of the Year awards 2019. Guardian Angel Security provides GPS solutions that delivery safety and protection for workers who are in lone and remote situations, such as government workers and SME employees. Through specialised hardware, the workers’ location can be monitored and an alert is sent through to Guardian Angel Security if something goes wrong. Petra Hakansson founded the company after seeing a gap in the market for technology that provided 100% connectivity with immediate response and support for remote workers. GUARDIANANGELSECURITY.CO.NZ

4 6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  V E N T U R E S

Guardia Angel founder Petra Hakansson.

Led by Jenny Brown, Envorinex collects, processes and remanufactures waste plastic products into second generation products, giving them a new life. Based in Australia, Jenny’s vision is to reduce the country’s environmental footprint. And it’s expanding. The US, UK, Thailand and Hong Kong now benefit too from their recycled building materials, fencing, flooring, and pellets. Not only do they make new out of old they are also conscious of how many resources they consume during production. ENVORINEX.COM ENVORINEX


Magnusmode Canada

Magnusmode is a mobile app that gives people with autism and cognitive special needs the skills to live with greater independence. The app partners with companies to create specialised digital card decks that helps these people learn life skills, such as using a debit card at a bank. Founder Nadia Hamilton founded Magnusmode to create a more inclusive world for people like her brother Troy, a young man with autism. The goal is to Supporting make navigating life a less overwhelming more than experience for people with special needs.

50,000 people with autism and special needs


In This Together Media USA

One of their books, The Best At It , won a prestigious Stonewall Award.

Has given back menstrual products to

In This Together Media is on a mission to create media that reflects more diversity than what current movies and books represent. The company creates children’s books that feature diverse characters who show a range of races, gender identifications, sexual orientations and abilities. The goal is to empower adults who don’t usually see themselves represented on the big screen or in books, giving them confidence and power to be whoever they want to be. INTHISTOGETHERMEDIA.COM INTHISTOGETHERMEDIA

over 17,000 women in developing nations. Aisle

Canada Aisle is transforming women’s menstrual health by creating sustainable alternatives to disposable menstrual products. Through its line of reusable pads, underwear and cups, its aim is to give women a more positive and informed experience of their period and, by extension, their bodies. Aisle also aims to minimise the amount of waste in its production line by working with textile management companies to repurpose offcuts into children’s clothing or furniture stuffing. PERIODAISLE.COM PERIODAISLE

V E N T U R E S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   4 7


Neighbourlytics Australia

Founder Jessica Christiansen-Franks made Australian Financial Review’s list of top 100 Women Of Inf luence

Neighbourlytics is a social analytics platform transforming the way we plan, design and manage neighbourhoods. The company captures and processes online data about community engagement to give governments, town planners, set managers and property developers insights into the social life of neighbourhoods. This helps stakeholders understand what makes the people within them tick so they can design better cities, as they have greater understanding of where the economic and social value is placed within these communities.

routine. Canada


Routine has experienced 166% year-on-year growth. Routine is a natural cream deodorant and beauty brand made in Canada by two ‘formerly stinky sisters’, Neige and Pippa Blair, that is giving deodorant incumbents a run for their money. Its clean and effective deodorant products have built a loyal fan following globally for being ethically crafted with natural, wholesome ingredients and lowwaste packaging, such as compostable cardboard deodorant sticks. Routine also donates a percentage of sales to the causes the pair are passionate about, which includes ABC Bees, Kids Cancer Care and The MEOW Foundation. ROUTINECREAM.CA ROUTINECREAM

SheNative Canada

Saccade Analytics Canada

Has helped over 300 kids at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Saccade Analytics is revolutionizing the way doctors diagnose dizziness, concussions and neurodegenerative diseases. Its product, InSight, analyses eye and head movements of patients in virtual reality, which helps it to quickly and accurately assess a person’s neurological functions. This helps give more targeted rehabilitation advice to patients, so they can recover faster. The technology has been developed by Dr Mimi Galiana and her daughter Isabel Galiana off the back of 30 years of advanced research. SACCADEANALYTICS.COM SACCADEANALYTICS

4 8  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  V E N T U R E S

SheNative is on a mission to elevate indigenous women by creating leather handbags and clothing that shares indigenous teachings and positive values passed down by ancestors. The company employs only indigenous women in the design and manufacturing of its goods, and involves indigenous communities in the design process. It also gives at least 10% of its profits towards causes that positively impact the lives of indigenous women. Founder Devon Fiddler hopes she’ll inspire other indigenous women like her to start their own businesses. SHENATIVE.COM SHENATIVE


SheNative is one of the first indigenous businesses to become a SheEO Venture

V E N T U R E S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   4 9


Think Dirty Canada

Think Dirty has users in 33 Countries.

ShearWarmth New Zealand

Travelers have taken their blankets back to India, Wales, Germany, Japan and more.

Think Dirty is an independent resource and mobile app created by Lily Tse that helps consumers learn about potentially toxic ingredients in cosmetics. It was inspired by Tse’s own experience with allergies and a desire to avoid chemicals in cosmetic products. The app allows users to compare products as they shop by scanning the product barcode and receiving instant information on the item, its ingredients and other potentially cleaner options. This helps consumers educate themselves on which beauty and personal care products have healthier ingredients than others. THINKDIRTYAPP.COM THINKDIRTYSHOPCLEAN

ShearWarmth is the only 100% traceable back-to-thefarm woollen blanket, with the entire footprint of the product made in New Zealand. Mother and daughter inlaw duo and farmers Lyn and Monique Neeson produce the blankets from wool specially selected off lambs’ fleeces on their farm in Torikima, King Country, New Zealand. The wool’s natural properties mean the blankets are also hypoallergenic, naturally flame retardant and will last a lifetime. SHEARWARMTH.CO.NZ SHEARWARMTH

SomaDetect Canada

SomaDetect has collected millions of data points from 5000 cows. SomaDetect is providing farmers with the information they need to make the best possible milk and improve the health of their herd by collecting data from cows. It does this using lightscattering technology, machine learning algorithms and cloud computing to measure milk quality, reproductive status, and herd health indicators from every cow at every milking. This use of technology helps connect farmers to their cows and consumers to the dairy products they’re purchasing for a healthier, more sustainable dairy system. SOMADETECT.COM SOMADETECT

5 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  V E N T U R E S


Class of 2020

The Town Kitchen USA

Its employees completed 23,543 hours in 2019. The Town Kitchen is a food catering social enterprise that employs and trains youth to deliver chef-crafted meals to corporate clients. It teaches people aged 16 to 24 food preparation and entrepreneurial skills. Often these youths have served time in jail and are looking for a way to re-enter society and find meaningful employment. The Town Kitchen addresses a need for locallysourced meals, as well as fair wage jobs and training programs for young people in the Bay Area in California. THETOWNKITCHEN.COM THETOWNKITCHEN

The five Canadian and five US Ventures announced at the 2020 Global Summit in Canada.

CANN Forecast Canada

Developed an

AI algorithm to CANN Forecast is a company using artificial reliably estimate intelligence to help protect one of the most E. coli levels valuable resources on earth: water. It does this in rivers by developing innovative tools that help stakeholders reduce water waste and better understand their impact on the environment. Its technology can predict the concentration of E-coli and identify at-risk pipes before they break. Pipe bursts cost North America over $3 billion a year to repair. Co-founder Naysan Saran is passionate about using artificial intelligence to help solve environmental challenges. CANNFORECAST.COM

EcoEnergy USA

Has sold over 12,000 solar products

Twenty One Toys Canada

Soft skills like empathy and dealing with failure are developed. Twenty One Toys is a learning and development company that uses toys to teach what textbooks can’t: creativity, collaboration and, most importantly, empathy. Its toys are designed for adults at work to use for play-based learning, but in a 21st century context. Its multi-award winning tool, The Empathy Toy, was inspired by founder Ilana Ben-Ari’s university thesis project and is now used in thousands of schools and offices worldwide. TWENTYONETOYS.COM 21TOYS

across Pakistan since 2012. EcoEnergy distributes solar-powered energy directly to people without access to electricity. Its founder, Shazia Khan, is a Pakistani-American who wants to provide people in Pakistan with safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives to the kerosene and wood method that was leading to massive deforestation. By providing energy access to Pakistan’s rural, offgrid population, EcoEnergy is also helping empower people to use financial services and, for some, connect with the world for the first time ever. ECOENERGYFINANCE.ORG ECOENERGYPK

V E N T U R E S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   5 1


Dalcini products are ethically made with craftsmanship that’s been used for over 200 years

Dalcini Stainless Canada

Dalcini Stainless is a stainless steel housewares company that provides a sustainable and safe alternative to plastic containers. The containers are easy to clean, easy to store and good for the environment, seeing as they’re reusable. They’re also free of hormone disrupting chemicals that institutions like Health Canada and the US Food and Drug Administration have issued a ban on, like BPA, a chemical used to make plastics, such as baby bottles. DALCINISTAINLESS.COM DALCINISTAINLESS

5 2  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  V E N T U R E S


Gotcare Canada

Gotcare is modernising homecare by providing a platform that connects people to the best-in-class care workers and creates a personalised experience specific to their schedule. Users submit a care request and within 24 hours, Gotcare will determine which one of its thousands of care workers is best suited. Its mission is to make home care a viable career option for front-line workers, while also reducing the cost of care and reducing stress on medical professionals and those who are in their care.

Gotcare’s mission is to make home care a viable option for frontline workers, while reducing the cost of care


Pandia Health, birth control delivery USA

Yen and her co-founders initially raised $650,000 from family and friends to found Pandia Health. Pandia Health is making women’s lives easier by providing telemedicine and medication delivery, starting with birth control. Women can file a prescription that’s already been made or go through an online prescription process with Pandia Health’s doctors to get birth control conveniently and discreetly delivered to their door. This provides peace of mind for women that their birth control has been taking care of, letting them get on with their lives and not have to visit a pharmacy. PANDIAHEALTH.COM PANDIAHEALTH

Helga Wear Inc Canada

Jodi worked up to 15 different gigs a week at the start to get her business off the ground. Helga Wear is increasing gender diversity across all industries by ensuring women on worksites have access to the right workwear. The idea was born out of environmental engineer Jodi Huettner’s frustrations with the health challenges and lost productivity she faced due to inadequate and ill-fitting workwear. Helga Wear’s goal is to support the health and safety of women in the workplace by offering clothing options designed specifically for women’s builds, while also raising awareness about the different needs – not least bathroom-wise – of women working in outdoor industries. HELGAWEAR.COM HELGAWEARINC

V E N T U R E S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   5 3


Sisu Global USA

Sisu Global is building the future of medical devices in the rapidly expanding market of emerging economies. It creates lifechanging medical tools for countries that need them, such as the Hemafuse, which is a highly effective alternative to donor blood. It’s designed to tackle the problem of chronic blood shortages in parts of Africa by replacing or augmenting donor blood in emergency situations. Sisu Global’s goal is to strengthen these health systems with commercialisation, starting with the devices they’ve created. SISUGLOBAL.HEALTH SISUGLOBALHEALTH

Streamline Genomics Canada

Its collaboration with Quebec hospitals has led to three peer-reviewed publications.

The Hemafuse is now being used in 10 hospitals across Kenya

Looking at gene sequencing information can often be overwhelming for doctors, seeing as the latest DNA technology uses masses of data, millions of variants and has a lack of tools. Streamline Genomics creates a platform clinicians and researchers can use to benefit from genomic sequencing without the need for data analysis expertise. It analyses the data to create clear and intuitive patient reports for doctors to use to help them be better informed for patient diagnosis and treatment. STREAMLINEGENOMICS.COM

Welcome Home Health USA

Welcome Home Health is disrupting the hospital discharge process that can leave patients feeling confused, alone or anxious. It has built a platform that can be used on a tablet or smartphone that gives patients a reliable, easy way to stay in touch with their healthcare providers 24/7 postdischarge to ensure a full recovery. While its service sounds simple, the technology incorporates electronic medical records, daily video visits and concierge-level customer service to ensure patients are fully supported and their needs are met, from home. WELCOMEHOMEHEALTH.COM WELCOMEHOMEHEALTH

5 4  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  V E N T U R E S

Welcome Home Health is one of five health-oriented Ventures funded so far this year.


