A local Washington D.C. musician and entrepreneur recently launched Black Men Ventures (BMV) to help close the wealth gap and support Black men entrepreneurs.
According to Washington Business Journal, Alfred Duncan was inspired to launch BMV to foster access to more financial and human capital. The new organization is modeled after Shelly Bell’s Black Girl Ventures (BGV), which helps Black women founders pitch and secure venture capital investments. BGV’s most notable effort is the organization’s pitch competition that allows the crowd to vote for their favorite by investing funds real-time through a digital platform. Duncan reached out to Bell last June to start BMV, and after pulling a team together a month later, the new organization is set to host its first pitch event in April.
“When you invest into Black entrepreneurs, then that brings the money to the community or to the people, and then they are able to do different things for their community,” Duncan told the Washington Business Journal. “I think that’s where we lack — is that there’s not enough entrepreneurs that can pour into their individual communities, and then share their stories and their experiences, and people that look like them in their community can see that they can do it too.”
BMV was able to raise $25,000 ahead of its official launch in January from personal investments from its team, community members, family and friends. This is just a small dent in the organization’s goal to raise $500,000 this year to invest in Black men entrepreneurs. For its first pitch event next month, BMV will welcome eight early-stage entrepreneurs to pitch virtually. The first place winner will take home $10,000, second place will receive $5,000 and third place gets $2,500. All of the participating entrepreneurs will receive all investments made by audience members as well.
Looking ahead, Duncan is focused on registering BMV as a nonprofit this month. Check out BMV’s first pitch competition on April 16. The participating Black men entrepreneurs will be announced soon.