My faith and hope for the future was redeemed this week when I heard from young women who have benefitted from or are now receiving funds through SheEo. Many are ideas I would never have ever thought of, never mind created a business to bring them into reality.
Using the UN goals to combat social and economic development issues – poverty, hunger, health, education, global warming, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanization, environment and social justice – businesses are selected when they address at least one of these issues.
Through SheEO they receive an interest free loan for five years. Once the finalists have been selected, the women go on a retreat and together work out and determine how to divide up the money available to them.
We heard from eight young women whose businesses have been selected for the coming year and updates from those whose ventures received support last year. The results were amazing. Thanks to the support from SheEO which is not just financial but business advice too, these businesses are fast becoming million dollar enterprises and having an impact globally.
So what are these women doing? From last year’s cohort, we heard about HigherEdPoints.com through which you can use your air miles or reward points to help pay off student loans or fees. Working with many of the educational institutions as well as TD and CIBC, this business helps make post-secondary education more affordable and allows students to graduate with less debt.
Then there’s SucSeed which produces hydroponic systems to allow you to grow your own vegetables and herbs at home, in the classroom and with far reaching implications, in rural and northern communities. Check it out at sucSeed.ca.
Another business that caught my attention was Skipper Otto’s, which similar to the CSA concept used by farmers, is tied into fish, through 37 fishermen based in British Columbia. From a wide range of fish, you can pre-order what you would like and the fish is then delivered. A location in Toronto is in place, so this is not just a BC product, and more locations are being secured across Canada. To sign up, go to www.skipperrotto.ca
When Jessica Ching, from Eve Medical stood up and asked who liked having a pap smear, as predicted, not one hand went up (there were close to 400 women at the Summit) She makes the Eve Kit, Canada’s first at-home HPV and STI screening service. The kit is sent to your home, you complete the test and mail it back. She has partnered with Mount Sinai Hospital for the screening test to be completed there.
Believing that what you put onto your body, goes into your body, sisters Pippa and Neige Blair manufacture Routine, a natural deodorant, which is sold across Canada and distributed worldwide.
And there’s more. I’ve just touched the surface on the business ventures that are being supported by SheEO and if you want to learn more about what these innovative young women are doing, check out www.sheeo.world.
I am a new activator. I just signed up a month ago but already I am totally committed to the work that is being done by this organization which in four years has expanded to US, Australia and New Zealand, has over 4,000 activators, each providing $1,100 to support the next generation of women entrepreneurs.
I encourage you to get involved. You can sign up as a group to become activators, it doesn’t have to be an individual contribution or you can now pay in monthly instalments. Just know that you are making a difference and building a better future for us all.
My congratulations to founder Vicki Saunders on her vision.
Company of Women
I have had an eclectic career from running non-profit organizations and being editor of a national magazine, to working for government on women’s issues. In 2003 I launched Company of Women, an organization that supports women in business. A prolific blogger, I also write for the Huffington Post, and several other online publications. I am the author of five books on women and entrepreneurship, and co-author of Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. which is available on amazon.ca In June, 2016 I launched Full Circle Publishing offering one-stop services to get your words out into the world.