Lessons Learned from Lunch & Learn with Shelly Bell of Black Girl Ventures:

Today’s session with Shelly Bell was fantastic, you could feel Shelly’s energy and enthusiasm and she had so many great pieces of advice that I wanted to share.

Building Community Digitally:

  • Community building is at the core of what Black Girl Ventures does and they’ve had to shift to being completely digital, they’ve:
    • launched an online community called “The Venture League”
    • launched weekly virtual co-working, creating a safe space for Black/Brown women to openly discuss how to help each other
    • Focusing on content creation around funding opportunities
    • Setting up connections and feedback sessions for alumni
  • Through this Shelly learned that it’s less about trying to achieve the #’s in social media – followers, attendees and more about interaction and engagement. There’s an opportunity to help more people vs. focusing on the noise
  • There’s the ability to have a many: many relationship where participants activate each other

Tips for Supporting Black and Brown Female Founders:

  • Virtual office hours
  • Opportunities to increase founder visibility
  • Encourage the public to support small business
    • buy gift cards for people to turn them into consumers of these small businesses
    • what you would have done in person do through digital consultation – pay for consulting or pool funding and have founders deliver services to groups ex. digital consultations on makeup and hair
    • Incentivize people to become consumers of small business after we’ve moved to a safer time where people are able to start going out

Return on Relationship Method:

  • Shelly developed the Return on Relationship Framework based on the steps of: Identify, Activate, and Foster
  • Relationship building is the key to gaining access to capital. Focus on your ABC – Attorney, Banker, CPA – all capital comes from relationships
  • Identify what you want by creating clear goals, a pathway, and asking great questions of yourself
  • Start with a 1: many relationship and then think about who you want to target and then foster the relationship by letting them know what you’re working on


  • What do you live for?
    • you wake up more times than not
  • How are you motivated to do more, outside of always having to fight?
    • you go from something to something way more than you go from nothing to everything
  • Be curious – asking questions and waiting for an answer instead of trying to answer them yourself

Valuing Your Work – Class offerings/Speaking:

  • No dollar amount can come close to valuing who you are and what you bring to the table so:
    • Just make it up – make up a number and see what happens
    • If speaking at an event ask the following:
      • Do people have to pay to attend?
      • Is the event paying a D.J?
      • Is the event paying for catering?
      • If they’re making money and paying other people, they need to be paying you too
    • Adjust your offering based on the size of the business you are dealing with
      • only you know the level of work it takes to adapt your offering
    • Shelly sees a lot of issues around internal valuation vs. external valuation
      • Focus on the opportunity you are creating for people
      • You can’t want to make money and then be anti-money
      • It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition:
        • Think yes, and – If I charge for X, I can afford to offer Y for free
        • Visit different payment models
          • sliding scale
          • pay what you can


  • In terms of VC funding – some people are holding or doubling down, some are watching to see what innovations come out of the pandemic and how people are pivoting
  • Focus on getting customers and building business vs. getting funding
  • Thought leadership – take what you’re working on and see how you can monetize the though leadership
  • Look at how to scale digitally so you can get cash flow coming in
  • There are different funds and grants popping up – apply, apply, apply at least put yourself in the running





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s