Unlocking the Doors to Access for Black-Owned Businesses - Funders and Founders Share Their Real Life Stories September 14, 2021, 12:45pm EDT September 14, 2021, 12:45pm EDT
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Access to capital still leads as one of the biggest challenges facing small business owners today. And that challenge is even greater for Black women-owned small businesses. But how do we move from saying that it’s necessary to unlock access, to opening the door to take action?

In this salon-style discussion, Shelly Bell, Founder of Black Girl Ventures will have an honest conversation with both funders and founders – sharing their stories on unlocking access and what it truly takes to unlock and walk through the door.

This webinar is a part of the National Small Business Week Virtual Summit, hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE.

 SBA’s participation in this Cosponsored Activity is not an endorsement of the views, opinions, products or services of any Cosponsor or other person or entity. All SBA programs and services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable arrangements for persons with disabilities will be made, if requested at least 2 weeks in advance, by contacting smallbusinessweek@sba.gov. SBA Cosponsorship Authorization #21-21-C​.


About the Presenter(s)

Shelly Bell - Founder of Black Girl Ventures

Shelly Bell is a systems disruptor. She’s blazed new ways of thinking across the educational, political, and financial systems and scaled over 100 businesses across sectors.

Founder, Black Girl Ventures
Ehime Eigbe-Akindele - Sweetkiwi

Ehime is the Founder of Sweetkiwi, a CPG company which makes the best tasting, low calorie yet nutrient-dense treats.  She is a Visa grant recipient, a Sara Blakely X Spanx Grant Recipient, Acumen 2021 Fellow, the winner of Black Girls Venture DC pitch competition and many other awards.

Founder, Sweetkiwi
Dana Pope - Fearlessly Hue, LLC

Dana Todd Pope, born Dana Todd, is a self-taught multi-disciplinary artist, author, illustrator, model, actress, and fashion designer from the South Side of Chicago. She describes her work as encouraging, disruptive, and self-affirming. In addition to her fine art, Dana is most noted for her children’s room home decor series, recently rebranded as Fearlessly Hue LLC

Artist, Author, Fashion Designer, Fearlessly Hue, LLC
 Troy  Dennis

Troy has over 25 years' experience in the financial service industry. He has held leadership positions that include US Head of Product and Operations. At TD Bank, Troy led product, marketing, acquisitions, analytics, customer experience, and P&L accountability for consumer and small business credit card segments.

SVP, Head of Unsecured Lending & Merchant Services Consumer Products & Partnership Origination, Regions Bank
 Donald  Hawkins

With a career that covers both media and technology, Donald Hawkins applies a diverse mix of skills to his role as Founder & Chief Executive Officer of his affinity neobank, First Boulevard.

Founder and CEO, First Boulevard
Female black business owner smiling in front of open business doors.