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Black Girl Ventures Announces 2023 Fall Emerging Leaders

By Dr. Sharon H. Porter | August 18, 2023 | 4: 56 PM ET

Black Girl Ventures (BGV) recently introduced their 2023 Fall Emerging Leaders. Twenty Black and Brown women-identifying entrepreneurs will begin a unique three-month leadership skills development program, created specifically to expand the capacity of early-stage entrepreneurs. Each entrepreneur will receive a $ 5,000 stipend, be matched with a group of peers in their city, receive business leadership training through the Jetpack for Leaders curriculum, and will host a local BGV Pitch competition in their city.

In order to qualify for the program, applicants must have a business or viable business idea, must identify as Black or Brown, and must commit to approximately three hours per week for eight weeks.

The Emerging Leaders from New York City are:

Paulana Lamonier (Black People Will Swim), Lauren Wells (Hervival), Hallan Hanson (daLAIT), Brittany Brathwaite (KIMBRITIVE), Karesia Batan (Queensboro Dance Festival), Samia Lemfadli (Change Food for Good), Therese Myers (Yes Girls Create Inc), Ebony Cawthorne (Disrupt Media), Kimone Napier (Hire breakthrough), and Nicole Wardlaw (The Brazen Club).

The Emerging Leaders from Austin, Texas are:

Naijean Bernard (Jeany's Caribbean Elixirs), Dr. Sharnita Ambrose (Random Black Girls), Camara Samuel (Wadadli Naturals), "Bithia" Wende-Denda Dantoumda (Creative Days Art), and Lamanda Ballard (Flo Code).

The Emerging Leaders from Houston, Texas are:

Ashley Harvell (Bama Texas), Brandy Guidry (Pearl and Innovation Hub), Erica Fowler (Good Insights Company), Rashika Robinson (Black Book Houston), and Melissa Pearson (Pearson Rue Designs).

About Black Girl Ventures

Founded in 2016 by Serial Entrepreneur and Computer Scientist Shelly Bell, The Black Girl Ventures Foundation (BGV) addresses the unique challenges Black/Brown women face in accessing social and financial capital to grow their businesses. The BGV Style pitch competition is the largest pitch competition globally for Black/Brown women founders. It uniquely combines the premise of Shark Tank and Kickstarter by activating community participation in donating to support women-owned businesses directly. We have funded 450 women of color, held over 50 BGV Pitch Programs across 15 cities, and served over 10,000 founders. BGV pitch participants are collectively generating over $10M in revenue and supporting 3,000 jobs. BGV currently has three signature programs (BGV Pitch, BGV NextGen, BGV Emerging Leaders) and is now the largest ecosystem builder for Black/Brown women founders on the East Coast.

About Founder, Shelly Bell

Shelly Omilâdè Bell is an author, business strategist, and inspirational speaker who moves ideas to profit while empowering people to live more authentically. As a cultural translator, she connects entrepreneurs, investors, and corporations in order to diversify their talent pipeline, increase equity and grow their brands.

She is a Serial Entrepreneur and computer Scientist with a background in performance poetry, K-12 Education, and IP Strategy. She was named one of the Top 100 Powerful Women in Business by Entrepreneur Mag, Entrepreneur of the Year by Technically DC, and acknowledged as A Rising Brand Star by Adweek. She is among the nation's most sought-after inspirational speakers in the DC Metro area with features in Forbes, The Washington Business Journal, NewsOne, The Afro, People of Color in Tech, and Politico Live. Her organization, Black Girl Ventures (BGV) is a social enterprise that creates access to social and financial capital for Black/Brown women founders.

BGV travels the country with a disruptive pitch competition that shifts the power dynamics in funding by combining crowdfunding and pitching. As a Google Guru and Ecosystem Builder, she engages audiences from grassroots to government. Shelly has trained over 5,000 entrepreneurs, held over 300 events for empowering leaders, managed multi-million dollar contracts, and scaled over 100 businesses.


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