Activators SUSIE PAN


Tracy Gray looks to future f inancial models.


CO M M U N I T Y / V E N T U R E S / AC T I VAT O R S / N E W M I N D S E T / N E W M O D E L A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   5 5


Spiritual growth Spreading happiness, raising money for minority and women-led businesses and Buddhism. It’s all in a day’s work for Tracy Gray from The 22 Fund. I NTE RVI E W J E N N Y R U D D / PH OTOS MAT T LEO NAR DO


hen Tracy Gray tells people she’s raising $100 million to invest in businesses led by women and people of color, she’s advised to lower the amount. “When I ask why, I’m never given a rational answer. Our strategy requires this amount. Young white men who are inexperienced in business aren’t told to lower their capital raise. Which is great! But why should other people ask for less?”

5 6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S

The 22 Fund is a growth equity fund. “We invest in companies can grow through international sales and we help increase their export capacity. It’s an impact fund. Our mission is job creation in underserved communities. We intentionally target women and people of color. Our strategy is to invest in companies that export because they create jobs faster and tend to have higher wages. We focus on manufacturing because it is creating the tech jobs of the future for blue collar workers. So we’re bringing this demographic into tech.”

Tracy Gray is a US Activator who lives in Los Angeles.


Starting the day

“People who don’t have access to resources and support are able to do a lot with less.”

I don’t start work until 10am. It sounds odd, I know! I get up around 6.30am and meditate and read. I’m a practising Buddhist. I work out too, taking my neighbors’ dogs for walks or doing yoga or hip hop. Most people set their alarm at the start of the day but I set mine to go to bed. It’s become Pavlovian now; I can feel myself getting tired at 10.30pm when it goes off. I’ll eventually get to bed around midnight. Without the alarm, I’d still be up at 2am. I got the idea from a podcast about being happy. My goal is to be happy. It should be everyone’s goal as that spreads happiness everywhere. If you are miserable and try to make others happy, then you’ll instead spread unhappiness everywhere!

Tracy believes that minority-owned businesses have a high rate of success. She attributes this to the idea that people who don’t have access to resources and support are able to do a lot with less. They are used to having to innovate, and that makes you more entrepreneurial. It makes sense on a wider scale to apportion funding to those who are otherwise underrepresented. There’s masses of research to show that diversity leads to more ideas, higher returns and more successful companies. Although The 22 Fund isn’t deploying capital yet, it plans to do its first close midway through this year and start investing. “We have a strong, risk mitigated strategy and huge company deal flow,” says Tracy. “Companies need to be cash flow positive. This isn’t for early stage investment. They should have a minimum of $1 million EBITDA, they’ll be in manufacturing with products that can scale internationally, and have no tech risk, as their own tech is already proven. We have about 20 criteria as part of our due diligence.”

Buddhism I got into Buddhism by accident. It had been my philosophy for a long time but I didn’t know it. In 2002 I worked at an economic development non-profit. We were offered spaces at a 10-day meditation retreat. No one took them because they were working too hard. But I did it and it changed my life. I did it because I tend to jump. I don’t mind change and I’ll try almost anything once.

A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   5 7


Compassion The foundation of Buddhism is compassion. All our preconceptions are around judgement, and I can be quite judgy! It wasn’t until I started practising mindfulness all day that I realised how important it was. It has taught me how to listen and see things from the other person’s perspective. I’ve learned how to respond instead of react. It’s made me a happier person.

5 8  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S


In the office I live in the arts district in downtown Los Angeles. Although I have an office a few blocks from the loft I own, I don’t go there very much. But I also am an advisor at the LA CleanTech incubator, which is between my office at WeWork and home so I’ll go there twice a week. Other times I’ll work in cafés and at WeWork. I’m all over the place. I’m not one of those people who can sit in the same office all day. That would drive me cuckoo.

“It’s hard to raise money. Really hard. Don’t give up too soon because you‘ll hear ‘no’ lots.”

Tracy is interested in system change, the dissolution of systemic barriers. Her advice for anyone looking for funding: “Know your numbers like the back of your hand. If you don’t know your numbers you don’t know your business. It’s hard to raise money. Really hard. Don’t give up too soon because you’ll hear ‘no’ lots. Eventually you’ll find the right capital source. Be flexible and open to how your business may need to change. And be compassionate and kind. There’s always room for more kindness.” THE22FUND.COM A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   5 9


Why do you Activate? Where do the roots of radical generosity grow? I NTE RVI E WS E LLY S TR A N G / LE AD PH OTO MARCI N M U CH AL S K I

Na lini S axena

Janet Dix

Founder of Elicit Consulting

Retired businesswoman


New Zealand

Supporting entrepreneurs who address climate change and overconsumption is where my interest lies. Based on my background – business design, financial strategy and talent optimization, which my team and I deliver through consulting and coaching – I enjoy offering insights and strategic guidance to all kinds of Ventures.

IN BOTH MY PROFESSIONAL AND MY PERSONAL LIFE , I’VE E X P E R I E N C E D W H AT T H E L A C K OF INVESTMENT BASED ON MY G E N D E R A N D R A C E H AV E C O S T ME. I like being generous with women striving to achieve goals by offering access to resources, learning and opportunities that they might otherwise face obstacles trying to get to. Activating isn’t entirely about giving back – it becomes its own reward in the enrichment, inspiration, and fun that I experience in the process.

6 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S

Three days after I Activated for my daughter and I, she died. Just like that. It stopped my heart and blew my socks off. She was coming back after living for 25 years in Australia, where she had gained two degrees – one in law and one in human resources. She was 53. I am 80, and live in a retirement village. I’d heard about it on the radio. My young friend Fiona Freeman has my daughter’s Activation.

H AV I N G O W N E D A B U S I N E S S F O R Y E AR S I TH O U G HT IT WO U LD B E A G R E AT WAY O F L E A R N I N G A B O U T W H AT W O M E N W E R E D O I N G I N B U S I N E S S T O D AY. I enjoy the openness of SheEO. The girls – I can’t help thinking of them as girls – work so hard to succeed and they have families and health problems and all sorts of other commitments and yet they still hold their businesses together. It is rewarding to be able to help; the best part is having a recipient.



Ru th A nn Ha rn i sch Founder and president, the Harnisch Foundation USA

We should be grateful to Vicki Saunders for creating this ecosystem to solve the biggest problems in the world. It’s one of many ways I invest in female entrepreneurship and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. SheEO is a dreams-to-reality accelerator. I Activate because I can, and I think anyone who can, will, if they hear the story. What do I get out of it? The sense that I’m doing the right thing at the right time with the right people for the right reasons. I’m not involved in any of the companies. I’m a cheque writer. I’ve given a large gift to the organization, but I don’t have time to follow individual companies.

A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   6 1


Other ways to practice radical generosity There are small things you can do in your own world that have a big effect on those around you.

Donate to a charity on your birthday Instead of friends treating you to more ‘stuff’ you don’t need, set up a Facebook post where they can donate to a charity of your choice.

Volunteer From tree planting to mentoring youth or helping refugees settle in your area, there’s plenty of need out there. It’s proven to be good for our mental health too.

Host a fundraiser Invite friends over for a clothes swap or have a garage sale and donate the proceeds to a cause you love. It’s recycling/ decluttering, but with heart.

Make food for others Whether it’s to say ‘I’m here’ to a friend in difficulty or a way to get to know the neighbours, whipping up some cookies or a pot roast is a winner every time.

Listen when people talk Sounds obvious, but it’s an important skill to master. Listen without judgement, be present. Being truly heard is one of the most priceless gifts around.

6 2  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S

A b ig a il Slater

Ca ro l J Va l e

General partner of Marigold Capital

Managing director of Murawin Consulting



Proof that other models of capital flow will work is an important part of my being an Activator. I was particularly close to the first two cohorts out of Canada. When visiting the city, they often stay at my home. Getting to know Ventures and how the founders run their businesses has been rewarding, as has witnessing their success.

T H E C O L L A B O R AT I O N AND WILLINGNESS OF M Y N E T WO R K TO H E LP OTH E R WO M E N I N TH E ENTREPRENEURIAL S PA C E I S O N E O F T H E M O S T R E WA R D I N G BENEFITS OF BEING AN A C T I VAT O R . Helping others both within and without the official SheEO network has expanded my concept of radical generosity and continues to guide my own work.

As an Aboriginal woman with several decades of working in government and now as a businesswoman, I want to use my experiences, skills and resources to contribute not only to making it a better day for Australian women, but women of the world. We all need each other in so many ways. To cheer each other on, open doors and help each other to be confident, consistent, courageous and competent. To offer insights into each other’s worlds so that wheels aren’t reinvented and new opportunities are unearthed and emerge. And that is why I Activate. Because I believe that we are all connected through songlines guided by the wisdom of our old people, particularly our grandmothers.

I A M PA R T I C U L A R LY INTERESTED IN SUPPORTING VENTURES T H AT TA C K L E T H E I S S U E O F M E N TA L H E A LT H . I believe if the spirit is strong and well, then all other aspects of our lives will be okay. I’m also interested in supporting indigenous Ventures across all sectors.


Dagmara Fijalkows ki

An n a H utc hi n so n

Head of Global Fixed Income and Currencies.

Business support at Marcho Partners

RBC Global Asset Management

United Kingdom


When I first Activated in 2016 I was hooked on the originality and simplicity of the concept. I treated it as a test with no commitment for the future, but soon realized that I wanted to be a part of this for the long term. I really enjoyed the Summit I attended last March when the supported Ventures were revealed for 2019. It’s a high-energy event, packed with opportunities to meet the new winners and to hear updates from previously funded Ventures. It’s a great chance to talk with these amazing entrepreneurs. You can see firsthand how committed they are to their businesses. Almost every Venture comes with a strong personal story. And there are those with skin in the game; the entrepreneurs who have personally invested

in the company and have made a full-time commitment. Activating is an opportunity to help those who are helping themselves.

I’M LOOKING FOR V E N T U R E S T H AT CAN MAKE AN I M PA C T O N L O C A L COMMUNITIES AND ALSO BE SUCCESSFUL IN A G L O B A L M A R K E T. The SheEO voting process has turned into an opportunity to discuss entrepreneurship with my daughter. Each year she and I vote for the Ventures to go forward and borrow from the fund. It’s a great bonding experience and I get to teach my daughter a little about business. It is an unexpected but wonderful benefit.

I love the whole voting process. There’s something really special about the trust between Activators and Ventures. But equally, there is a certain trust you have to put in yourself when you vote. You work through the imposter syndrome and the fear that you’re not knowledgeable, experienced, savvy or smart enough to make a choice. And you trust yourself. I promise you there is no better feeling than seeing those five Ventures up on stage and witnessing the outcome of that mutual trust.

THE MOST MEANINGFUL ASPECT OF SHEEO FOR ME IS TH E P OWE R O F S E E I N G OTH E R WO M E N S U CC E E D AN D THRIVE WHILE SPEAKING H O N E S T LY A B O U T W H AT T H AT J O U R N E Y L O O K S L I K E FOR THEM. Through witnessing the growth of Ventures and other women in the community, I have developed more confidence and expanded my own ideas of what radical generosity means.

Leve l s of Ac t i vato r i nvol vemen t


Some people just want to pay their money and have no other involvement. You can have as much or as little to do in the community as you like. Nothing’s fixed. It’s up to you.


Come to the annual summit or local events hosted by Activators. Vote for Ventures and read their updates after they’ve received their funding.


Become a Super Activator by recruiting other Activators, hosting events and spreading the word. Or offer your skills and contacts to the network. You’ll get it back tenfold.

A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   6 3


Power to the people Putting her employees first in every decision has made Nashville’s Sherry Deutschmann an unconventional business leader. WO R DS E LLY STR AN G / PH OTO N ATH A N M O RGA N


o ensure Sherry Deutschmann knew what would make each and every one of her staff members happy, she invented a program called Lunch with Lucy. On Wednesdays, she wasn’t their boss, she was just a co-worker named Lucy they could voice their concerns with. Now, she’s teaching others why it pays to take care of your people.

