Vicki Saunders, Founder of SheEO

As a SheEO activator, I consider it a privilege to have had the opportunity to interview Vicki Saunders, Founder of SheEO for this week’s edition of FinanciElle “Statements”.

I need to do this community justice to express how very important it is as a disruptive model for funding and supporting female entrepreneurs so below is a quote directly from the site:

“SheEO is a leading global innovation in the female entrepreneur marketplace. Our radical new model to finance, support and celebrate female entrepreneurs has received global attention by capturing the hearts and minds of women around the world. Over 150 regions from Asia-Pacific to Latin America to Europe and North America have applied to replicate the model in two short years since we launched.

Our model brings together 500 women (we call them Activators) in each cohort, who contribute $1100 each as an Act of Radical Generosity. The money is pooled together and loaned out at low interest to 5 women-led Ventures selected by the Activators. All Ventures are revenue generating with export potential and creating a better world through their business model or their product and service.

Loans are paid back into the fund over 5 years and then loaned out again, which creates a perpetual fund that we will pass on to our daughters, granddaughters and our nieces.

The 500 women become the de-facto ‘team’ of the 5 selected ventures bringing their buying power as early customers, their expertise and advice and their vast networks to help grow the businesses.

With a guided development program (monthly coaching) added in, the Ventures are deeply supported to accelerate their success in an environment of radical generosity, designed by women for women.

Activators are corporate executives, successful entrepreneurs, emerging women leaders, students, mothers, grandmothers, daughters ranging in age from 14 – 92. Our diversity of age, stage, culture and experience makes SheEO a highly coveted and unique community.”

Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance and what did you learn?


Bootstrapping an idea to get a proof-of-concept is always a challenging experience. It requires you to instill confidence in people that you can achieve what you say you want to achieve. Most sentences start with “imagine if….” and you have to take people on a journey with your vision because you haven’t yet done it. I actually love this part of the entrepreneurial journey and it’s also one of the hardest things to do. Most women don’t get funding up front for an idea so you have to get highly creative and engage a bunch of resources to believe in you early on.

I have learned over and over that women get funded based on proof versus potential so we literally have to prove what we are planning to do before we will get funded. It’s a harsh reality. Step into it, find your supporters, and don’t try to convince anyone, just follow the energy. Partner with those who get you and move on from the ones who don’t.

Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about finance when you were first starting your business?


I did get this advice and it was the most useful thing anyone said to me: If you want money, ask for advice. If you want advice, ask for money.  It works beautifully every time. Sit with someone and ask, “If you were me, what would you do in this situation?”  When you ask someone for money they generally go to a part of their brain that wants to say NO first. But when you engage someone in the problem you are trying to solve or the opportunity you are pursuing they tend to get into problem solving mode and access far more than only their money. It can turn out to be a powerful engagement strategy.

I actually once had a funder say to me, “If you were me, what would you hire you to do?”. I LOVED that question. 🙂

Paolina: What topics would you want to learn more about when it comes to finance and your business and why?


I’m curious about blockchain, alternative currencies, new funding models, new incentive systems, distributed global networks of crowdfunding. Anything that radically democratizes capital and keeps it in flow in society is a keen interest of mine.

Vicki Saunders is an entrepreneur, award-winning mentor, advisor to the next generation of change makers and leading advocate for entrepreneurship as a way of creating positive transformation in the world.

To Participate in the community:

If you’d like to be part of this amazing community and help fund and support female run ventures, you can become an activator for 2018 –

If your a female run venture that wants to be part of this amazing community, you can apply to be a venture for 2018 –

More about Vicki:

Vicki is Founder of SheEO and #radical generosity a global initiative to radically transform how we support finance and celebrate female entrepreneurs.

Vicki has co-founded and run ventures in Europe, Toronto and Silicon Valley and taken a company public on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Vicki was recently named one of the 100 most influential leaders of 2015 from “EBW – Empowering A Billion Women”, In 2001, Vicki was selected as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum.

This month’s book for the FinanciElle book review was also written by Vicki, “Think Like A SheEO”.

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