“Black Girl Ventures believes in a world where all ideas have a chance to succeed.”
Upon joining the Sh*t That I Knit team, basically everyone on our team has been, in some way, shape or form, curious about how Christina started the company. What was it like to leave your cushy sales job and go out on your own? Was it scary? What if it didn’t work? We all know that being an entrepreneur and keeping a company afloat is a challenging endeavor, especially as a woman.
Christina has always been open with us about the challenges that she faced when starting Sh*t That I Knit. When Christina made that leap to quit her sales job and work on Sh*t That I Knit full-time, she had a strong network of people who were willing to meet with her, give her advice, and support her mission. The network and following she had built was so engaged that when she launched her Kickstarter in 2015, she met and surpassed her funding goal in under 24 hours. From the outset, Christina felt supported by her network and her customers, who offered her encouragement to face the challenges of growing her business.
When the STIK team learned about Black Girl Ventures (BGV) last week, it was exactly the mission that we wanted to support. Black Girl Ventures is a nonprofit that provides support, resources and capital to Black and Brown women-identifying entrepreneurs. Gaining access to capital is one of the most challenging aspects of owning a business, as Christina knows first hand. But what we’ve learned from Black Girl Ventures is that Black and Brown female founders are at even more of a disadvantage.
“Currently, black women are starting businesses at 6 times the national average, but are not seeing the same receipts as other founders. There are 3 major areas where women of color are in need of support: access to capital, access to influential networks and the ability to hire employees.“ - Black Girl Ventures
We believe tremendously in the work that Black Girl Ventures is doing, and we are beyond excited to donate funds to help support out fellow female entrepreneurs in the Black community.
More about Black Girl Ventures
Black Girl Ventures does most of their work through their crowdfunded, hyper-local pitch program, which is meant to lower the barriers to access to capital and connections for Black and Brown female founders. The founder of BGV, Shelly Bell, refers to the pitch days as “Shark Tank with an audience.” Each founder is given a platform to give a 3 minute pitch on their business to an audience who then votes on their favorite businesses with their dollars. By participating in the pitch program, Black and Brown founders get access to entrepreneurial education, coaching, and networking opportunities. Plus, they could walk away with capital that could help jump start their business.
To ensure they are truly lowering the barriers to access to social and financial capital, BGV takes a hyper-local approach. BGV makes a concerted effort to meet Black and Brown founders where they are, in their own cities. By increasing Black and Brown founders’ visibility to the key partners and funders in their community, BGV creates a pipeline of opportunities for participants. BGV participants are able to build a local network among each other and among potential partners and investors.
“We are packaging everything we've learned, planting it as seeds in different markets and helping the communities water them to grow a major movement of support for Black/Brown women founders across the nation.” - Black Girl Ventures
Black Girl Ventures has positioned their approach and pitch program so that it can be developed and replicated in cities across the country. BGV currently exists in 12 cities, and their goal is to make it as easy as possible for local change agents to use these resources and programs to start a new chapter in any city. BGV is setting up Black and Brown founders for success by building programs hyper locally and from the ground up.
Through the end of June, STIK is donating 30% of all proceeds from our Quarantine Kit products to Black Girl Ventures. Our donations will contribute to entrepreneurial education, networking opportunities, access to information, business referrals and financial and social capital to make their dreams a reality.
“When a Black/Brown entrepreneur truly feels like she can rely on her community to get through the rough spots in business and in life, she is unstoppable.” - Black Girl Ventures