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SheEO names its '2020 New Zealand Ventures'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Economic uncertainty and a global pandemic has not dampened the spirit of ‘radical generosity’ with 906 activations by Kiwi SheEO members, with the announcement today of five successful women-led business ‘Ventures’, set to receive major support thanks to the all-woman business network.

Launched by respected entrepreneur Theresa Gattung in 2017, the New Zealand division of SheEO.World has raised $906,000. The five Ventures, whose applications have been selected for the SheEO 2020 ‘Venture round’, will benefit from the support of interest-free loans for five-years, business mentoring and the expertise of a global network of women. In a new initiative, law firm Russell McVeagh will support this year's five winning SheEO ventures with a package of pro bono legal advice.

Gattung says while Covid-19 has been disruptive and devastating in so many ways, kindness and support has shone through from the SheEO community who continue to fund financially, and back women-led business in Aotearoa.

"I honestly thought it would be too difficult to have a Venture round this year, with everyone so distracted and in many cases completely unsettled through Covid, but we started weekly SheEO calls via Zoom and the community grew and strengthened.

"Even during our level four lockdown we had Activators signing up across New Zealand because of Kiwi women’s belief in the value of our network and wanting to support women-led Ventures. That shows you the radical generosity of SheEO. But it also demonstrates that you don’t have to go it alone in business, women from all walks of life, doing amazing work are here to help."

The successful Ventures for 2020 who will benefit from the support of interest-free loans, business mentoring and the expertise of a global network of women are:

- AWWA - sustainable alternative to menstrual products with latest fabric technology period proof underwear, founded by Michele Wilson and Kylie Matthews. The Auckland-based business is opening a South Island headquarters in Blenheim in January 2021.

- Goodbye SANDFLY and Goodbye OUCH - certified natural products that protect the skin outdoors, founded by Becky Cashman based in Kerikeri.

- Jobloads - a digital solution that enables collaboration and reduces frustration when people work together on temporary jobs, founded by Candice Pardy based in Gisborne.

- Kiri Nathan Ltd - the first Māori fashion industry to focus on community, ethical practice, and cultural integrity, founded by Kiri Nathan in Auckland.

- Nisa - an organic cotton underwear label that employs women from refugee backgrounds in its Wellington studio and workroom, founded by Elisha Watson.

Gattung says, "As is the norm in 2020, the top five Ventures were announced to our Activators at a digital summit this morning. I’m delighted that three of the top five Ventures were founded by Māori wāhine. I’m also pleased to see that we are continuing the geographic spread and now have Ventures in Gisborne and Northland, joining past Ventures from all around New Zealand".

This round saw 54 Venture applications that Activators reviewed, individually selecting who they believe should be the top ten semi-finalists. Following an online presentation by Ventures to Activators and answering questions, Activators again individually selected their SheEO top five.

SheEO is intrinsically linked with the term ‘radical generosity’ that begins with its unique economic model based on a perpetual fund raised. Women Activators contribute $1,100 of which $100 provides administrative support and $1,000 is pooled, providing the interest-free five year loan. Via an online platform, both Activators and Ventures are encouraged to ‘Ask’ for what they need and ‘Give’ what they can. An ‘Ask’ might be in the form of a connection to someone in supermarkets or the need for assistance with a social media strategy, and with the onset of Covid-19, examples of ‘Gives’ appeared in the form of free Zoom lessons through to pro-bono PR support.

In addition to support for the winning ventures, Russell McVeagh will be providing seminars on key legal topics to SheEO's Activator community throughout the year.

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