A female force to be reckoned with

Theresa Gattung and Denise Arnold.

Tauranga law firm Lyon O'Neale Arnold is championing a new women-led seed capital fund that aims to raise half-a-million dollars to support female entrepreneurs.

SheEO is a leading global innovation, providing a platform for women to finance, support and celebrate female entrepreneurs. It has been launched in New Zealand by businesswoman, former Telecom CEO and co-founder of My Food Bag Theresa Gattung.

Based on a scheme already in operation in Canada and the United States, the aim is to bring together 500 women who each contribute $1,100 to create a funding pool of $500,000 (the additional $100 per contribution covers formation, administration and management costs).

This funding pool will initially support five female-led ventures in New Zealand, in the form of interest-free loans that are paid back over five years.

Lyon O'Neale Arnold will host an information event at the Tauranga Club on December 7, at which SheEO founder Vicki Saunders will beam in from Canada.

The law firm's co-director Denise Arnold met Vicki at the inaugural World Women conference in Auckland earlier this year, at which they were both speakers.

World Women was organised by Theresa, who is also patron of the Cambodia Charitable Trust, which was founded by Denise 10 years ago to help transform children's lives through education.

“I think it's really important that women support each other both in their personal and business lives,” says Denise, who founded Wonder Women, a free speaker series that is held quarterly in Tauranga to bring women together to share ideas.

“Women in business face different challenges to men and are often motivated by different reasons,” she says.

“Whether they are wanting to invest or apply for a loan, this event will give women the opportunity to find out more about this exciting new initiative and how it serves women and their unique business needs.”

The SheEO information evening will be held at Tauranga Club, Devonport Road, at 5.30pm on Thursday, December 7.

Email: caro@loalaw.nz or phone: 07 928 4422 to reserve a seat.

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