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Black Girl Ventures SXSW Pitch Competition Goes Virtual Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Updated: Dec 31, 2020

March 16 event will be the first-ever crowdfunded virtual pitch competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 4, 2020) — Due to concerns related to coronavirus, Black Girl Ventures is making its 2020 SXSW Pitch Competition scheduled for March 16 at Capital Factory into a virtual event. With hundreds of thousands of people from around the world traveling to Austin for the festival, the threat of infection poses too great a risk to participants, employees, volunteers, partners, and attendees. Black Girl Ventures has made the decision to exercise caution and prioritize the health and safety of its community by canceling the live event.

The potential spread of infectious disease leaves small business owners, the core demographic of the Black Girl Ventures community, particularly vulnerable. With many companies that import from China already facing supply chain disruptions, the contagion of one or two employees could spell disaster for their sales and operations.

“The decision to limit travel to Austin for Black Girl Ventures staff and cancel our live SXSW Pitch Competition was not made lightly,” said Shelly Bell, Black Girl Ventures Founder, and CEO. “Our staff and participants have poured their hearts into preparing for this event. That’s why we’re launching the first-ever crowdfunded virtual pitch competition and doing everything we can to ensure our founders still have the chance to tell their stories and access capital.”

On March 16, Austin-based Black and Brown woman-identifying entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to film their pitch at Capital Factory, and the videos will be broadcast on Black Girl Ventures’ proprietary virtual platform SheRaise. The pitch competition judges will provide feedback and ask questions to the founders via video. The virtual format of the event allows for increased viewership, and Black Girl Ventures supporters across the United States will be able to tune in, submit their votes, and make donations through SheRaise.

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