That Time I Told America That Black Businesses Matter Every Month of the Year
Did you catch me last month when I told America (Good Morning America, actually) that Black businesses matter every month of the year? During Black History Month, Good Morning America highlighted my work with Black Girl Ventures as part of their spotlight on Black entrepreneurs. (#ICYMI, here’s my GMA appearance - https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/living/video/black-girl-ventures-focuses-supporting-black-businesses-year-76015129)
Basically, my message to America on Good Morning America was that we — Black and Brown women founders — have the talent, skills, drive, and vision to lead the world for this generation and the next. But what most of us don’t have is the resources (i.e. capital) to get our businesses off the ground or the influential networks to position what we have to offer in the global marketplace. Without that capital and access to networks, our ideas and our futures can’t jump from our vision boards to a life-sustaining business and that’s just how the world works. I challenged the GMA audience that for the average consumer, supporting Black businesses means “buying Black” but it doesn’t stop there! We have to address lack of capital and access to networks before we can expect to see real economic development for the communities that need it the most.
But that’s why I do what I do! Black Girl Ventures is all about helping our women founders get in the doors that have been closed to us for SO long. However, there’s still a lot of work to be done so that all of us can get through those doors — ESPECIALLY after the COVID-19 pandemic has placed even more obstacles and barriers in front of us. As I told GMA, sixty percent of Black businesses have had to close their doors over the last year which is why I emphasized that, now more than ever, supporting Black businesses goes beyond just buying our products and services. We’ve got to invest in ourselves, encourage innovation, and put our own money where our hearts are.
Yes, GMA was an amazing platform to tell America about our platform — the Black Girl Ventures pitch competition — to build women entrepreneurs like me and those who’ll come after me. I really appreciate how GMA spotlighted the work and achievements that Black Girl Ventures has helped bring about and I definitely look forward to future appearances. But not just during February — for Black and Brown women founders, we grow from that support ALL the time because bills are due and dreams are waiting to become a reality every month, 24/7, all the time. - Shelly Bell, CEO of Black Girl Ventures.