Not many CEO’s have been described as Geraldine Doogue meets Rosanne Barr. But the founder of women’s cab company Shebah, George McEncroe certainly has.
McEncroe is a teacher, comedienne and broadcaster.
Her keen observation skills as a stand-up comedienne and a fear of not having a go, could be the key to success for Shebah, which offers a safe space for female riders and drivers in this new car share service.
“Post-divorce I had enough for a deposit, but not enough to buy a house and patchy income and banks don’t see single mums with four dependent children as a good look, so I’d registered as an Uber driver to build my income.
“But when it came to actually driving, I was too intimidated, too scared and uncomfortable to have strangers in my car.
“At the same time my daughter had turned 18, she’s tall, and with long curly hair, and very glamorous looking.
“She had had some frightening exchanges in cabs and Ubers and was increasingly calling me to come and pick her up after going out at night.
“One day I was driving down Punt Road in Melbourne, thinking about Pink Cabs in London.
“I thought I reckon there would be something in this, in all these women who are in my position where they want flexible work, they’ve got a car, they’ve got some time, but not enough for full time work.
“They want to work unapologetically, they want to help young women get around, they want to support women who are at work, women who are in the corner office, or are in government or nurses doing late shifts.
“I remember my sister working as a nurse forever getting parking fines. Because transport for women is still such a big thing, they are forever watching the arc of the sun thinking is it going to be too dark for me to catch that last train.
“And it all sort of hit me at once I sort of felt like a mad composer for three days I sort of couldn’t sleep. I registered the business with the Australian Security and Investments Commission (ASIC), I bought a domain, I fleshed it out, I thought this is what I’m going to do.
“I set up a Go-Fund-Me page because I didn’t have a lot of money, but it drew a lot of media attention and a lot of criticism.
“One thing I’ve never lacked is courage, I’m not scared of failing.
“I’m much more scared of not having a go.
“That for me is terrifying, so we’re in it now, we’re going to give it a red hot go.
“It is growing beautifully so that’s gorgeous, the early indications are really strong so we’re very pleased about that.
“It feels like we’re here at the right time.”