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BGV Connect Member Nicole: The Best Investment You Can Make For Your Business

Updated: Apr 3, 2021

The BGV Connect Incubator is a platform that provides resources for Black and Brown women-led startups. This is an opportunity for entrepreneurs to scale their business ventures and build community connections. We address the gaps that exist in traditional ecosystems, where Black and Brown women founders have brilliant ideas but don't have the resources to support the growth of their ideas into viable businesses.

In our BGV Connect Member series, we’re highlighting Nicole Ayers.

Nicole Ayers, Founder of Madlab Post

Madlab Post is an international social club that helps movie junkies combat social isolation, loneliness, and anxiety through live and digital film experiences in Philadelphia and various cities. They do this by providing a curated collection of indie films, editorial content, and interactive workshops that their members and their guests will otherwise not have an opportunity to access.

How did you learn about BGV?

I first learned about Black Girl Ventures in the summer of 2019. I believe when I heard that they were hosting a pitch competition at the Innovation Center in Philadelphia. I think it was like five dollars at the time to attend, and the money that you paid for admission would be put into a pool of funding and given to the winning founder that pitched that day. So I was excited to attend––to learn more about the work that Black Girl Ventures does while also learning about and supporting other Black women founders in my city.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend that particular event because I was traveling to host an event of my own in Baltimore for my business. After receiving an opportunity to pitch my business in BGV Philly's inaugural virtual pitch competition in 2020. I joined the BGV Connect Incubator network to take an online course. And to get access to coaching that would give me the tools and the connections that I needed to refine my business model and grow my revenue.

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

I decided to remain an active member of BGV Connect Incubator because it allows me to learn how to best articulate my business through the weekly pitch practices while also helping me get access to grants and other resources that can help me take my business to the next level. And I am pretty sure that I would miss out on a lot of these opportunities if it were not for the BGV Connect Incubator.

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

I've attended the Houston pitch competitions, which were awesome! And I look forward to attending more of the weekly pitch practices as well as the group support sessions. I think that the group support sessions alone are an invaluable resource for Black women founders during this time, in this climate.

What have you gotten from being a part of this community? Please include how this has impacted you individually and your business.

After raising funds for my business during the virtual Philly Pitch competition, a fellow member actually reached out to me directly through the BGV Connect Incubator network. And she sent me messages with information about other grant opportunities that are specific to my business. I've also been able to apply to business development programs in Washington, DC, and grants that are sponsored by Verizon. In addition to that, I've also received information about grants in the BGV Connect Incubator network.

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

I would say that BGV Incubator is the best investment that you can make for your business. The network is in a league of its own, and it's a place where Black women give you feedback on all aspects of our business while also getting access to coaching and resources that can help you secure funding for your business. BGV definitely walks the walk. And to me, BGV is an organization that truly cares about making sure that Black women-owned businesses can fly by increasing our social capital as well as our financial capital.

At the same time, BGV is the only organization that is on the ground and the trenches and constantly evolving to ensure that Black women-owned businesses can continue to succeed. And for me, it is a blessing to be a part of the BGV community. So I just want to say thank you. Thank you so much for all of the work that you do to ensure that Black women-owned businesses can win in my T-Pain's voice.

At BGV, we understand that as growing, ambitious entrepreneurs you need help in unlocking the potential of your business. Let BGV Connect Incubator be the support to complement your business.

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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