Otago Daily Times

Gat­tung’s ve­hi­cle SheEO tak­ing off

- AIMEE SHAW Oceania News · Entrepreneurship · Startups · Venture Capital · Business · Small Business · Investing · New Zealand · My Food Bag · Canada · United States of America · United Kingdom · Australia

LESS than 5% of the world’s ven­ture cap­i­tal fund­ing goes to fe­male­led busi­nesses, and even less for women of colour.

Those are fig­ures that Theresa Gat­tung found hard to swal­low, and in­spired her to set out to bring about change.

Fast for­ward three years, and Ms Gat­tung’s women­back­ing­women ini­tia­tive SheEO, which she brought to New Zealand in 2017, has raised more than $900,000 through 700 ac­ti­va­tors (in­vestors) and helped 15 wom­en­led ven­tures get a head start in the world of busi­ness.

Each year SheEO seeks $1100 from in­vestors — $100 goes into run­ning the or­gan­i­sa­tion and $1000 into the fund. The money, plus funds re­paid from loans from pre­vi­ous years, is di­vided up and given to five se­lected ven­tures, ef­fec­tively an interest­free loan for five years.

This year, it had 216 ac­ti­va­tors and the ven­tures re­ceived about $70,000 each of $335,000 raised. Fifty­five ven­tures ap­plied for this round, and el­i­gi­ble firms had to be gen­er­at­ing rev­enue of be­tween $50,000 and $2 mil­lion, at least 51% woman­owned and women­led, scal­able and strive to cre­ate ‘‘a bet­ter world in some way’’.

Busi­ness­woman and in­vestor Ms Gat­tung, for­mer chief ex­ec­u­tive of Tele­com and co­founder of My Food Bag, said she be­lieved the fund­ing ini­tia­tive had al­ready brought about change in New Zealand and made it eas­ier for women to ac­cess cap­i­tal.

Ms Gat­tung is hope­ful that even­tu­ally, although ‘‘in the very far fu­ture’’, there will no longer be a need for women­spe­cific ini­tia­tives.

‘‘I be­lieve that I am, and SheEO is, part of a path­way now emerg­ing for fe­male en­trepreneur­s in New Zealand. Fe­male lead­er­ship ac­tu­ally does trans­late into busi­ness re­sults, so the more peo­ple that get on board with that the eas­ier this is go­ing to be,’’ she said.

‘‘Women have been so dis­ad­van­taged in the world of money, so ter­ri­bly dis­ad­van­taged, and the stats are ir­refutable. Less than 5% of the world’s ven­ture cap­i­tal fund­ing goes to fe­male­led busi­nesses, and it’s even worse if you are women of colour.’’

SheEO was started in 2015 in Canada by en­tre­pre­neur Vicki Saun­ders and has been rolled out to the United States, Bri­tain and Aus­tralia. Ms Gat­tung launched it in New Zealand in Oc­to­ber 2017.

When New Zealand went into lock­down in March, SheEO al­ready had 100 ac­ti­va­tors for the cy­cle. Ms Gat­tung said Covid­19 had not stopped peo­ple from get­ting be­hind the cause.

This year, AWWA, a com­pany that makes sus­tain­able al­ter­na­tives to men­strual prod­ucts, skin­care firm Good­bye Sand­fly and Good­bye Ouch, job mar­ket­place Jobloads, Maori fash­ion brand Kiri Nathan Ltd and or­ganic cot­ton un­der­wear la­bel Nisa re­ceived back­ing.

As well as fund­ing, the ven­tures re­ceive men­tor­ship and sup­port from ac­ti­va­tors and Rus­sel McVeagh has do­nated three hours of pro bono le­gal sup­port.

Ms Gat­tung said SheEO had picked up mo­men­tum in re­cent years and was fast be­com­ing the big­gest net­work for fe­male en­trepreneur­s and women’s lead­er­ship in the world. The founder has fielded re­quests from 70 coun­tries to in­tro­duce the con­cept into new ter­ri­to­ries.

Ms Gat­tung spends a large por­tion of her time work­ing on SheEO, along with her pro­fes­sional di­rec­tor­ship du­ties.

She is chair­woman of in­sur­ance com­pany AIA in New Zealand and Aus­tralia, chair and co­founder of My Food Bag, chair­woman of Ce­cilia Robin­son’s pri­mary health­care start­up Tend and di­rec­tor and co­founder of beauty firm The Six Senses Group. She also does a lot of other work within the not­for­profit sec­tor.

‘‘My pas­sions are about sup­port­ing women, and I love the in­ter­sec­tion of busi­ness and do­ing some­thing good for the world. I be­lieve that in­ter­sec­tion is go­ing to be trans­for­ma­tive in the next decade — and com­pa­nies that are with­out a pur­pose are go­ing to suf­fer.’’ — The New Zealand Her­ald

 ?? RE­PORT: JA­COB MCSWEENY/PHOTO: PETER MCIN­TOSH ?? The new Nel­son Pe­tro­leum Dis­trib­u­tors sta­tion in Dunedin that was sup­posed to be ready as far back as March this year turned on the pumps on Thurs­day.
The self­ser­vice site in An­der­sons Bay Rd has 12 re­fu­elling spots and will be open 24 hours.
Con­struc­tion started last year, but dis­rup­tions due to
Covid­19 de­layed the project for sev­eral months.
It is the third NPD site in Dunedin, with oth­ers al­ready at Port Chalmers and Green
Is­land.
NPD chief ex­ec­u­tive Barry Sheri­dan said he was pleased to be adding to its ex­ist­ing net­work in the re­gion, ‘‘bring­ing more great prices for Dunedin mo­torists with the premium site’’.
RE­PORT: JA­COB MCSWEENY/PHOTO: PETER MCIN­TOSH The new Nel­son Pe­tro­leum Dis­trib­u­tors sta­tion in Dunedin that was sup­posed to be ready as far back as March this year turned on the pumps on Thurs­day. The self­ser­vice site in An­der­sons Bay Rd has 12 re­fu­elling spots and will be open 24 hours. Con­struc­tion started last year, but dis­rup­tions due to Covid­19 de­layed the project for sev­eral months. It is the third NPD site in Dunedin, with oth­ers al­ready at Port Chalmers and Green Is­land. NPD chief ex­ec­u­tive Barry Sheri­dan said he was pleased to be adding to its ex­ist­ing net­work in the re­gion, ‘‘bring­ing more great prices for Dunedin mo­torists with the premium site’’.
 ?? PHOTO: SUP­PLIED ?? On a mis­sion . . . Busi­ness­woman and pas­sion­ate about sup­port­ing women.
in­vestor
Theresa Gat­tung is
PHOTO: SUP­PLIED On a mis­sion . . . Busi­ness­woman and pas­sion­ate about sup­port­ing women. in­vestor Theresa Gat­tung is

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