When Sherry moved to Nashville, Tennessee as a 25-year-old single mother, it was to chase a dream of becoming a country singer. However, life had other plans. “I came here solely for the purpose of being a star. It took me a couple of weeks of listening to real singers to realise that I didn’t have the goods,” Sherry laughs. With a two-year-old daughter to support, she abandoned her plans of becoming the next Dolly Parton and worked to make ends meet. Sherry’s roles included selling cars at Beaman LincolnMercury. She eventually wound up at a company that processed patients’ statements for hospitals. However, over time, something struck her as wrong about the company: she was becoming a professional apologist to its customers over many mistakes that were easily preventable. “It occurred to me that about 90% of our problems were simple human error,” she says. 6 4  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S

“Your company will be more profitable if you take better care of your people.” “It was happening because the employees didn’t care, and they didn’t care because nobody cared about them.” When she shared this realization with her boss – that if they ensured employees felt valued, then staff would perform better, and she wouldn’t be forced to grovel to customers about the errors that had been made – Sherry says he wasn’t interested.

bankrolling a company didn’t work out in her favour. The bank didn’t want to lend her money, so she approached a few of her contacts from her previous role. They were willing to finance the business, but none of them wanted her to have majority ownership, so Sherry turned down their offers. Instead, she opted to have a yard sale and sell off most of what she owned,

“My boss pooh-poohed that idea and patted my hand and told me I didn’t know anything about business. He told me to sell another account, so I did. Except this time, it wasn’t for his business – it was for my business.”

apart from the essentials. Sherry held

Sherry decided to leave the security of working for someone else and go into competition with her former employer. But first, she needed to get her hands on some capital.

The company had humble beginnings,

However, the traditional methods of

Its main point of difference? LetterLogic

onto her bed, a table, a sofa, and a washer and dryer and cashed in on her 401k, which meant she had just enough money to found her company, LetterLogic.

being born in Sherry’s basement. She set up a desk and filing cabinets and started calling old clients and new, introducing herself as LetterLogic’s CEO.


“I want women to be more comfortable and confident talking about money and their desire to build personal wealth and financial independence.”

would prioritize its employees, not the customer and not the shareholders. It didn’t hide this fact, either. The company told its customers upfront, “You don’t come first”.

their critique of my leadership, what they

“We told the customers, ‘We’re going to take great care of you, but you are not number one. Our employees are number one. But by taking great care of the employees, their needs will be so well serviced that when they’re at work, they can focus on you and you’re going to get the best service you have ever had’.

5000 company (fastest growing privately

“I just wanted every employee to have a vested interest so that they would care as much as I did. And it worked.”

“Your company will be more profitable if

Other unique aspects of LetterLogic’s employee-first culture included its transparency, which allowed everyone access to financials to see exactly how much money was being brought in. To motivate staff, LetterLogic also shared its profits with every worker evenly, regardless of their role.

closeness. Here I am three-and-a-half

“It didn’t matter if you were the janitor or the CFO, you got exactly the same dollar amount,” Sherry says.

company, Sherry founded Sunset

Lunch with Lucy was another ultimately extremely successful policy she introduced. Every Wednesday, Sherry was no longer the CEO, she was just ‘Lucy’, a co-worker and equal. Anyone could invite her to lunch, choose who else would come along, and voice their needs.

membership group for women to hold

“That time – that hour and a half a week that I spent at lunch as Lucy – was the most important time I spent growing my business,” she says.

beyond. Sherry calls it the ‘million-

“To hear directly from my team about their unique challenges, their dreams,

their desire to build personal wealth and

wanted from me and what they wanted me to stop doing. And I listened.” Clearly, Lunch with Lucy was a recipe for success. LetterLogic was named an INC held US businesses) for 10 consecutive years. Its employee-first culture and the effect it had on its bottom line was recognized in the media by Forbes, The New York Times, Fast Company, INC and more. The business grew to $40 million before Sherry sold it in 2016.

you take better care of your people,” she says. “We developed a tremendous years post sale, and there’s not a day goes by that I don’t have interaction with at least one of my former employees and their family.” Her next ventures were equally inspiring. Informed by the challenges she faced when starting up her own Ventures, an angel investment firm for women, and BrainTrust, a peer-to-peer each other accountable for their business goals and help each other through hurdles that prevent their business growth. The goal is to help women to grow their company’s revenue to $1 million and dollar movement’. “I want women to be more comfortable and confident talking about money and financial independence,” she says.

Sherry is an Activator of 5 years, she is based in Tennessee and has recruited the most new Activators in the USA.

“We usually don’t charge enough for our services, we don’t ask investors for as much money as we should, and we aren’t building scalable companies at the same rate that men are.” Alongside this, Sherry is also one of the most energetic SheEO Activators in the United States. Because of her help spreading the word, Nashville has one of the highest concentration of Activators in the entire country. She says the SheEO model perfectly aligned to her values, goals and passions, as it did to other Nashville businesswomen. “The South is full of radically generous women who really do help one another, and so it was pretty easy to get them on board with SheEO,” Sherry says. As for what’s next on the horizon, Sherry plans to continue educating the world about the benefits of an employeecentric business model. Her book about the employee-first business model, Lunch with Lucy: Maximize Profits by Investing in Your People, is due out in March. As well as this, BrainTrust will be expanding to several US cities outside Nashville, and in two years’ time, she plans for it to go global. Sherry’s advice for other business owners when it comes to building a company is to be radically generous to your employees, because both parties will reap the benefits. “There’s only good that can be achieved if you get the employees aligned with you by sharing the profits with them.” OURBRAINTRUST.ORG A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   6 5


Laurie Sterritt (left) and her daughter Nicole Taylor-Sterritt (right).

6 6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S


Pathway to progress Indigenous Women’s Leadership Summit founder Laurie Sterritt is bringing together the experience of Canada’s indigenous women in positions of leadership so that we can grow this collective wisdom in our corporates. WO R DS E LLY S TR A N G / PH OTOS S U PPLI E D

he Indigenous Women’s Leadership Summit gives Canada’s indigenous women the resources and insights to step up to face their next leadership challenge. Vancouver-based Laurie Sterritt, an HR practitioner with 25 years’ experience in indigenous government and community relations, launched the first-of-its-kind summit in 2018 so women could connect and share their personal stories of development. Laurie identifies as part of the Kispiox Band of the Gitxsan Nation. Indigenous women have held leadership roles both historically in their First Nation communities – a lot of which were matrilineal – and in present day. They’re leaders across many areas: in their own families, in their communities, in government, and in the workplace. But this leadership journey can sometimes be a lonely one in business, Laurie says. A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   6 7


“This struggle that we’ve had has shifted. It’s not better or worse, necessarily. There’s more discussion. Audiences that have never been engaged in it before, are now.” Despite their capabilities, the number of indigenous women represented at the boardroom table and in senior leadership roles in Canada is estimated at less than 1%, despite women making up 50% of the population. “When I was ready to take a break from the natural resources sector, I asked myself what I wanted to do with my time. And then I thought, why don’t I do something meaningful and answer this call about being alone in professional roles?” Laurie says. With the help of Laurie’s daughter, event planner Nicole Taylor-Sterritt, the first Indigenous Women’s Leadership Summit was held in Ottawa around the theme of lifting each other up. The 2019 Summit was held in Vancouver, themed around truth telling, inspired by former Canadian minister of justice and attorney-general Jody Wilson-Raybould. Jody was the country’s first indigenous attorney-general who was demoted by prime minister Justin Trudeau after she went public with her complaints about how he tried to pressure her to cut a deal with Quebec company SNC Lavalin. The company was accused of bribing government officials in Libya, and Jody later resigned from the party over the scandal. “I think women just don’t necessarily want to stir things up politically, and certainly in the business world. It’s hard to always find your voice,” Laurie says. “So, we brought truth telling forward as a theme and it was incredible.” Laurie says the summit has helped women gain the confidence to go on and raise an issue within their workplace, change their career or invest in a new skill. “I’ve heard young women going and being more assertive, then getting a 6 8  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S

promotion and being surprised that it was that easy. But it wasn’t that they changed as a person – they just released that confidence they had inside themselves to make the change,” Laurie says. She says the number one barrier for indigenous women has been seeing they have options. To show them the choices other women have made at the summit shows them what they can accomplish and unlocks a group of people whose talents have been underutilized. “Over time, structures have reinforced keeping indigenous people out of the economy, keeping them out of basic things like home ownership. I really believe that by supporting one another and growing this supportive network of indigenous women, we’ll have a major impact on the economy. It’s freeing up people with resources that have never been freed up before,” Laurie says. She also thinks that discourse on the rights of indigenous people across the world is changing due to the increased

focus being put on indigenous issues at the United Nations. “The more light you put on these issues, the more you uncover those who quite like it the way it is,” Laurie says. “While the corporate structures and governance structures may be improving, the social fabric is a little bit uneasy. “This struggle we’ve had has shifted. It’s not better or worse, necessarily. It’s just now these issues are top of mind and some audiences are engaged in it that have never been before. So it’s an opportunity for us. There’s tension and there’s triumph.” “I keep thinking in my lifetime, I’ll work myself out of a job and not have to worry about inclusion and diversity in indigenous affairs. I hope it won’t be a thing in the future.” IWLS.CA

Live entertainment at the summit.


Inspiring indigenous women Laurie isn’t the only woman raising the profile of Indigenous women’s talents. Here are three other impressive trailblazing Activators from First Nations who are making waves in their industries.

Jace Meyer

Jenn Harper

Teara Fraser

Shopify’s lead for Indigenous entrepreneurs

Founder of Cheekbone Beauty

Iskwew Air CEO

Jenn Harper hails from the Anishinaabe First Nation. She launched Cheekbone Beauty after looking for a make-up brand that was made in Canada, never tested on animals and gave back to the First Nations community. It didn’t exist, so she created it. The name of the business was inspired by First Nation people’s notoriously high and beautiful cheekbones – for Jenn, it’s her favorite feature. Since 2017, it has donated over $5505 to close the education funding gap for Indigenous youth. It’s also launching a less-waste line of lipsticks in 2020, with zero-waste goals for 2023.

Teara Fraser has Métis roots and is an indigenous woman whose family is from is Port Chipewyan, Alberta. She’s also a commercial pilot and founded Iskwew Air, becoming the first indigenous woman to launch an airline in Canada. Iskwew is the Cree word for woman. It aims to inspire, elevate and support Indigenous tourism in British Columbia and is working towards being a 100 percent carbon neutral airline. She also founded Give Them Wings, an organisation that helps Indigenous Youth take flight. Women’s Executive Network named as her as a 2019 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award Winner.

Jace Meyer is from the Métis Nation and leads Shopify’s Indigenous employee resource group and reconciliation projects. The goal is to connect aspiring and current Indigenous entrepreneurs with Shopify employees in order to make online commerce work more effectively for Indigenous people. In partnership with the Native Women’s Association of Canada, Jace helped 40 Indigenous women launch their online store and make their first sale in under 30 minutes on Shopify.

A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   6 9


7 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S


Looking out Travelling the globe on a sabbatical Canadian entrepreneur Susie Pan has gained a whole new perspective on what sparks her interest in business. WO R DS E LLY S TR A N G / PH OTOS DA N I E L A LLE N

A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   7 1


Touring New Zealand has given Susie time and space to reflect – and to find out about new ways of doing things.


ravelling the world to explore and play is one thing, but what if you used the trip as a meaningful way to connect with new ways of working? Susie Pan is taking a sabbatical from her usual endeavors to explore New Zealand, Australia and Asia and is leveraging the SheEO network to link up with some amazing minds who can help provide the inspiration for what she might do next in life.

