Educate, Empower, Support: EO Women Entrepreneurs Are Leading the Way

International Women’s Day encourages us to inspire inclusion and value the contributions of women. In EO, we celebrate the remarkable women entrepreneurs who have shattered glass ceilings and are now paying it forward to pave the way for future generations of female founders to rise.

“Women still only get about 2% of venture capital investment money, and we want to see that change,” said Cindy Boyd, EO Houston. “By working together, we can move the needle.”

We asked EO members to share how they are empowering women entrepreneurs to promote a gender-equal world:

Building Up Women Entrepreneurs Across Canada

Milena Radakovic, EO Calgary, is president and chief visionary of Nexus Exhibits and founder of WEDO Canada, an organization that supports both existing female entrepreneurs plus the next generation of female entrepreneurs through scholarships, education, and mentorship.  

“WEDO Canada’s mission is to educate, empower and support future women entrepreneurs by granting $1 million in scholarships to deserving female post-secondary students across Canada,” Milena said. “We are excited to be building an incredible team of women ambassadors and volunteers across Canada.”

Through educational fundraising summits, a mentorship program in the works, and with the support of ambassadors in four provinces to date, WEDO Canada aims to nurture the next generation of female leaders, and foster a culture of inclusivity and opportunity.

“Our global goal is to ignite women leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and future-preneurs to spark startups, drive economic expansion, and advance communities worldwide,” Milena shared.

nCourage-ing Women Entrepreneurs

Recognizing the glaring gender disparity in entrepreneurial circles, five female EO members took action, forming a network that provides tangible support through investments and mentorship.

“I was always perplexed by the small ratio of women business owners at local, regional, and international events,” said Cindy Boyd. “I approached several EO women colleagues and nCourage Investment Group was born. We started small, just four of us, and today, over 30 women are participating.”

Along with Cindy, EO members Winnie Hart, Lamar Mathews, Shelby Scarbrough and Jody Lee are part of nCourage, which is dedicated to empowering women and inspiring women investors to back and mentor women-led startups through a collaborative and experience-driven approach that offers more than just financial support.

“By leveraging our extensive networks, we open doors to potential customers, service providers, partners, and cutting-edge operational resources, creating a robust ecosystem for growth and innovation,” Cindy explained. “Our membership includes a wide range of skill sets, allowing us to tap into our wider network. We’ve helped our portfolio companies with introductions with potential customers, board members, key employees, and advisors.”

Their commitment and mentorship have resulted in significant milestones for women-led businesses, proving that collective support can drive meaningful change.

“Our goal is to help increase the number of entrepreneurial startups led by women and increase the number of women in early-stage investing.”

nCourage is often first investment that startups receive, which has led to other investors taking notice and following through with their investments.

“We are especially proud that several of our investments have achieved significant series A investments in the millions and are doing well,” Cindy said. “I am always thrilled to see women entrepreneurs gain traction and succeed! I also love seeing women introduced to the world of early-stage investing.”

Bridging the Equal Opportunity Gap

Shaivi Modi, EO Surat, echoes the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs globally. Despite encountering bias and inequality, Shaivi remains steadfast in her commitment to empowering other women.

“As I step into rooms filled predominantly with male entrepreneurs and leaders, my vision transcends the status quo,” Shaivi said. “I work for a future where every room I enter is a testament to empowerment, echoing with diverse voices and a collective strength that knows no boundaries.”

Shaivi has made a deliberate choice to empower other women with her company, The Production House. “It isn’t just a goal; it is a daily commitment. A commitment to bridge the Dream Gap, a commitment to bridge the equal opportunity gap, and a commitment to bridge the equal pay gap,” Shaivi explained. “This is the world I want to live in. This is the world I am building.”

She emphasized that collaboration is the key to making an equitable world. The mindset of collaboration must replace the mindset of competition. To that end, Shaivi offers branding and communication services to women entrepreneurs At Cost.

“Doing this at cost allows women entrepreneurs to take pride in their journey,” she stated. “From personal experience, I have found that I would rather pay for something than get it for free. I also, routinely, connect women entrepreneurs to each other.”

Shaivi believes that empowered women empower women. She is purposefully working towards an inclusive tomorrow.

“The beauty about being a leader is that you get to create a world where you can make a difference.”

Passionate About Women and Wealth

Syama Bunten, EO San Francisco, advocates for women’s wealth and entrepreneurship and was the the recipient of the 2022 Thought Leadership Award for Evangelizing Female Entrepreneurs. She is the owner and chief retail strategist of Scaling Retail. By investing in female-owned businesses and promoting community-driven initiatives, Syama creates pathways for women to achieve financial independence and success.

“As a speaker, I am often brought into rooms with women-owned, early-to-growth stage businesses, and I talk about the power of community. Raising funds through a Special Purpose Vehicle and giving other women a chance to be on your cap table is one way to activate community and help other women see the power of their capital,” Syama said. “I am also an advocate of female founders investing in other female founders, especially given the low numbers of venture capital allocation to women, less than 2%. It is my conviction that female founders need to invest in their businesses and their futures beyond the business.”

Syama is on a mission to create the conditions for female entrepreneurs and women at large to get rich together: “This often happens through a business acquisition, building a company, or investing.”

Through her upcoming podcast, Getting Rich Together, Syama aims to amplify the voices of female entrepreneurs, inspiring others to pursue their dreams fearlessly.

The collective efforts of these remarkable women entrepreneurs remind us that gender equality is not just a goal but a shared responsibility. By working together, we will ensure that every woman has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

For more insights and inspiration from today’s leading entrepreneurs, check out EO on Inc. and more articles from the EO blog

Categories: Entrepreneurial Journey FINANCES STARTUP WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS


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