Updated: Nov 20, 2020
Building a robust support network is crucial for women entrepreneurs. It’s even more critical for Black & Brown women founders. Let’s face it; the startup world is still the good ‘ole boys club where most women have a hard time being taken seriously. Because of this, women find themselves having a hard time finding mentors, advisors, and communities to support them through their entrepreneurial journey. Black Girl Ventures (BGV) created the BGV Connect Incubator to combat this widening gap between women, networking, and community.
BGV Connect member Brooke Sinclair shares with us in detail about the community she has found through Black Girl Ventures. She is the CEO and founder of Velour Imports, a digital market place for culinary tourist attractions for luxury resorts. Brooke helps these resorts attract the attention to the tourists by offering them comprehensive experiences and full packages that include spirits and craft beer tastings and culinary tastings.
Brooke first learned about BGV through the pitch competitions, and as BGV began gaining traction, she had reached out to BGV, wondering if they were going to create a presence in Houston. Living in Houston already, she was very excited to hear BGV was entering the Houston market.
Without A Community Isolation Creeps In
Even pre-COVID, Brooke expressed the loneliness and isolation she felt int the Silicon Valley technology sector. There’s this assumption that there aren’t a lot of Black and Brown people that look like her, but she knew there were others out there, she didn’t know how to access them. So, Brooke decided to search for tech-minded, Black and Brown women founders, and that’s when she found the co-working session that BGV holds every Wednesday. Of all the organizations that she researched, BGV spoke to her the most as an individual.
Brooke continued to share how she comes from a non-traditional childhood background that includes losing her parents at the age of seven. She was a ward of the state and a Jehovah’s Witness. She believes not everyone can identify or sympathize with those specific life qualities. Brooke says, “The Black Girl Ventures community is really a come one come all, come as you are, and you can let your hair down, and you can feel safe and secure.” She felt encouraged and understood.
Education & Training Enhances Business Skills
Brooke has been participating a lot more with the co-working sessions, and the various trainings held on the BGV Connect Incubator platform. She recently published her first article as a content creator for BGV. But most of all, she’s been able to use her association with the organization to sign up for more online trainings such as Google Startups. Since her involvement, “It has really opened up her world, has given her a whole new perspective, that she would never have imagined or would have been able to find without Black Girl Ventures.” Brooke said.
You're Not Alone
As a result of being a part of the community, Brooke has been able to network with other Black founders and Black venture capitalists. “Having Black Girl Ventures behind me, for one my confidence is much higher, and I know I’m not alone,” says Brooke. She loves the idea that she can call on anyone in the community to receive support. For solo entrepreneurs, having a community to rely on is a game-changer. When you’re on this solo journey, having someone you can bounce ideas off of, people who can give you feedback, but most importantly, having someone you can trust goes a long way.
What Would You Like The World To Know About BGV?
“Black Girl Ventures, I feel like the message is the same as it is for Black Girl Ventures as it is for Black women and Black girls; that we’re coming. We’re coming for ‘ya. Black Girl Ventures was in Georgia for pitch competitions, you know, and look where it’s grown to in a number of years. As people gravitate towards it and are willing to help it grow, we’re coming for ‘ya. Watch out.”
Brooke continues to say if you’re an accomplished, well-traveled Black woman and you’re looking for a community that makes you feel welcomed and supported, then Black Girl Ventures is for you.
“Having Black Girl Ventures behind me, for one my confidence is much higher, and I know I’m not alone,” Brooke Sinclair
As our founder, Shelly Bell, says in this Fast Company interview, “I believe in the power of building community to bring about systemic change. I am inspired to see black and brown female founders across the nation coming together and fostering the growth of more inclusive local economies.”
Black and Brown women founders need networks where they can continue to thrive and have positive impacts in their communities which fundamentally, supports their local economies. When this happens, the whole world benefits.
“When more women work, economies grow.” Unwomen.org