Born in China but raised in Canada, by the time Susie was in her teens, she’d changed

“One of the really cool things is I didn’t know anyone in this country when I first came here, so the only people I know are through SheEO,” Susie says. Since arriving, Susie has been travelling the North and South Island and has met with locals such as Theresa Gattung, New Zealand’s SheEO country lead; Gillian Eadie from the Memory Foundation; Rebecca Stafford and Kristen Wonch in Auckland; Sonia McManus and Johanna van Aalst in Christchurch; Jane Guy and Alexis Forbes in Queenstown; and in Nelson Chris Woodwiss, Pure Peony and Chia Sisters.

schools nine times and moved houses 12

“Gillian from the Memory Foundation

times. She has now worked in seven

invited me to her house, I had amazing

countries – and visited over 40 – for both

banana cake, met her husband and heard

start-ups and large corporates.

her story – that level of proximity and

After a series of deaths close to her family, Susie knew the moment had come to take

closeness I will never get just as a traveller,” Susie says.

some time out from her busy life to reflect

“There’s a connectivity at the core of

on her next move. Currently, she’s residing

SheEO; the women are radically generous,

in New Zealand, where she spends about a

and no matter where you’re from, they’re

month in each town before moving onto the

willing to open up their homes and their

next one.

experiences to you.”

7 2  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S



CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: SOME OF the coolest rock formations I’ve seen in NZ at Moeraki Boulders. OUR MOST difficult day hike to date. 3600ft elevation – Roys Peak, Wanaka. AORAKI / MT COOK, New Zealand’s highest mountain. LUPINS in bloom at Lake Tekapo. FROM THE most southern point of the country to the north part of the South Island, covering more than 620 miles. #THATWANAKATREE Seeing this never gets old. A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   7 3


7 4  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S



She says one of the bonuses of travelling and not working is you have time to reflect.

“When the start-up I applied to SheEO with failed,

“One of the things I’ve noticed is people I work with are more important than ideas,” Susie says.

helped me figure out what to do with my life,”

“When I meet with an Activator or someone in the SheEO community, I get very energised. Who I work with plays a huge part in how much I enjoy it, versus if it’s a creative idea that I’m just working on by myself.”

She pivoted to work on a venture she’d been

Another learning she’s had as a visitor is that one country’s way of doing things in business isn’t necessarily the right way for everyone.

high schools in Canada through alternative

“The start-ups [here in New Zealand] I’ve noticed have great ideas but with a very local focus instead of an international one. Whereas in Canada and the US the scale is global, always. It’s not a positive or a negative thing, it’s just a different focus and success metric for the business,” Susie says.

In 2017, it merged with another Canadian non-

“It’s easy to compare by saying, ‘This is how it’s done at home,’ as you assume the way you’ve seen it done all the time is the right way. It takes conscious effort to say, ‘Just because I’ve seen it done this way, it isn’t necessarily the right way.’

I was left with not knowing what to do next. Vicki Susie says.

heading up for eight years: Science Expo Youth Empowerment Group, a national not-for-profit. Susie founded Science Expo in grade 12, and this event empowered 50,000-plus students across 150 education and opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

profit, the Foundation for Student Science and Technology (FSST). Susie went on to spearhead several ventures, from an app called JustLiv, which helps housemates manage shared chores and bills together, to one that helped the Royal Bank of Canada apply cutting-edge AI. Now that she’s travelling, Susie’s not putting too much pressure on herself to find that next great idea. Overall, she’s enjoying a whole new way of experiencing a country.

“It’s given me eye-opening thoughts and perspectives on how to do business in different countries, and what people value through different perspectives.”

“There’s so much you don’t see as a visitor,” she

Susie’s relationship with SheEO began when she was introduced to founder Vicki Saunders at an entrepreneurship bootcamp. She decided to apply to be part of SheEO’s second ever Beta cohort in 2014 with her company, Bombe.

businesses and all the effects that are invisible to

However, the business pitch didn’t go quite to plan, so she ended up pitching her abilities as an entrepreneur instead.

incredible, resilient stories I’ve ever heard.”

says. “For example, in Christchurch, [Activators] Johanna and Sonia explained the impact of the 2011 earthquake [which claimed 185 lives] on people and the outside eye. “Once you talk to these Activators and Ventures and see what it’s like to live here, versus through the eyes of a tourist – these are some of the most

SUSIE_PAN A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   7 5


Chia Sisters founders Florence (right) and Chloe Van Dyke.

The jet propulsion effect What happens when Activators step in? It’s just the fuel injection businesses need to power ahead – as these five Ventures prove. WO R DS E LLY S TR A N G


ometimes, the supercharge you need to get ahead in your business doesn’t come in the form of money, but in the form of another person. Our Activator network has done everything from investing in Ventures to making introductions to key contacts, offering their unique skills, time or advice, or even taking on a role at the company they’re helping mentor. Whether it be online on the digital community or offline at a Summit day, you probably have everything you need at your fingertips to grow your business. Here are five Ventures who, thanks to Activators, saw their businesses change for the better.

7 6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S


Elizabeth Brown (above) has helped many to draw out an engaging brand story.

Chia Sisters has grown over 40% domestically in the past five months.

CHIA SISTERS NEW ZEALAND Florence Van Dyke: We benefited from Elizabeth Brown’s ability to draw out the story of healthy beverages brand Chia Sisters and turn it into an inspiring call for action. It opened up a huge number of opportunities for us. Addressing the New Zealand Women of Influence event led to us speaking across New Zealand at the PwC-sponsored Institute of Internal Auditors conference; at the Lawyers on Demand wellness event; the Climate Change and Business Conference... the list goes on. Each event has led to more paid opportunities to share our story, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from leaders and decision-makers who’ve opened their minds and their doors to us as people and our business. Chia Sisters has grown over 40% domestically in the past five months since the date we first started working on Chia Sisters’ bigger story with Elizabeth. Our audiences are activated to join us on our journey and be a part of our success. CHIA.CO.NZ CHIASISTERS A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   7 7



Our revenue has doubled, and our footprint in hospitals continues to expand.


Hayley Mullin: I met Activator Sarah Cox just before we were named a top 25 SheEO Venture at the beginning of 2017. Initially it was a casual advisory relationship, which quickly became a full-blown consulting and support relationship. This led to her leaving her VP role at a health-tech company to become an invested partner with my sister, Ashley Wade, and I. She has been leading the business side for almost two years now, while I lead product and operations.

Sarah really focused and strategized on growing our primary market. We are now expanding into the ‘direct to consumer’ space, and the healthcare foundation we’ve built (through partnerships, data collection and hospitals) will allow us to make real change, at the user level. Our revenue has doubled and our footprint in hospitals continues to expand. We’ve built and developed incredible strategic partnerships, from insurance companies to organizations tackling maternal injustices, to leading retail and manufacturing giants, to Fortune 500 healthcare manufacturers and distributors. 2020 is set to be our best year ever, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Sarah. JOEYBAND.COM SLEEPBELT

Activator Sarah Cox was originally a casual advisor to Joeyband ®, and is now an invested partner of the company.

GROW YOUR MIND Australia Kristina Freeman: We were helped by Cheryl Pearl with some market research by facilitating a group of parents. This really allowed us to explore and better understand the value propositions of mental health social venture, Grow Your Mind and our products and services, as well as the language that is best responded to in the preventative mental health education space. This has been integral to helping us with our website redevelopment and looking at how to craft the experience of our website that our stakeholders are wanting, as well as how to talk about what Grow Your Mind does. Activator Cheryl Pearl provided advice with market reseach and understanding their demographic.

7 8  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S

Our website traffic has increased by 170%, and this has translated to increased sales by 163%. Cheryl’s support would be a contributing factor to this growth.

Danielle Lewis also offered us advice Our website traffic around how to has increased by 170% and work with website sales influencers and by 163%. then very generously gave us access to Scrunch, her influencer marketing platform. We are in the early stages of influencer collaborations, so it is hard to say how it has grown our business yet; however, we have certainly found some inspiring and engaged influencers to work with and feel much more confident with this process of marketing. GROWYOURMIND.LIFE GROWYOURMIND.LIFE



Our interview on a national radio channel grabbed the interest of

Georgia Richards (left) and Dot Kettle, Pure Peony founders.


a national distributor.

New Zealand

Activator Angela Buglass, exCEO of Trilogy, introduced Pure Peony to a brand agency.

Dot Kettle: We have received support from a number of Activators, including Angela Buglass, the ex-CEO of leading New Zealand skincare brand Trilogy. The big game changers for our growth this year have come off the back of national publicity generated by SheEO. An appearance on a current affairs television show called Seven Sharp led to an incredible increase in sales from our online shop.

We’ve been able to chat to Angela about

Our interview on national radio channel RNZ grabbed the interest of a national distributor who we have signed with; this has led to us going from being stocked in 50 stores to over 130 pharmacies throughout New Zealand.

in the remedial space and I’m sure it

specific issues, and her willingness to help is certainly amazing. Knowing that someone of her experience in our wider sector was accessible to us is a real credit to the power and potential of SheEO. Specifically, Angela introduced us to the company that we used to rebrand, and gave us support throughout that process. Our new brand has helped to position us helped us pick up our distributor and get more shelf space in pharmacies. PUREPEONY.COM DOVERIVERPEONIES

A C T I V A T O R S   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   7 9


We filled our capital raising round of $1.5 million.

BEANY New Zealand Sue de Bievre: I was pretty much forced me to apply as a Venture by Kirsty Reynolds. She is a quiet but implacable force for good in the world. Theresa Gattung invested in my online accountancy business and told people about it. As a renowned investor, she gave others confidence and we filled our capital raising round of $1.5 million. Elizabeth Brown guided me on the pitch that I presented in the capital raise. Many others have invested in Beany with their time, their money and their support. This has truly been a team effort. That $1.5 million means we are now positioning ourselves for offshore expansion. We have hired a CMO, developed our team and our story. We started the year with a team of 24 and ended it with a team of 31. We have grown our client base by 27% this year and are forecasting even higher growth next year now that we have the resources from the capital raise. We have been super-charged, for sure! BEANY.COM BEANYDOTCOM

8 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  A C T I V A T O R S

Main image: Sue de Bievre, CEO of Beany (right) with Candace Tana, senior accountant. Inset: with editor Jenny Rudd (right) and Theresa Gattung (left).


New mindset A ne w, positive way to handle stress


INCLUSIVE WORKFORCE employing those facing barriers


C O M M U N I T Y / V E N T U R E S / A C T I VATO R S / N E W M I N D S E T / N E W M O D E L N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   8 1


Tend & befriend The key to positive outcomes, both personal and global, lies in embracing a peculiarly female response to stress, says SheEO’s lead development guide. WO R DS M J RYAN / PH OTO DAH LIA K ATZ


e all have things we’re stressed out about. Work deadlines, health issues, money, aging parents, challenges with kids….You know your personal mix. For me, I’m writing this from my bed where I am laid up with foot surgery – bedridden for weeks for the fourth time in recent years, which has made me testy with the ones I love most. In fact, that’s how I recognize that I’m stressed – I lose my temper and then want to run and hide in a little hole. What’s your inclination under stress and why should you examine it? Understanding how we respond opens us to the possibility of different choices, ones that lead to greater happiness, health and impact in the world.

8 2  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T



N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   8 3


What are you afraid of ? Anger is of ten the produc t of fear.

in favor of concentrating on short-term survival, and generally preparing us to fight, flee, or freeze like a bunny rabbit hoping the danger will pass. In humans, this fight-flight-freeze response

We can find ourselves in fight or flight nearly all the time. And that’s dangerous to our bodies and minds.

generally shows up as irritation and anger (fight), the desire to quit – the relationship, the job, the situation (flight), or nodding your head and agreeing with whatever the other person is saying that you aren’t registering because you are just hoping they will go away (freeze and appease). Oh, and to make sure you focus on the danger, the amygdala cuts off access to your prefrontal cortex, making it harder to think rationally about the situation. That’s why when we’re stressed, we find ourselves saying and doing things we regret later or agreeing to things

It was an experience with my husband early on in our relationship that led me to explore the stress response. I’d gotten angry with him about something and instead of fighting back, which is what I expected, he said in a very tender voice, “What are you afraid of?” The world broke open for a second and I saw clearly that underneath my anger was fear. Every single time. The student in me got interested—why would fear trigger anger?

we don’t even recall doing…Sound familiar? The stress response is great when we’re faced with an actual physical emergency – a car is about to hit us, for instance. You don’t want


Simply put, we have a primitive structure in our brains called the amygdala, a vestige from our reptilian brain, that forms the avoid system. It’s meant to keep us safe by avoiding threats. I liken it to a guard dog that stays asleep until someone threatening goes by and then it wakes up and barks like crazy. My husband was right – fear is what sets off the process. When the amygdala perceives a potential threat, it turns on the stress response – flooding our bodies with adrenaline and cortisol, raising our heart rates and blood pressure, sending blood away from our extremities and to our core, suppressing our immune systems 8 4  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T

The amygdala is re sponsible for all emotional re sponse s , inlcuding aggre s sion , and “ f ight or flight ”. It is f ully developed at age t wo.


