Black Woman Ventures Founder Turned Tax Refund Into $500,000 Funding from Nike

Shelly Bell founded Black Girl Ventures in 2016 to help more black and brown women scale technology-based businesses.

Before this venture, Bell made a name for herself as a successful business owner. She built a successful web development and graphic design business with her tax return and $ 5,000 from her mom, according to The Philadelphia Citizen.

Many women struggle to raise capital to fund their businesses. Often times, personal savings are the only option for many black and brown owners who do not have money from family members to fund their ventures. A report developed by Project Diane shows that black female founders only received 0.27% of total venture capital between 2018 and 2019.

Black Girl Ventures began with a focus on crowdfunding pitch competitions to fill that void. So far, the organization has financed 76 black and brown women entrepreneurs. The team has also hosted over 25 pitch programs for Black Girl Ventures, serving over 170 attendees.

“We say, hey, we support you, we stand with you, and if no one else is funding you, we will,” she told The Philadelphia Citizen.

Now Nike is helping women-led nonprofits grow their initiatives. Earlier this year, Nike announced a $ 500,000 investment in Black Girl Ventures. It’s part of Nike’s plan to give more black and brown entrepreneurs access to community, capital and capacity building.

“Funding from Nike will help us expand our reach by developing new chapters, improve our technology infrastructure to better serve Black and Brown executives through our proprietary crowdfunding platform, and increase our brand visibility through von Schwarz- Braun women are increasing curated storytelling campaigns, “says Shelly Bell. Founder and CEO of Black Girl Ventures, in a statement.

Black Girl Ventures partners with Nike

Bell will host a panel during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend. The 2021 event will take place live at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta on TNT on Sunday, March 7th.

Bell also adds a bit of Black Girl Ventures magic to the media scene. She will be featured in a Nike commercial with the athletes. She also takes over The Brooklyn Nets star striker Kevin Durant’s Instagram page on Sunday.

The activations will put the work of Black Girl Venture in the spotlight. This is part of Nike’s “Giveback Sunday”. Nike highlights organizations that advocate for underrepresented communities and women. You can also visit to learn more about Black Girl Ventures and Shelly’s story. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the equity financing gap for women entrepreneurs. You can also find out how to move the needle.

Meet the woman behind Black Girl Ventures

Shelly Bell is a technology entrepreneur, disruptor, and business strategist based in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

In 2003 North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Bell has a background in performance poetry, K-12 education, program management, writing, and IP strategy. She is bringing all of her education and experience together to help more women unleash their power.

“The three biggest challenges facing underrepresented founders are lack of access to capital, lack of access to influential networks, and inability to get hired,” Bell told The Philadelphia Citizen. “Even if you get a capital inflow, do you have what I call the ABCs of business – an attorney, a banker, and a CPA – to give you the information you need?”

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