The SVI Conference series sets itself apart from some other events by requiring that attendees apply. I remember the first time I applied to attend SVI, I was quite unsure as to whether or not I would qualify as a “second stage” entrepreneur. After all, what exactly does “second stage” mean? Would someone review my annual revenues and judge me unworthy? Would my age be a factor (the first time I attended SVI I was in my mid-twenties)? Was my business “ethical” enough?

As an organizer of this event, I struggle a bit with the language around that every year, but essentially here’s what we mean:

  • You have been running a business for some time (let’s say 3 or more years) and have experienced growth along the way;
  • You probably also have some years of past experience in your career — perhaps while working or volunteering in a leadership position somewhere else — that you are able to draw on when facing business challenges;
  • You are looking to take your business to a new level or a new place, and could use support to face the challenges ahead of your;
  • You have lessons you’ve learned along the way, that shape the way you make decisions now.

And, because sometimes looking at things from the other side can be equally as useful, here’s what we don’t mean:

  • You’re so senior and successful in business that you have everything figured out;
  • You no longer have nights that you worry about cashflow;
  • You never worry about whether or not you’re making the right decisions around growth and change in your business.

(For the record, having met with hundreds of businesswomen, including those who are deemed wildly successful by their peers, none would consider themselves as having met all of those criteria).

One of the bigger challenges around running this event for women specifically is that we tend to undervalue and downplay our achievements and successes. As I result I often find that women who I know full well would be “approved” and would benefit immensely from this event, don’t throw their hat in the ring. Don’t let that be you. If you are curious about this event, apply. And, if you have questions as to whether or not you’re a good fit, get in touch, I’d be happy to hear more about your business and help you assess if this is the right event for you.

– Emira Mears, Principal @ Raised Eyebrow and Conference Co-Producer