N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   8 5


your thinking brain assessing how much damage the car might do or how much money you could collect in a settlement. The amygdala takes over and you jump out of the way. The problem is that the amygdala can’t tell the difference between a true physical threat and all kinds of situations we humans get into on a daily basis – traffic jams, differences of opinions, deadlines….

It’s not just our individual lives that are stressed, but all our social and political systems, and the earth itself.

So we can find ourselves in fight or flight nearly all the time. And that’s dangerous to our bodies and minds because cortisol, adrenaline elevated blood pressure and heart rate, and a suppressed immune system cause damage over the long term. Including actually shrinking our brain and impairing memory. Stress-related diseases are real. But here’s where the story of the stress response takes a fascinating turn for us women. In 2000, Dr Shelley E Taylor, a researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, noticed that all the stress research had been done on men (what a surprise!) and asked whether it was the same in women. The answer is no. Yes, we experience the desire to fight, freeze or flee from the avoid system. But Taylor discovered we have another option in stress – affiliation, the desire to connect. She calls it the “tend-and8 6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T

befriend” response. She writes, “Tending involves nurturant activities designed to protect the self and offspring that promote safety and reduce distress; befriending is the creation and maintenance of social networks that may aid in this process.” Tending and befriending draws on different primitive circuitry in the brain, the attach-caregiving system that we share with primates. Think of the baby monkey clinging onto its mother. Or you calling a dear friend when you’ve had a bad day and feeling better afterward. MJ Ryan is the lead development guide for SheEO, working with Ventures from Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA, as well as other entrepreneurs around the world.

Taylor theorizes that greater levels in the female brain of oxytocin, the love and connect hormone, along with female reproductive hormones, give us this alternative response. (Although recent studies on men have shown that under acute stress, they may also display tend-and-befriend behaviors.)


Hooked on books MJ Ryan has written many books on personal transformation and the cultivation of positive mindsets. Check out these great reads...

It’s my belief that women’s tend-andbefriend response is behind our longer life spans in general. The attach response with its oxytocin release protects us from the wear and tear that fight or flight produces. THIS YEAR I WILL Want to lose weight, get organized, start saving, or stop worrying? MJ offers breakthrough wisdom to help readers make this the time that change becomes permanent.

ATTITUDES OF GRATITUDE In this best-seller, we learn how to unlock the fullness of our hearts through the expression of gratitude. “Gratitude helps us return to our natural state of joyfulness.”

RADICAL GENEROSITY Gratitude and generosity go hand in hand. The more we appreciate our lives, the more we want to give to others. This book provides us with tools for expressing thanks.

HOW TO SURVIVE CHANGE...YOU DIDN’T ASK FOR “Change is hard,” we say, and it is even harder when it’s thrust upon us. Change equips us with ways to take any change in our stride.

Beyond the desire to age healthily, why does our option to affiliate matter? In fact, it’s the most important thing we humans can do right now. Because it’s not just our individual lives that are stressed, but all our social and political systems — and the earth itself. To successfully navigate these times, to increase the likelihood of positive outcomes, we need to lean on our ability to tend-and-befriend. To band together and find new ways of being. It’s the best antidote we have to stress and the isolation it can create. What we need to do now makes me think of a story attributed to Brené Brown. There was once a village where the women would all gather by the river to wash their clothes together. Then they all got washing machines and there was an outbreak of mass depression which no one could understand. When we lose ways to tend and befriend, we suffer. That’s why SheEO exists. To facilitate ways of affiliating through radical generosity—activating asks and gives, events, learning labs, community, and all the other ways we’ll collectively create to connect to one another and our planet. Of course SheEO isn’t the only way. We need to rediscover practices from wisdom from the ages as well as create new ones. I was particularly inspired by a group of Okinawans that Derek Buettner writes about in his book Blue Zones. These folks form social groups called “moai” to help them get through

We need to rediscover practices from wisdom from the ages as well as create new ones.

life. “Parents cluster their children in groups of five, and send them through life together,” Buettner says in a recent video. “They support each other, and share life’s fortunes and woes.” When I read that, I had such a sense of longing for such a group as a child – and now. Collectively we have only begun to explore greater social connection – or the forces in nature that bring us together. Yesterday I read that Sir David Attenborough is about to launch a new TV series called The Green Planet, which highlights how plants affiliate. According to the BBC One press release, the series will show how plants “communicate with each other… care for their young …help their weak and injured. They can plan, they can count, they can remember.” How can we learn to connect from the natural world? From indigenous teachers who know so much more about the wisdom of the ages? From gender nonconforming friends and family members who help us go beyond either/ or to a more nuanced understanding of self and others? Let’s use our amazing ability to tend and befriend ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and the earth itself. MJ-RYAN.COM N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   8 7


Everyone’s included Instead of employing top league graduates and high-flyers, these businesses are casting their eyes further afield at people in our world who are often overlooked. WO R DS E LLY S TR A N G / PH OTOS S U PPLI E D

veryone has something to offer the world when it comes to being a member of the workforce. By 2030, the UN’s goal is to reduce inequalities and empower a world that promotes the social, economic and political inclusion of all, regardless of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status. One way forward is to 8 8  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T

empower and include people who have been underutilised in the workforce. This inclusion increases their happiness and self-worth by offering meaningful employment, while also bringing new perspectives, more partnerships and diverse abilities to the table for businesses. Here’s how Ventures GOGO Events, Made With Local and SucSeed are growing the world’s workforce.

Could your business hire people who have barriers to employment?


GOGO Events have... EMPLOYED





GOGO Events – helping companies change lives,


one product launch or awards night at a time.






OGO Events is an event management social business with a twist. We employ people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness to be our event crew. With the chance to secure work, they are empowered to make their own choices and participate fully in our economy and society. We know that these vulnerable people face complex barriers to gaining meaningful employment. There are direct barriers like a lack of employment history and work references, limited mobility, and indirect barriers such as issues with authority, low conflict resolution skills, transiency, and lack of funds to do training or get qualifications. But these people also have skills, strengths and ambitions that are not diminished by homelessness.

Sarah Gun, founder and director of GOGO Events.

Consumers are becoming much more

discerning about the culture and ethics of companies they interact with. Through our business model, we can help companies achieve social impact and fulfil their corporate social responsibility with little effort on their part. For those businesses that want to make a difference, and also run annual events, award nights, product launches or community events, GOGO is an obvious choice. It’s no longer good enough for businesses not to do harm; you have to do good. Diversity is an economic decision. It’s better for your business growth and impact. But it’s through business that we can shift what’s happening in ‘the real world’. If you don’t have diverse groups at the table, then they will never be represented. GOGOEVENTS.COM.AU GOGOEVENTS N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   8 9


Made With Local – baking with love, and feeding a need for marginalised rural workers.


started Made with Local in 2012 as a farmers’ market stall in Halifax just as the locavore movement (eating food that is locally produced) was taking off.

participants for the mainstream

We create simple, yummy energy bars using Canadian ingredients and we found the perfect production partners in social enterprise The Flower Cart Group in rural Nova Scotia. So our products are made by folks living with barriers to the mainstream workforce for all sorts of reasons around circumstance or ability.

the world and we’re doing our little part

The team in our bakery is made up of men and women of all ages and they really do bake love into each and every one of our bars. To me, it’s the most important aspect of our business. Our bakery’s program is intended to ready

obviously comes with unique challenges,

9 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T

workforce, but we often joke that we’d love to just keep them to ourselves because they’re so skilled. Business can be a huge force for good in in that. My advice to others is ‘take action’. It’s not just enough to say you support the idea of inclusive and diverse workplaces. You have to make a commitment to break out of old paradigms. Creating a new business model in this space but I can’t imagine doing things any other way. MADEWITHLOCAL.COM MADEWITHLOCAL

Sheena Russell, founder and CEO of Made With Local.


Made with Local is tapping into the hunger for indigenous ingredients while giving work to rural folk facing barriers to employment.

N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   9 1


SucSeed not only teaches people how to grow hydroponic food, but by hiring the homeless to produce its gardens, it helps at-risk youth to thrive.

9 2  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T


Emily Bland Seed-EO of SucSeed.

Choices for Youth is committed to building programs, systems, and opportunities that are focused on providing individualized support for young people, celebrating who they are, and working together to unlock their potential to build a brighter future.





SucSeed – encouraging sustainable food cultivation and planting hope for homeless youth.


ucSeed sells their hydroponic

that it provides, and that we are a part of

Grow Gardens through an online

connecting them with the career paths they

ecommerce site. We bring

strive for. When they build a garden they

hydroponics into classrooms, homes and

are not just building a product; they are a

communities to encourage an easy,

part of educating 24 students in

environmentally sustainable practice that

agriculture, providing horticultural therapy

is delicious and rewarding. Simply, we

programs to seniors, or allowing people in

help the world grow. The unique part of

northern rural communities to have access

our workforce is that all of our

to fresh produce year round.

production is done by youth who are experiencing homelessness.

Innovation is core to building a successful business. With the globalization of

From day one of SucSeed we partnered

ecommerce, you need to ingrain innovation

with an incredible non-profit: Choices for

more and more, and that includes your

Youth who provide at-risk and homeless

workforce. Bring in more perspectives,

youth in the St. John’s area with a wide

create partnerships that can lead to more

range of support, from employment readiness programs to housing solutions. These youth often have been overlooked by traditional workplaces due to their age, history or educational reasons. Our whole team takes pride in the job opportunities

growth and a stronger business and, most importantly, be open to different perspectives and backgrounds. SUCSEED.CA SUCSEEDCANADA N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   9 3



9 4  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T


#GIVE What would you do differently in your business if you were surrounded by radically generous women? WO R DS E LLY S TR A N G / E VE NT PH OTOS DAH LIA K ATZ


e’ve all said “I don’t like asking for help.” But it’s time to rethink what asking for help means. What if instead of feeling like you can’t ask for what you need, you had hundreds of smart, well-connected and generous women at your fingertips to call on for help? When you ask or you give, you’re just facilitating the natural flow back and forth of energy that wants to move! Don’t think of it as going to someone, cap in hand, begging for charity. Reframe your thought process. You are asking who’d like to benefit from a fantastic opportunity that you have. At each summit there’s a section in the day where the mic is passed round the room of Activators and Ventures. You can stand up and ask the room for whatever you need. People who can help with the ask are connected, and boom! It’s done. Vicki prefaces it with a couple of questions directed at the women in the room. Here’s how it usually goes. “Who, in this room, would like to offer help if they were asked?” Hundreds of women put up their hands. Yay! A room of generous people. And these are people who we know are radically generous because they’ve already given $1100 to fund other businesses.

So they are definitely telling the truth. Exciting! Look at all the help and support and advice freely available! Vicki’s next question: “Who, in this

“Can you see the problem here? We have a room full of people with all the tools to help you grow, like money, skills and connections and the generosity to give it, but no one wants to ask for it.”

room, would be happy to stand up now and ask for help?” Oh dear. A light sprinkling of hands. Left and top: Visitors are invited to share their ask / give and pin them onto a board. Above: Skipper Otto co-founder Sonia Strobel.

Vicki points out the obvious. “Can you see the problem here? We have a room full of people with all the tools to help you grow, like money, skills and connections and the generosity to give it, but no one wants to ask for it.” N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   9 5


A look at the

Women Don’t Ask The High Cost of Avoiding Negotiation — and Positive Strategies for Change By Linda Babcock and Sara Laschever Drawing on compelling research and hundreds of interviews, this book explores why women are reluctant to ask for what they need, want and deserve, and looks at how we can learn this key skill.

9 6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T

gender divide when it comes at asking for what we need.


