By: Kristi Love
Black Girl Vision brings a twist to the typical pitch competition. They have created, ‘Pitch Competition meets Crowd Funding’. Women of color (and others) register for the monthly BGV event which generates funding for pitch competitors. On the day of the Eat, Pitch, Vote, event, 8 women of color pitch their idea. At the end, participants vote for their favorite business idea. The winner receives funding which allows them to grow their business.
As a business owner of 3 companies and entrepreneur herself, Shelly Bell knew that women of color start businesses at higher rates than everyone else, nonetheless lack the support needed to sustain a viable and profitable business. Providing access to capital for women of color business owners and entrepreneurs was Shelly’s vison when she created Black Girl Vision in August of 2016. “With so many women of color entrepreneurs and all the Black Girl Magic happening, we also need support, networking, and funding to work,” Shelly told Uprising.
After attending a few BGV events, the members of DICE were eager to participate in BGV’s Pitch Completion. They won on March 18th and that was the first time founders of DICE pitched their idea and they pitched their way to winning 1st Place!
The founders of DICE, Amber Watson, Tasha Lo Port, and Michaela Hall first connected with Black Girl Vision (BGV) via Instagram (@blackgirlvision). They founded DICE (Diversity, Inclusion, and Collaborative Engagement Leadership Group) to create a better world by celebrating the differences of all people through conversation and collaboration. “We develop workplaces where discussions and problem-solving are more inclusive, collaborative, and successful in discovering collective solutions that work,” founders tell Uprising Experience.
As winners of the pitch competition, DICE members received $500 in funding, T-shirts for their business, an accounting consultation, a legal consultation, a network of supporters, and business coaching.
“As a successful entrepreneur, Shelly Bell’s guidance has been instrumental in helping us take advantage of opportunities and avoid pitfalls. Having an experienced mentor pushed our business to the next level. We are more competitive, more strategic, and more equipped with the knowledge needed to be successful,” said DICE founders.
The seed funding helped DICE advance their goals in several ways, “We created a community of practice around diversity and inclusion engagements, we updated our products to provide better training experiences for our customers, and we secured advertising that increased our social media following and produced client leads,” says, Ms. Hall of DICE.
Since the Black Girl Vision Pitch Competition win, members of DICE have advanced to the second level of the DC EBay Startup Cup and they were chosen as one of the top 26 companies from among 100. “The support we’ve received from Black Girl Vision undoubtedly gave us the competitive edge,” DICE tells Uprising.