Shelly Bell, Founder of Black Girl Ventures | photo courtesy of Aisha Butler of Jazzy Studios
Shelly Bell’s connection to Philadelphia started in the spring of 2018 when she hit the ground talking to Philly’s tech leaders and ecosystem builders and raised over $5000 to host a pitch competition for Black Women Business Owners. Three years later, Black Girl Ventures pinned Philadelphia as one of its hubs and now jumpstart a partnership with Nike to support more women-owned businesses.
The number of women-owned businesses is on the rise. Fundera reported that in 2020 women started 1,821 net new businesses every day and that only a staggering 25% of women business owners seek business financing. Although 64% of companies started last year were founded by women of color, fundraising for Black women founders still trails behind the average startup founder. ProjectDiane 2020, a snapshot of the state of Black and Latinx women founders, found that the median seed round for Black women was $125,000 compared to the national median of $2.5 million. On the upside, 2020 statistics show that 57% of Black women-led startups are funded compared to 40% in 2018.
Shelly Bell, founder and CEO of Black Girl Ventures (BGV), creates access to capital for Black and Brown female founders. With five chapters across the nation and the most extensive pitch program for Black and Brown female founders, BGV has raised over $1 million in funding, funded over 70 women, and has served over 200 participants. BGV’s investment portfolio includes Organic Bath Co., Janet & Jo LLC and Upbrainery.
Early this year, Bell and her team announced a partnership with NIKE, Inc. that entails a $500,000 investment from the reputable brand. The new partnership comes in part of the company’s promise to expand the NIKE, Inc. Black Community Commitment to support organizations focused on economic empowerment, social justice, education and opportunity for Black Americans. The funds will support BGV in its efforts to provide Black and Brown women-identifying founders with access to community, capital and capacity-building to support entrepreneurship. This contribution builds on the commitments to Black Girls CODE, NAACP Empowerment Programs and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
Learn more about the local chapter of Black Girl Ventures or apply to pitch here: https://www.blackgirlventures.org/apply-to-pitch