By Amy-Willard Cross
SheEO founder Vicki Saunders talks about business like a practice — in the way yogis speak of their bodily ministrations or the way actors talk about their craft.
Now this serial entrepreneur wants to bring her different way to a wider world. Saunders has launched a campaign on Indiegogo to pre-sell her book and fund the organization, SheEO, to do even more. She’s talking whole new business models.
"Think Like a SheEO: Succeeding in the Age of Creators, Makers, and Entrepreneurs" is not your typical business how-to; more like "The Artist’s Way" than the "10 Habits" series.
The chapter titles have a yoga-like ring: "Meaning is the New Money" or "Integration Is the New Balance." In this version of self-discovery, a reader can find out how to combine her passions and talents with the change she wants to see in the world. "There are eight principles which represent a new way of dong business," says Saunders.
After starting and/or running four companies, Saunders created SheEO. It’s about linking entrepreneurs, advisers, and funders together in one helpful clump, and about making new kinds of business leaders — called SheEOs.
Ten years ago, Saunders was shocked by how few women applied to her venture fund, so she collected $250,000 (from Melinda Gates, among others) and invested in a young woman under 30.
Last year, she raised $50,000 from friendly women angels, funded 10 different businesses, and created a community. In a phone interview, Saunders explained the 10 SheEOs had to split the funds — but not equally — and worked together collaboratively to share other resources. Months later, one venture, 42 Technologies, was accepted into Y Combinator — an incubator with a low female presence. The rest continue to help one another in their journeys — in what Saunders calls a tribe.
SheEO plans to expand to four additional cities this year, and wants to create an entirely new financing vehicle that combines equity, debt, and philanthropy.
Saunders and her SheEOS are in search of "new mindsets, new models, and new approaches."
The first step is growing the tribe of SheEOs. Saunders invites you all to join — funders, mentors, dreamers, and makers all.
It starts with a first-ever sneak peek on Google Hangouts, March 5th at 12p.m. EST.
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