Our Theory: Radically Generous Women Creating a New Economic Model
by Vicki Saunders, SheEO founder & Barbara Kivowitz, SheEO activator
According to an American Express 2016 report, there are over 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. that employ nearly 9 million people and generate over $1.6 trillion in revenues. Revenues among these women-owned businesses have increased 35% since 2007 as compared to 27% among all U.S. firms. The global incomes of women are predicted to reach $18 trillion by 2018. It is also estimated that women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing through a combination of influence and buying power.
Yet only 4% of venture capital funding goes to women entrepreneurs -- at great cost not only to the entrepreneurs, but also to the millions more workers they would employ, and to the economies whose growth will suffer from the absence of these high potential, creative new businesses.
There are two main factors that underlie this imbalance:
- The current (broken) economic funding model that aggregates large amounts of capital in the hands of a few “winners” in exchange for promises of huge returns.
- The gender-based challenges that many women entrepreneurs face, some of which are external and cultural (such as the lack of connection to established VC networks) and some of which are internal and values-based (such as the importance of work/life balance).
SheEO represents a new model of wealth creation that uses the power of relationships to upend these challenges and turn them into new possibilities. Through the $1000 contributions of thousands of radically generous women, SheEO invests in a small number of women-led, socially positive ventures, and actively supports them with zero percent interest loans, a guided development program, and access to a global network of female investors, advisors, and customers. Through this approach, women entrepreneurs not only access needed capital, they are also guided in the business strategy and leadership development so necessary for sustained success – and they have access to the mentorship, expertise, and networks of thousands of SheEO members.
In this paper, we present the SheEO vision, guiding principles, and business model, along with descriptions of venture successes and learnings to date.