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NIKE continues to put its money where its mouth is.
The sports footwear and apparel giant just announced a $500,000 investment in Black Girl Ventures, in its efforts to provide Black and Brown women-identifying founders with access to community, capital and capacity-building to support entrepreneurship.
“Nike’s funding will help us grow our reach through new chapter development, increase our technology infrastructure to better serve Black and Brown leaders through our proprietary crowdfunding platform and increase our brand visibility through storytelling campaigns curated by Black and Brown women,” says Shelly Bell, founder and CEO, Black Girl Ventures.
Founded in 2016, Bell started Black Girl Ventures as a way to crowdfund pitch competitions. Now the organization has expanded to provide Black women-led ventures with “access to community, capital, and capacity building in order to meet business milestones that lead to economic advancement through entrepreneurship.”
In a recent BGV newsletter, Bell further elaborated on the partnership with NIKE, stating “When one woman wins, we all win.”
She added, “Imagine launching a company from your living room in Southeast D.C., where 30 women threw money into a hat to fund Black women founders then becoming a nationally recognized organization. That was the beginning of Black Girl Ventures. We have reached 64 countries, over a million people, funded 120 women directly, raised over $3M, and our founders support $10M in jobs.”
Her newsletter concluded with an open letter to Black women.
Dear Black/Brown Women,
“I have witnessed American corporations and their capacity for courage, and though we are sometimes worlds apart, like us, there’s more to them than meets the eye. I am Shelly Bell, and I send this message to any surviving and thriving Black women taking refuge among the stars. We are here. We are waiting.”
This isn’t where the buck stops either. NIKE’s Black Community Commitment totals $1.75 million and will support organizations working on behalf of Black communities in Boston, Memphis, St. Louis, Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.