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BGV Connect Member Dr. Holly: We Thrive Because BGV Has Our Backs

So what if we told you that there's a community of Black and Brown women entrepreneurs, startup founders, creatives, and change-makers―who gather regularly to amplify each other's voices and ideas? And let's further suggested that these women are working on making the world a better place for all of us, individually and collectively? You'll find them at the BGV Connect Incubator.

The BGV Connect Incubator provides a comprehensive platform for select women interested in developing their businesses to access the support they need. As part of the BGV community, we aspire to create opportunities for our members to put themselves in the best positions for success. Black and Brown Women will gain the resources they need to launch their ventures. We believe by creating a thriving ecosystem, we create opportunities for Black and Brown women to disrupt the status quo. We're highlighting Dr. Holly Sawyer, a long-standing member of BGV Connect Incubator.

Dr. Holly Sawyer, Founder of Dr. Holly Coaching and Life First Therapy, LLC.

I am a Licensed Therapist and an Entrepreneur Mindset Coach. I provide psychotherapy to Black professional women who experience microaggressions in the workplace. And on the coaching side, I work with women who are 40 and over, looking to take their business idea and launch it into a business of their own.

How did you learn about BGV?

I learned about BGV literally last February while I was attending a conference at Cheyney University. And a Black woman on the panel was asked a question by someone in the audience. It might have been me. I can't remember. It was about us as Black women not having access to funding, to capital, angel investors, VCs, all that good stuff. And one of the panelists got up, and she literally wrote Shelly Bell's name on the board.

You should have seen the cameras––people taking notes, writing down––me, like, okay, Instagram. And from that day is when I found out about BGV. That was on a Tuesday. Shelly was actually having a pitch competition in Philadelphia that Thursday. And I was like, I have to meet this woman. I have to be in the room. And so I slid in her DMs. And Shelly was so sweet. She had a whole conversation with a stranger, and literally, I got to the event early because I had another prior engagement. And Shelly, like, talked to me. People were pulling her left and right. But she literally made time for me and spoke with me and listened to me, as I shared with her my vision.

Why did you join, and what was the deciding factor to remain an active member?

I decided to join and remain active because Shelly is so down to Earth. And I've met some really, really good women who are just supportive and have had my back when I was just really trying to continue to navigate this entrepreneurial space.

What events have you attended so far, and what has your experience been like? What keeps you coming back to the community?

The event that I attended was again the Philadelphia pitch competition, and it was massive. And again, just having that love, seeing so many Black and Brown, beautiful women just out there doing their thing like, it's just no other place like it that I've experienced. So for that, like, BGV is just really the s***.

What I've gotten from the community besides support is help professionally and personally. I was one of the members of Shelly's jetpack mastermind when she launched it last summer. And, oh, my God, it helped me personally because it just allowed me to really kind of step back. And one thing Shelly taught me was how to identify your obligations versus your opportunities, and literally, what's the difference? And that has allowed me as an entrepreneur to kind of again, step back and realize, okay, this is the next shiny thing––is this leading you on to your purpose and what you're trying to do, does it lead your bigger picture? And there's nothing wrong with saying no. You should say no.

What would you say to those who are thinking about joining BGV Connect?

Anybody who is on the fence or even trying to figure out why or should they join BGV. It's really a no-brainer. I would say that come in, get to know people, introduce yourself, click on people's profiles and bios, and read the blogs―it's just an amazing space.

What would you like the world to know about BGV?

I would like the world to know that Black girls are out here, and honey, we exist! We are taking over, and whether we get funded or not by people who don't look like us, BGV has our backs, and because of that, we will thrive.

Sometimes you just need a little support to get going with a big goal. And that’s where the BGV Connect Incubator comes in. This is a place that will provide individuals like you with the right tools and resources to get started on building something (big, new, or even small) for your business, your community, or yourself. Think bigger together. Learn more about the BGV Connect Incubator.

Subscribe to the Digital Orange Juice for juicy ideas and the people who fund them. You can find out about our next pitch competitions here.

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