Clockwise from left: Skipper Otto co-founder Sonia Strobel and husband Shaun Strobel. Shaun on deck. A show of hands at a SheEO event.

Sonia Strobel is the co-founder and CEO of Skipper Otto, a company that’s redesigning the seafood industry. It has created a subscription program that allows its members across Canada to buy their seafood directly from British Columbia fishing families who use smallscale, sustainable methods. Sonia says that at the first SheEO Summit she attended in Toronto, Canada, everybody was invited to make an ask, so she began with a very conservative one: could a few people from the gala sign up to the Skipper Otto

“How would you behave differently if you knew

subscription program? She then distributed

you were surrounded by a room full of supportive

information on signing up as she passionately

people? That change was pivotal. Instead of

told the story of her company, and invited

assuming people don’t want to support me, that

people to join so that Skipper Otto could bring

changed it for me. It helped me to go into rooms

on more indigenous fishing families and

with confidence and ask.”

support their

How would you behave differently if you knew you were surrounded by a room full of supportive people?


Sonia says her mindset on asking for help has

“Suddenly from

generosity model. She has eliminated the idea of

behind me I heard this rustling,” Sonia says. “I turned and

saw the entire room of hundreds of people were all standing up with hands holding cards, saying they would support these families. I wept. I couldn’t believe the support.

completely been transformed by SheEO’s radical asking for help being tied to desperation, or unwelcomed behavior within a community. There are people out there actively looking for opportunities. It’s a case of matching them up. SKIPPEROTTO.COM SKIPPEROTTO

N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   9 7


Toni De srosiers , founder of Abeego. H ear how impor tant the relationship with her bank is for the grow th of her busine s s in the Learning L ab serie s .

she told RBC what was happening at work, they saw Toni couldn’t afford to have access to the capital she did. “We took a straight look at it and my RBC advisor saw that the financing structure that was in place wasn’t the right solution. The business didn’t have the debt-toequity ratio to support the financing, so we sat down to figure it out. There was no feeling of fear or shame; it was a very straightforward and collaborative conversation that led to a viable outcome.”

Going further than finance Abeego’s Toni Desrosiers has built a close relationship with her business advisor at RBC. And it’s made her more confident in the way she does business. WO R DS E LLY STR A N G


ne of the most important business relationships you can build is with your bank, and the earlier you do it, the better. Building a strong relationship with a business manager like those at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) can help you learn the financing available to you, manage cash flow, grow your business acumen and confidence.

When Toni Desrosiers founded Abeego, she didn’t know what kind of financing was available to someone with a business like hers. Abeego is a breathable beeswax food wrap business. Sales ebb and flow throughout the year, with October through to December being the busiest months. Toni says it was because of the sales 9 8  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M O D E L

fluctuations that she learned to lean in to her relationship with her advisor Sara Schenderling, a commercial account manager at RBC, and have a discussion about what best suited her business needs. Sara recommended that a rotating operating loan would get her through the peaks and valleys better than a loan. Through the close relationship they’ve built, she’s also learned not to hold back on the more difficult conversations. Abeego was selected as a funded SheEO Venture in Canada in 2015, but a few weeks before the announcement, Toni made the decision to lay off her entire team. “The year before I bet big, I’d gotten financing and made decisions that weren’t in line with a great strategy and I found myself in a financial situation that wasn’t awesome. I had to lay off six people and it was a really difficult time,” Toni says. When

This inspired her to look at her finances in a more realistic light. Within a year, she says she’d turned it around and grown Abeego 300%. “My biggest learning is not to be afraid to approach your lender if things aren’t going well. It’s important and critical to be brave and tell them what’s happening and get in front of it. Don’t hide. When I need a financial thinking partner, Sara is always there and there’s a sense of security and confidence in that.” Sara says that we want to ensure businesses are not biting off more than they can chew with financing. “We want to help. Our role is to build a good relationship and give sound advice,” she says. “First off, is this debt affordable? As a bank yes, we provide financing solutions, but we don’t want to overburden anyone. Where are you at? How are things growing? How are you changing? Does what you have from a banking and a financing perspective make sense for this point in time?” If you want to start to build a relationship with a bank manager, Sara recommends starting at a human level. “Establish a long-term relationship, so you want to feel comfortable and trusted in moving forward together. You’re going to be the expert of your own business, so grab a coffee, and make a personal connection first by coming together to discuss expertise on both sides.”


H ear the re s t of Toni and S ara’s convers ation and learn about how to communicate ef fec tively in the ‘ B uilding your relationship with your bank ’ webinar.

SheEO Learning Lab SheEO Learning Lab is a series of live webinars and online resources designed to give women the skills and knowledge to start a business and grow as an entrepreneur. Learn directly from the SheEO Ventures building innovative businesses, doing business differently and working on the World’s To-Do List.



SheEO.World/learning lab SheEO.World


The world’s to-do list Meet some of the women in the process of redesigning the world. WO R DS E LLY STR A N G


ach of the Ventures SheEO supports across the globe are reimagining the way things can be done and reconfiguring the systems we live in to solve the biggest challenges facing the world today. They take into consideration factors like hiring inclusively, paying living wages, using clean energy and having a clear purpose that solves a problem when creating their business models. This aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide a framework for peace and prosperity for people and our planet. Here, TygaBox, The Hello Cup, Abeego and WBGS share how they’re chipping away at longlasting, systemic change that will, in time, strengthen our communities and create a healthier planet.

1 0 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T


Robyn McLean Co-founder of The Hello Cup New Zealand What UN Goals are they solving? 3

12 The Hello Cup founders Mary Bond (right) and Robyn McLean.


he Hello Cup is a menstrual cup made out of medical-grade plastic that is hypoallergenic and fully recyclable at the end of its life. We saw there was a better, more comfortable, economical and sustainable way to deal with periods than with the single-use products that, for years, we’ve been led to believe were our only choice. My business partner Mary and I tried menstrual cups a few years ago and straight away realised they should be mainstream, especially for the sake of our daughters. We aim to significantly reduce the amount of single-use period waste clogging our landfill and waterways.




We are growing, and like all start-ups, wish we had more funds to realise the potential we know the company has. Two years in we are already recognised as one of the best menstrual cup brands on the global market. It’s an exciting industry with lots of businesses who want to make the planet a better place for future generations. Hello Cups have reduced a massive amount of waste in the world. Also, our business is grounded in kindness. Be kind to each other and be kind to the planet and good things will happen. It makes you feel better, too. THEHELLOCUP.COM THEHELLOCUP

Discover the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) LEARN NOW

N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 0 1


Yasmin Grigaliunas

CEO and co-founder of World’s Biggest Garage Sale Australia What UN Goals are they solving? 11




he World’s Biggest Garage Sale (WBGS) is a company that holds massive community events – also known as a garage sale – where people donate unwanted household goods and returned retail items. We resell them to create purposeful profit. Our events offer people other ways to source high-quality household items at prices that are affordable. We also recover the resources to create entirely new products, ultimately delivering on a more circular economy. With an abundance of stuff already in the economy, coupled with the ever growing population, we cannot simply keep taking, making and disposing in order to live.




It’s time for a regenerative approach. Resale is growing faster than retail and this will be our new normal in years to come. WBGS provides a platform to scale this under a license model. This is done by tackling the tough stuff: moving things from where they are now when underutilized, to where it needs to go in order to produce value for people, for the planet and for purpose. We still

WORLD SUSTAINABILITY DEVELOPMENT GOALS The UN’s 17 Sustainability Development Goals aim to achieve decent lives for all on a healthy planet by 2030. 1 0 2  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T

WBGS founder Yasmin Grigaliunas.

pinch ourselves that we’re an award-winning company with an award-winning team, all while being Brisbane-based and in just one city council region. If we can achieve this in one city, imagine what we can do further afield! The ideal future is a regenerative one, where we don’t continue to use virgin materials. WORLDSBIGGESTGARAGESALE.COM.AU WORLDSBIGGESTGARAGESALE


Nadine Cino CEO of TygaBox United States What UN Goals are they solving? 12




ygaBox helps companies reduce their moving costs and packaging impacts by renting its reusable moving system, replacing cardboard boxes entirely. We reduce the waste of financial, operational and planetary resources. The triple bottom line. We believe that reusing is the most efficient form of environmental behavior as compared to recycling.That’s why we engineered TygaBox to last over 25 years. We rent out the same box thousands of times.



We now have another way to reuse, with the introduction of TygaTrax, electronic ID tags that track things. The data measures how efficiently an item is being utilized by tracking and counting the number of times anything, not just TygaBoxes, is reused. Imagine if we could reduce the waste of planetary resources by as little as 1%. What would that look like? That’s the future world our business is building towards – one in which all things are connected, tracked digitally and reused until their life-cycles have been fully exhausted. TYGABOX.COM TYGABOXSYSTEMS


Our slogan is #MakeReuseAHabit. As humans, we tend to ignore one of the most fundamental principles of mother nature, to reuse. Being ruthlessly efficient in the design and operation of her ecosystem, she is constantly growing, decomposing and reusing organic matter in precise balance to support myriad life forms.

CONTINUED N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 0 3


1 0 4  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T


Toni Desrosiers Founder and CEO of Abeego Canada What UN Goals are they solving? 2

Abeego founder Toni Desrosiers.


Abeego is a reusable beeswax food wrap that protects and breathes like nature’s peel, keeping food preserved for longer. In our test kitchen we demonstrate and educate people about how fresh, living food behaves in an environment that maintains its optimal nutrition. Our kale test found that wrapped in Abeego, it retained 96% of its weight, which was 31




times more than kale left out without Abeego. What’s in that weight loss? Vital nutrients and carbohydrates. When I started in 2008, you couldn’t google ‘alternative food wrap’, and now Abeego is in almost a million homes worldwide and sold in stores in 40 countries! For more than 50 years, we’ve been sold the idea of air-tight, plastic food wrap, but food needs to breathe – as evidenced by all food in nature, which keeps itself alive with breathable peels, skins and rinds. I see a future where fresh food is available to everyone on every corner and being grown in every public space. Abeego stands to empower people with the ability to save food for themselves by understanding its life cycle and where we fit into it. ABEEGO.COM ABEEGO

N E W M I N D S E T   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 0 5




Becs Percasky and Kate Bezar of The Better Packaging Co gave all this year’s US and Canadian semifinalists $150 worth of compostable e-commerce mailers and labels.


Forty people around the world gave gifts of Activation to women of all ages who otherwise couldn’t afford it.

Toronto activator Janice Diner housed SheEO HQ for 1.5 years in her horizn company office, which really helped SheEO get off the ground in its early days.

Wheel of generosity Five acts of radical generosity that made us smile.


To help sibling venture Chia Sisters, Guardian Angel’s Petra Hakansson, Sue de Bievre of Beany, Becs Percasky of Better Packaging, and Mary Bond of The Hello Cup pounded the pavements to their local cafes and stores asking them to stock Chia’s healthy beverages.

Join the discussion Have you witnessed an act of radical generosity? We want to hear about it! @SheEO_WORLD

1 0 6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M I N D S E T


Kiwis Elizabeth Brown, Kirsty Reynolds, Michelle Dickinson and Elizabeth Greive hosted SheEO’s Jessy Wang on her first trip to New Zealand. Kirsty even invited Jessy to her cottage ‘bach’ and taught her how to waterski.



New model Feeding the world


Are you a builder or borrower?


C O M M U N I T Y / V E N T U R E S / A C T I VATO R S / N E W M I N D S E T / N E W M O D E L N E W M O D E L   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 0 7


Are you sure it’s money you need to grow your business? Criterion Institute president Joy Anderson says an obstacle to growth isn’t always lack of funds, but a failure to fully understand the power dynamics at play in a particular project. She explains how asking three important questions at the outset can encourage more ‘disenfranchised’ groups to engage with finance – and leverage the power of money to effect meaningful change. WO R DS J OY A N D E R SO N

What is the change you wish to see in the world? What power dynamics foster or hinder that change? What’s the role of money in those systems of power?


hese are the questions we should begin by asking ourselves in order to get a more diverse range of people engaged with financial systems. The question of whether systems of finance and investments and the movement of capital could be helpful to that cause should then follow this, not precede it.

