Earlier in the year, we were incredibly honored to be chosen as a Coralus Venture Semi-Finalist in Canada. Being recognized in the specialized field of shared mobility by the diverse and generous Coralus Activators truly meant a lot to us. The cohort sessions we were offered, along with the other remarkable women-led companies, inspired us to reflect on the valuable insights gained from our cohort sessions with other remarkable women-led companies.
Before we delve into the insights we’ve gathered, let’s begin with a quick overview of Coralus for those who might not be familiar with this influential organization.
Who is Coralus?
Coralus, formerly known as SheEO, is a global non-profit organization playing a pivotal role in addressing the gender disparity in the business world, particularly in the realm of finance. The company focuses on providing zero-interest loans and fostering a supportive community for women and nonbinary entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs are those who are working towards achieving one or more of the 17 U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, it would take an astonishing 257 years for women to achieve economic parity with men, a gap that slightly narrowed to 169 years in the 2023 report. However, this pace is still far too slow, which is where Coralus steps in, hoping to speed things up.
The operational model of Coralus is driven by a group known as “Activators”. These are women and nonbinary individuals who contribute to crowdfunding a no-interest loan pool. The funds from this pool are then allocated to the selected entrepreneurs, providing them with the necessary financial support without the burden of interest. The repaid loans are reinvested into the Perpetual Fund, creating a continuous cycle of support and reinvestment for future businesses.
The organization and its partners have raised nearly $14 million, supporting over 140 ventures across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand. This financial assistance stays within the country where it was generated, ensuring local impact.
Our key takeaways from being a 2024 Coralus Semi-Finalist
The insights and growth we’ve gained as Coralus semi-finalists have influenced how we approach our business this year. Engaging in deep discussions about strategy, honing our communication skills, and being part of a supportive network of like-minded professionals have all contributed to a richer understanding of our mission and objectives.
A few of our biggest takeaways from being part of the Coralus semi-finalist cohort would be how eye-opening discussing our strategy and vision was, particularly when external input both challenged and supported our plans. The group’s enthusiasm for our 2024 target has really boosted our confidence moving into the new year!
Enhancing our communication skills has been a highlight for us, particularly through engaging in the ‘thinking talents’ exercise. This exercise opened our eyes to the different ways our team members naturally approach problem-solving – ways that energize and prevent burnout. Understanding each person’s unique thinking talents has been crucial, not just in delegating projects more effectively, but also in gaining deeper insights into how we all work best together.
The bi-weekly meetings with a network of like-minded women, along with the broader Slack community, have been incredibly beneficial. More than just offering support, these interactions have been a source of valuable resources and connections, and it is how we got connected with our amazing new Executive Assistant, Faye Sommerville!