Toronto’s SheEO Fund Expanding to Women-Led Ventures in U.S.

SheEO’s venture funding model for women-led businesses is heading south of the border to support female entrepreneurs in the United States.

Founder Vicki Saunders announced today that after a successful pilot, the Toronto organization’s Radical Generosity initiative is launching in the U.S. and opening applications to American female entrepreneurs.

“The reality is, the vast majority of women don’t need venture financing. We need a different model of support and funding. One that is designed specifically to tackle the kind of challenges female entrepreneurs face,” said Saunders in an open letter. She launched SheEO to help women grow their businesses, often overlooked and under-financed.

SheEO’s Radical Generosity model brings together 500 women—referred to as Activators—who each contribute $1,000 to an investment fund. Pooled together, the $500,000 in capital is loaned to five women-led ventures at a low interest rate. The team of Activators also support the selected ventures with their expertise, advice and networks to help the women-led startups scale.

While these loans are paid back to SheEO over five years, they are then loaned out again to create a continuous cycle of funding for female entrepreneurs.

Saunders said the goal of Radical Generosity is to attract 1 million women Activators, thereby creating a $1 billion global fund. She said SheEO is on track to reach that target by 2025.

Launched in 2015, the Radical Generosity initiative has completed two funding cycles in Canada, and recently opened up the fund to New Zealand based businesses. Applications for the next funding round are open until November 1.