I founded an organisation called the Criterion Institute 19 years ago. Our mission is to increase the number of people who see themselves as able to use finance as a tool for social change. Often, the ones with the financial imaginations are those already in positions of power who have money available to them. To counteract this, we work with social

1 0 8  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M O D E L


Joy presenting at one of her workshops.

change leaders, whether they are in grassroots organizations, NGO’s, women’s rights organisations, philanthropic organizations or research shops and say to them, “You might actually have an amazing imagination to bring to the system of finance.” A lot of people actively disengage with money because of their own associations or constraints with it. They can think of it as capitalist, evil, or unnecessary. They feel like they don’t know anything about money, investments, or capital, and they have to leave that part of the business to an advisor instead. However, to ignore one of the most powerful systems in the world is also a grave mistake. We need to leverage its power, but in a way that doesn’t feel disenfranchising to certain groups of people. If the conversation starts with, “What social change are you trying to create?” then the broader issue at hand and the change needed become the focus. A discussion about power dynamics and how social change can happen can then follow. Finance is not a magical wand that can be waved over these global problems, but if you pay attention to a broad set of contextual information and do things with an intersectional lens, you can potentially advance an issue.

This one mode of being in the world is set up on a pedestal, and so Mark Zuckerberg ends up looking like what we all should want to be. When it comes to investing, if we dive a bit deeper into the relationships we have, it’s all about “Trust me with your money”. Yet it’s not really that some types of people are fundamentally more trustworthy; it’s just that how they perform that trust looks more like the dominant culture. This means those who receive the money often are one privileged sector of humanity, and anybody else who has a slightly different expression of humanity misses out. With venture capital, one of the aspects I feel worried about is how we approach the lack of access to capital for women and, in particular, women of color. We start with the assumption that the

goal is to get them to be able to access that money. If they had the money, that would support their ability to launch high-growth businesses, which are the most appealing to venture capital. However, women who’ve experienced broad-based structural inequities tend to build normal-growth businesses that grow one revenue line at a time. This may not appeal to venture capital, which perpetuates the cycle of lack of access to funds. This one mode of being in the world, or one privileged experience, is set up on a pedestal, and so Mark Zuckerberg ends up looking like what we should all want to be. It’s no wonder this doesn’t work out all the time. N E W M O D E L   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 0 9


Relationships with people, not money Rather than the focus be on our own relationship with money, the focus should be on our relationships with one another, most of which include an economic aspect.

the only thing we can definitively say that

We should be thinking about how we’re in relationship with one another, the power dynamic and the ways in which systems of finance and economic structures play into that relationship.

necessarily about the amount of money

Take poverty. An example of asking the right question is, ‘How can finance as a system be used as a tool to change the structural inequities of poverty that ensure the cycle continues?’

To better help women succeed, we need

This is a very different question from asking how much money can we donate to reduce poverty. It’s not actually about the dollar figure, although that can help alleviate certain issues.

power. Your gender can dictate whether

If we want to create true, meaningful, systematic change, then solving poverty is about looking at the way we construct relationships that doesn’t allow for structural inequities to change. If you don’t address the underlying power dynamics in relationships, then the cycle continues.

more specifically look at what the power

We also ask the wrong questions when it comes to microfinances. Money lending has been transformational in the world in many ways, but by giving a woman a loan,

way it’s always been – there are ways we

we’ve done is that we’ve increased the amount of debt that she has. What she does with that money and how she influences her community is not she receives. She could use it in an unwise way and wind up in further debt, or it could keep her trapped in an exploitative

Name: Joy Anderson

relationship with a money lender. to understand and better analyze how power dynamics operate both in systems of finance and in the world. This includes gender, which is a construction of a set of

Currently living: With her husband and daughter in a Connecticut apple orchard, where she can be found pressing cider and boiling apple syrup in the fall.

you’re dismissed in a room or whether an investor thinks you look like you fit the dominant culture. Within the systems of finance, we can dynamics are in a particular project, whether we can unlock other forms of

Résumé: Co-founder of Good Capital, featured on Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, and founder and president of the Criterion Institute.

capital and whether we could redesign the structures that are managing the relationship. The beauty of the SheEO network is it shows that we don’t have to accept the can work differently to finance Ventures that are outside the box of what investors typically go for.

It’s not actually about the dollar figure, although that can help alleviate certain issues.

1 1 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M O D E L

30-second bio

Latest passion project: Building a network of investors, gender-based violence experts and fund managers to develop products that address genderbased violence. The goal is to move US$10 billion in investment capital by 2022.

Mantra: How would we invest today if we truly believed that the arc of the moral universe did indeed bend toward justice?


What’s interesting is often people have told me that they like that formality when it comes to relationships involving finances. Because it’s all women and flat structured, anyone can access anyone on the community hub and communicate with them, regardless of their job title. And decisions on who to invest in are made by the people, not by a powerful few. This deconstructs all of the traditional power constructs that usually go into funding and enterprise. Instead, it’s all about the personal relationship Ventures form with Activators. One aspect in which they’re going to interact is through a financial relationship via the money being loaned to Ventures, but that investment is only one part to it. There’s also an exchange happening through advice, contacts, ideas, support and more, which strengthens the relationship even further. What’s interesting is often people have told me that they like that formality when it comes to relationships involving finances. They don’t want a financial relationship with their close relations because that would make it less pure.

Joy at an event in Manila.

But is the wisest answer really to give all of your important financial relationships to people who don’t care or have a personal stake in you, or your venture?

Globally, we’re now in this moment where the different areas of finance, from impact to gender lens investing, are aligning, and we’re seeing a real shift.

The world would be a worse-off place if only the people who don’t care about friendship or humility or grace are the ones managing all of the financial relationships.

There are innovative government initiatives, like Canada’s announcement to raise its funding to over a billion dollars annual investment to support women and girls’ health around the world. What does it look like to move a billion with a feminist lens on it? They may not have figured out how to do that just yet, but they’re asking the questions.

This isn’t to say those who work in finance are approaching it wrong; they just are taught to establish a certain sort of restricted relationship with customers. SheEO opens many more doors by its very different nature. There are thousands of Activators available to donate time or money to your cause who have expertise in a huge variety of areas. This way, the risks are reduced because you have a wrap-around support network that you can refer to if you make a potential error. They both support you and hold you accountable, which ensures you’re spending the money wisely.

There are organisations like the Criterion Institute which are working to discover new approaches and strategies to address power and bias in investment strategies to shift financial systems in favor of the change makers. And then there are global communities like SheEO, which allows women to stop trying to fit into existing models and systems, and which is levelling the playing field by creating an entirely new field with a feminist lens. So, is it really money you need, or do you need help in figuring out what financial system can be shifted to best help you solve your problem? CRITERIONINSTITUTE.ORG

LISTEN to the full episode

“Using finance as a tool to create social change with Activator Joy Anderson” Google | iTunes | Spotify SHEEO.WORLD

N E W M O D E L   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 1 1


A measure of integrity Factoring in the social and environmental costs of production through ‘true cost accounting’ is a worthy aim. But is it really the best way to incentivize a shift towards sustainable development? WO R DS D E N I S E H E A R N


ave you ever tried to calculate the number of humans who help you live your life in a single day? Something as simple as purchasing a morning coffee involves not only direct human support (the coffee store cashier and barista, as an example), but also indirect support like the delivery woman who drove the milk to that location. Taking the thought-experiment further, we can extrapolate widely to: the coffee bean farmer, the shipping logistics company employee who manages the route from Costa Rica to your location, the ship’s captain, and so on until you realize that even buying a coffee requires a vast collection of human collaborators. This realization is both profoundly beautiful and can also become mentally straining as it dawns on you that the same web of interconnectedness follows every physical object you utilize daily, and even intangible objects like software, mental models, and information. We live in a complex and emergent world, one that is constantly adapting, changing, and fluid. Despite this complexity, a great deal of time and money has been spent attempting to empirically measure the social and environmental impact of specific business activities and investments. Environment, Social, Governance (ESG), Social Return on Investment (SROI), Triple Bottom Line (TBL), and other frameworks have been utilized in recent years to account for multiple factors when considering evaluating success beyond financial returns. 1 1 2  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M O D E L

True cost (or full cost) accounting is a term that has been proposed to calculate the ‘true cost’ of the production of a specific good. It is meant to include the external costs (both social and environmental) that companies fail to account for when solely focused on profit maximization. One example often cited is the ‘true cost’ of producing food in largescale agricultural farming. While the monocrop farm can deliver a cheaper fruit or vegetable at the market, there are hidden costs associated – they use polluting pesticides, degrade the soil and pay farmers low wages – that simple financial calculations do not reveal. Conceptually, attempting to account for these external costs is a good idea: we all realize the need to build businesses and investment products that are focused on the UN Sustainable Development Goals or in SheEO lingo, ‘the world’s to-do list.’ But is ‘true cost accounting’ the best way of incentivizing this shift?

ACTIVATOR Denise Hearn is co-chair of First Principles — a group of emerging technology leaders who learn together about how to deploy impact capital.


Triple Bottom Line framework





I would argue no, for a few reasons. Firstly, complex systems are inherently difficult (if not impossible) to measure. A brief example: the bee population has been dying at alarming rates in the United States in recent years, and the causes have remained a mystery to scores of bee scientists. Recently Paul Stamets, the renowned mycologist, discovered a link to a particular kind of fungi that bees previously ate more regularly, which inoculated them against major viruses known to cause widespread colony collapse. The fungal presence had also dramatically declined due to clear cutting old growth forests for logging and ranching.



We a l l r e a l i z e t h e n e e d t o b u i l d bu si nesses a nd i nvest ment product s t h a t a r e fo c u s e d o n t h e U N S u s t a i n a b l e Development G oa ls.

tyranny of financial value above all other forms of value. I spoke not too long ago with John Elkington, the creator of the term Triple Bottom Line [TBL]. He’s just recalled the phrase in a Harvard Business Review article, saying, “the TBL wasn’t designed to be just an accounting tool. It was supposed to provoke deeper thinking about capitalism and its future, but many early adopters understood the concept as a balancing act, adopting a trade-off mentality. Clearly, the Triple Bottom Line has failed to bury the single bottom line paradigm.”

This seemingly intangible link was only discovered last year, underscoring how little we understand about ecosystems and their interconnected fragility. When trying to translate this level of emergent complexity onto a balance sheet, there is simply no mathematical model which can accurately account for this degree of complexity of ‘cost of production.’ Secondly, true cost accounting relies on placing an arbitrary economic value on things that cannot be subjectively measured: like the value of nature, or personal health, or social cohesion. How much is the old growth forest in British Columbia Canada worth to national GDP? Is this even the right question to be asking? Insisting on placing economic value on intangible societal and environmental systems subjugates the natural world and indeed, our human relationships, to the

The Myth of Capitalism Jonathan Tepper and Denise Hearn A look at how America has gone from an open, competitive marketplace to one where a few very powerful companies dominate key industries that affect our daily lives.

While I applaud the attempt to translate new kinds of value onto the balance sheets of companies and into the investment strategy of large institutions, what perhaps we need even more urgently are new paradigms that focus on generating long-term, uncertain and emergent value which isn’t always measurable. Measurement matters, but first we must interrogate the fundamental paradigms which undergird our prescribed solutions. DENISEHEARN.COM N E W M O D E L   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 1 3

SheEO Venture Ask Me Anything Join a group video call with SheEO and a Venture to get your questions answered, and to learn more about the application process and the SheEO Venture experience! SheEO.World/apply



The inclusive innovation ecosystem

regional hubs with a network of more than 200 researchers, business organizations, educational institutions, community organizations and investors.

Individual Level

Organizational Level

Societal Level

An ambitious enterprise Canada aims to double the number of women entrepreneurs by 2025, but success will hinge on much more than money and good intentions, says this technology and innovation expert WO R DS WE N DY CU K I E R


ntrepreneurship is at the centre of advancing Canada’s economic, innovation, social and sustainability goals. Women are a key focus, but barriers remain.

