Rolling Out

Shelly Omilâdè Bell explains why it’s important to invest in Black women

Shelly Omilâdè Bell explains why it's important to invest in Black women
Shelly Omilâdè Bell (Photo courtesy of Omi’s World Media)

Rolling out spoke to serial entrepreneur Shelly Omilâdè Bell, a computer scientist and founder of The Black Girl Ventures Foundation, as part of our Tech Talk series.

Do you consider yourself a tech founder?

I just consider myself a dope, driven, profile-growing CEO who cares a lot about storytelling. Everything about me comes at the intersection of computer science and art. The ways that I’ve been successful is because I literally think of everything in 1s and 0s. I really wish that all entrepreneurs would learn how to do even basic levels of coding, not for the sake of coding something in the long-run, but because it’s such a mindset. All of it’s just logic, and the logic can be applied to anything

As an investor, are there certain types of businesses that you’ve got your eye on right now?

I’m really excited for upcycling, environmental companies. I’m really excited about looking for ways that we can re­use spaces. One of the companies that was a recent pitch competition was Garagify. I love the idea of people being able to use their garages as Airbnb or garages. Spaces that I can actually rent out for people to do things. The shared economy is still booming, is still going. I think this is one of the ways that we can use it.

Can you explain the importance of investing in Black female-owned businesses?

The importance of investing in Black and Brown founders is in some ways writing some of the history and just really shifting the trajectory of families and communities. This all goes back to strengthening the family and strengthening a community. What comes into the households, they create legacy and generational wealth, which we have not historically been able to do. It’s not a “nice to have,” it’s actually an economic thing to do. Our GDP is based on supply and demand, things moving in our country. We can’t keep looking at it like, it’s a charitable thing to do. It’s more than that.

What are your thoughts on a business having an advisory board?

I recommend it in business, because those are the people that can be your connectors. They may not give you a bunch of money, but may be connected. They can get you into rooms and it can give you advice. So I do recommend that you have advisory boards.


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