Russell McVeagh has stepped up to assist women entrepreneurs with a new initiative to provide pro bono legal advice.
The iniative is part of former Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung’s SheEO Ventures programme, and comprises a group of “radically generous” women support women-owned businesses.
Launched in 2015 in Canada, SheEO operates now in New Zealand as well as the US, UK and Australia. Rather than trying to fit women into the existing models and systems and level the playing field, the concept behind the scheme is to create “an entirely new field.”
The SheEO programme involves several hundred women (called ‘Activators) contributing capital into a collective fund as an “act of radical generosity”, with the money loaned out at no interest to women-led businesses (called Ventures) working on the world’s “to do” list and paid back over a five-year period.
Selected Ventures also have access to women’s networks, buying power and expertise to grow their business.
Launched in New Zealand in 2017, the New Zealand division of SheEO World raised $906,000. The five ventures whose applications have been selected for the SheEO 2020 ‘Venture round’, benefit from the support of interest-free loans for five years, business mentoring and the expertise of a global network of women.
Russell McVeagh will be providing seminars on key legal topics to SheEO’s Activator community throughout the year as part of their pro bono contribution.
The successful Ventures for 2020 include –
· Nisa – an organic cotton underwear label that employs women from refugee backgrounds in its Wellington studio and workroom, founded by Elisha Watson.
· 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.
· 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.
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.
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