More than 39% of Canadians are selfemployed, and women are majority owners of only 15.6% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Women-owned firms are more likely to be in the services sector, and they tend to be smaller and less likely to export than firms owned by men, even when sectors are taken into account. While extensive research reveals women entrepreneurs face both overt and subtle bias, there are signs of progress. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reveals Canadian women have the highest rate (13.3%) of early stage entrepreneurship among comparable economies, and the rate of women pursuing entrepreneurship has increased dramatically.

Canada has launched the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a wholegovernment approach with the ambitious goal of doubling the number of women entrepreneurs by 2025. It mobilizes all government departments – whether through developing enabling conditions, targeted policies and programs, strategy investments, leveraging procurement to advance women entrepreneurs or growing opportunities for women in international trade. In addition to establishing funds to support individual entrepreneurs, Canada is investing in strengthening the entire ecosystem and developing a platform to bolster collaboration and networks to help share knowledge about what works, to erode barriers to an inclusive innovation ecosystem and to challenge stereotypes. The Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) – led by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute in partnership with the Ted Rogers School of Management and the Brookfield Institute – is organized around

The innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem is nothing if not complex. Government policies and programs, technology infrastructure, broad economic and demographic shifts, culture and the media all shape the environment in which entrepreneurs operate, and they often present barriers to women. There are many stakeholders that also influence all stages of entrepreneurial activity. Research, innovation and incubation centres also shape the skills and aspirations of talent. Business support organizations offer programs which, along with investors and financial institutions, help entrepreneurs succeed. And of course customers, large businesses and government, in particular, can make or break a nascent enterprise. There’s much evidence to show most of the organizations in the innovation ecosystem were developed for men by men. At the individual level, aspirations and identity are shaped by numerous factors – family, peers, education and societal norms – and debates continue about how we can expand the pool of women who pursue their entrepreneurial dreams in spite of the barriers they may face. Decision-makers also need to be prepared to use their individual spheres of influence to drive change. Never before has there been more potential to drastically increase the number of women entrepreneurs. But as we have seen with the efforts to advance women in technology, good intentions are not enough. There are fewer women than ever in computer science and only marginally more in engineering in spite of big investments. To achieve Canada’s audacious goal, we need to work together to harness knowledge about what works and what doesn’t in driving inclusive innovation. Wendy is a leading expert in innovation processes, disruptive technologies and diversity. Visit the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub WEKH.CA N E W M O D E L   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 1 5


Thinking inside the box Farm From a Box is the ‘Swiss Army knife’ of sustainable farming that helps people to build a strong livelihood. WO R DS E LLY S TR A N G / PH OTOS S U PPLI E D


hen Brandi DeCarli set out to get to the root of the problem of world food access, she never imagined she’d end up in the business of farming. Now she is the founding partner of Farm From a Box, an adaptable and deliverable farming toolkit for offgrid food production. The idea for Farm From a Box came about when Brandi and her business partner Scott were in Kenya working on a project with UN-Habitat, a program for human settlements and sustainable urban development. The pair were building a youth empowerment center and used modified shipping containers to bring in resources that the community lacked, such as sport, health and education. Brandi says it became clear that another factor was missing: access to healthy food. 1 1 6  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M O D E L

“That was really the birth of Farm From a Box: how can we create a deliverable, localized solution that would be help communities grow their own food?” The UN says a significant change in the global food and agriculture system is needed to address the 821 million people who are hungry today, as well as the additional two billion who are expected to be undernourished by 2050. International food aid is often the solution, but one of the problems with short-term solutions such as food transfers from other nations is it continues the cycle of the lack of food access and negatively affects local markets. Brandi says by her and Scott taking a different approach, and enabling people to grow their own food, it offered a new, long term solution that would benefit people nutritionally and economically.

Farmers work the land at Kalimungoma Ushirikiano Farmers Cooperative, Tanzania, which is thriving thanks to help from a Farm From a Box/World Food Programme pilot scheme.


“How can we create a deliverable, localized solution that would help communities grow their own food?”

N E W M O D E L   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 1 7



Each unit is powered by renewable energy and acts independent of grid access.


“The tools and technology exist today to fill that infrastructure gap and enable people to grow their own food. But they needed to be brought together into one solution: power, water, and connectivity, all supporting local agriculture,” she says.

ABOVE: The Kalimungoma

Ushirikiano Farmers Cooperative (‘Ushirikiano’ means ‘spirit of working together’ in Swahili). Help from Farm From a Box has seen their nutritional intake and income levels rise.

The modified 20ft shipping container comes preinstalled with all of the technology needed to support sustainable food production. Powered by renewable energy, it has drip irrigation, solarpowered cold storage, Wi-Fi, and a complete data monitoring system. It also comes with a training program to empower people with technical knowledge and farm support. “Not only is it powered by clean energy, which is important even if we have urban farms, but it also completely opens up the possibility for it to be rural and even in really remote locations because it’s its own independent system that’s entirely 1 1 8  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M O D E L


A high performance, maintenancefree solar pump is adaptable to different water access points— from municipal line or ground well to river or lake.


Brandi also realised that Farm From a Box would be useful to both developing nations and firstworld countries like her own, the United States. “The more we dove into it, the more we realized that lack of food access and lack of infrastructure to support healthy food access was not unique to the global dynamic – it’s right here in our own backyards also,” she says. “There are a good 500 million people that are food insecure in the United States alone.”

An easy-to-install, super efficient water delivery system stabilizes crop production in drought conditions and extends the growing season.

The walk-in cold storage unit keeps crops fresh while reducing post-harvest loss by as much as 80%.

5. WI-FI

Our Wi-Fi-enabled system turns your farm into a hotspot, providing web access and connectivity.


Each unit is powered by renewable energy and acts independent of grid access.


Integrated sensors provide realtime data on the entire system, from the field to the technology.

6 5


powered by off-grid solar energy,” Brandi says. Providing off-the-grid energy is significant as 840 million people have no access to electricity worldwide, due to most living in rural areas of the developing world. Brandi says the world does have enough food to feed those that are hungry; it’s just a matter of how it is distributed and what segments are being left out.

ABOVE: Alice Concessa, one of the leaders of the cooperative. She is a force of nature within the community and now with the training she has received on modern technology and sustainable farming practices, acts as an advisor for the local agricultural extension. LEFT: Brandi and Scott, Farm From a Box founders.

“When we strengthen our local food production, we make communities much more resilient to being able to handle economic and climactic challenges – they become empowered to take care of their nutritional needs directly within their own area.” FARMFROMABOX.COM FARMFROMABOX

Ventures fixing broken models Solstice

S.O.U.L. Sisters



The average Solstice project

Founder Wakumi’s father is

10Power installed the largest

avoids 500 tons of C02

serving 30-to-life in prison. She’s

solar panel installation on any

emissions yearly.

helping youth leaders impacted

UNICEF property in the world.

by mass incarceration.

Solstice is a company founded by Steph Speirs and Sandhya Murali that connects households to free community-shared solar power. Many people cannot install solar power for various reasons, such as not having a suitable rooftop. Solstice solves this problem by making affordable and renewable energy available to all through solar array panels being installed in a centralized location for groups of local residents. Its goal is to put affordable and clean energy within the reach of every American.

S.O.U.L Sisters is on a mission to support emerging leaders who have experienced inequality in the educational, legal and economic systems within society. It wants to mobilize girls and non-binary youth of color to interrupt cycles of state violence, poverty and oppression. It has programs and advocacy training that include creative problem solving skills, self-awareness skills and strong ethics training.



10Power USA

10Power is a social enterprise that finances and develops renewable energy projects in global communities that lack access to electricity. It works with local partners to complete commercial-scale solar projects, making renewable energy affordable and accessible and improving people’s livelihoods. Founded by Sandra Kwak, 10Power’s belief is that renewable energy is the key to providing access to clean water, gender empowerment, education and technology. It reinvests the revenue it makes into the communities it works with to grow its impact.


N E W M O D E L   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 1 9


Bootstrap or borrow? What’s the best way to get your company off the ground? Bootstrapping the business yourself and borrowing money from others each have their pros and cons. The retired CFO of Royal Bank of Canada and SheEO board chair explains. WO R DS JA N I CE F U K AK U SA


hen it comes to setting up a business, how you’re going to fund your company’s growth is one of the first factors you will need to address. Contrary to popular belief, getting this money from private investors isn’t the only option available to you. Bootstrapping is one form of obtaining capital by using your personal savings or net worth and your network of friends and family to fund the launch of your business idea through to proof of viability. If you can raise enough money through this method, you can proceed through proof of concept to production quickly. One advantage of bootstrapping is you have a better chance of raising funding

Janice Fukakusa, financial services expert and SheEO board chair.

1 2 0  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  N E W M O D E L

to further develop the business, as it is more difficult trying to get capital from strangers based on your concept. You also don’t need to pay financial costs that come with borrowing, or share your decision-making with outside investors. While it’s good to have your own funding supporting your idea and have skin in the game, there are also some considerations to make. With bootstrapping, getting financing from friends and family may have an effect on your personal relationships. It’s important to factor in whether this will create strain on these relationships if something was to go awry and you couldn’t repay the money as planned. As well as this, bootstrapping the amount of funding necessary from your own pocket and those close to you in a realistic time frame also requires thought. You may not be able to grow the business as fast and scale as much as you’d like.

Another form of financing is borrowing by getting a bank loan, but this is generally not an option for start-up entrepreneurs, as banks will require security and, often, an established and proven cash flow. Start-up equity is also an option for funding by selling a percentage of the company’s shares to investors, but the company may need to be established and mature first in order to attract the right people. But before you approach anyone for money, the most significant obstacle you need to address that’s getting in the way of raising first-stage funding is your mindset. You do not need to have the perfect concept, business case and roll-out plan in place before seeking funding. It’s all about the process and how you test your ideas and learn along the way. It’s also all about resilience. Learn quickly what you’re great at, and what you are not so great at and

“Before you approach anyone for money, the most significant obstacle you need to address ... is your mindset.”


Nada founder Brianne Miller.

need to have expertise in. For example, you may have a great concept, but are not so strong in sales. Recognize this early and start to reach out to your peers and networks. The SheEO ecosystem is there to make the connections and provide the support. Keep failing fast and know that if it is not working, don’t keep re-iterating it – move on to the next idea, while taking time to internalize what you learned from that failure. This is how you will build self-confidence so when you do go to seek out money and pitch your idea, you can be strong about your business case and the scope of what is possible. When it comes to deciding between bootstrapping or borrowing, SheEO’s Venture funding is a great solution to fill the gap between scraping together these initial funds and being mature enough as a company to do a fund-raise.

A bootstrapping success


In true bootstrapping fashion, Nada founder and CEO Brianne Miller bought some groceries and set them up on a table in her local Patagonia store, then invited people to bring containers and sold to them. She says this simple and low-cost strategy early on in the business helped her iron out a huge number of issues without a huge financial outlay. That was in 2013. Nada now sells all groceries without packaging. As in, absolutely none. Bring your own containers and bags to the store in Vancouver plus a few extras to get some impulse buying goodies! Her advice to people starting out in business? Just ask. There’s so much help out there. NADAGROCERY.COM NADAGROCERY Brianne Miller started small and grew organically. It’s stressful making mistakes using venture capital. It’s easier to grow when finances are under control.

Its system taps into a group of accomplished, dedicated and generous Activators who are willing to fund these Ventures for no return on the capital, and no return of capital. They’re also willing to provide their expertise and support, at no cost. So, what avenue is right for you? SHEEO.WORLD N E W M O D E L   |   S H E E O . W O R L D ||   1 2 1




Loliware is a leading seaweed-based material technology company that is replacing single-use plastics. Co-founder Sea Fawn Briganti wants to heal the planet by making objects that are designed to disappear, and launched the business in 2015 with a seaweed-based edible cup. Since then Loliware has also created the Lolistraw, a seaweed-based straw designed to replace the 360 billion plastic straws used annually worldwide. The material Loliware uses outperforms bioplastics and biodegrades at the same rate as food waste.

Lolistraw was the official straw of the 2019 Emmys, and Loliware has partnered with other global companies, like Marriott and Pernod Ricard.

1 2 2  |  S H E E O . W O R L D |  S P O T L I G H T

Come and explore our backyard Visit

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.