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Black Girl Ventures Announces Emerging Leaders

Updated: Jul 24, 2023

By: Sharon H. Porter, Ed.D. | May 17, 2023

Black Girl Ventures (BGV) has recently announced the 2023 participants in the Emerging Leaders Fellowship Program. This highly unique 3-month program focuses on the development of leadership skills to expand the capacity of early-stage entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders to strengthen the ecosystems of Black and Brown women founders.

Participants receive a$5000 stipend, in addition to in-kind resources to grow their business. During the 3-month leadership skills development fellowship, Emerging Leaders Fellows will be matched with a group of peers in their city, receive business leadership training through the Jetpack for Leaders curriculum (3-month virtual skills development program facilitated by industry leaders), and host a local BGV Pitch competition in their city designed to create low barrier access to non-dilutive capital for other Black and Brown women. Participants will then go on to access culturally-centered entrepreneurial education through the six-week JetPack Accelerator curriculum.

To be considered for admission to the program, applicants must be identify as a Black or Brown woman, have a passion for empowering and building the ecosystems of Black and Brown women founders in your community, and have the ability to commit to approximately eight (8) hours per month.

2023 Cohort of Emerging Leaders

Los Angeles

Tasha McCaskiel

Kimberly Barrow

Diondraya Taylor

Alana Talbert-Hudson

Kahlelah Goodine

Stability X

Gabriela Layne-Avery

Britini Williams

Ashley Chatman

Swathi Varanasi


Doris Jean Pierre

Adriana Soto Ospina

Tavia Green

Nerissa Street

Nina Aboseada

New York

Yanique Williams

Michelle Cadore

Jessyca Marshall

Jasmine Utterback

Alexandria Ruiz

About Black Girls 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 and CEO, Shelly Omilàdè 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 & 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 on 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.



Dr. Sharon H. Porter is Editor-In-Chief of Vision & Purpose LifeStyle Magazine and Media and owner of SHP Media and Broadcasting Studio, the home of The I Am Dr. Sharon Show and Women Who Lead in Business Podcast.

She is a member of ForbesBLK, an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council, Black Girls In Media, Black Podcasters Association, International Association of Women, National Association of Black Journalists, Black Speakers Network, Black Women Educator Leaders, and is a Gallup Certified Coach.

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