Women are becoming unemployed faster than men, and data shows that the pandemic has heavily impacted women-owned small businesses. It also will take longer for those businesses to recover compared to male-owned small businesses. While women receive 7% of venture funds, that percentage is significantly lower for Black and Brown women. What are people doing about it? Shelly Bell joined Bold TV to discuss the wealth gap and tell us more about her company Black Girl Ventures.
How Black Girl Ventures started
In 2016, Bell started Black Girl Ventures, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating capital for Black and Brown women business owners. This platform hosts different programs to help businesses in every aspect: leadership training programs, corporate mentoring programs, pitch competitions and more.
The pitch competitions are often divided by city, and voters choose the winner by donating money to their favorite contestant. Bell describes the competition as “Shark Tank-meets-Kickstarter.” Then, Black Girl Ventures grants those donations back to the competitors. Winners have gone on to create thousands of jobs and generate millions of dollars in revenue.
A partnership with Nike
Nike is launching a fellowship program in partnership with Black Girl Ventures. During the past year, Bell realized business leaders are needed to support Black and Brown women in business. The fellowship with Nike is meant to bridge that gap. The sportswear brand recently invested $500,000 in this nonprofit to support their “efforts to provide Black and Brown women-identifying founders with access to community, capital and capacity-building to support entrepreneurship.” Part of the partnership will include pitch competitions and murals highlighting current women in business leadership.
Black Girl Ventures has worked with other brands such as Kroger and Bumble. This past year, many brands have announced their support for minority entrepreneurs and businesses. When asked if these promises were all talk, Bell reassured us that the brands she spoke with are in it for the long haul.