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Why Bad Girl Ventures is Now Aviatra Accelerators

Bad Girl Ventures (BGV), the Covington-based business accelerator focused on women-owned startups and small businesses, announced its new name this week: Aviatra Accelerators.

The new name is a combination of two Latin words -- avis, the Latin word for bird, and atria, meaning open to the sky. The new brand captures the spirit of pioneering women aviators like Amelia Earhart and Women Airforce Service Pilots who served in the U.S. military during World War II, the organization said.

Aviatra’s new tag line – Women on the Rise – also reflects the soaring spirit of innovation, courage, and success, which inspired the Aviatra Accelerators brand, a news release said.

“We are incredibly excited to begin this new chapter in the life of our organization,” said Nancy Aichholz, president and CEO of Aviatra Accelerators. “Organizations, like people, grow and mature. Over the past seven years, BadGirl Ventures has grown from its beginning into a more mature organization, which we now recognize as Aviatra Accelerators.”

Bad Girl Ventures was founded in 2010 with the primary purpose of providing capital investment to small, women-owned startups. Since that time, the organization has grown into an established business accelerator with a larger mission for women entrepreneurs. The core mission remains the same: To Empower Female Entrepreneurs.

“Aviatra is a transcendental word that encourages and empowers women to take flight, break barriers, and explore the blue sky of business and entrepreneurship opportunities that stand before them,” Aichholz said.

“This inspirational name reflects the true mission of our organization, which is that we are a business accelerator for women entrepreneurs who are on the rise. Our old name focused more on venture-capital component of our mission, which is now just one of the features in our growing program.”

The rebranding process started more than a year ago with a deep dive by an MBA class at Northern Kentucky University, which looked at all aspects of the organization, the start-up industry itself, other female business accelerators in the country, and conducted market research.

“We learned a lot from that study, including that changing our name and rebranding our organization was something that we needed to do,” Aichholz said.

BGV retained the Linder Women in Business at the University of Cincinnati to undertake extensive quantitative research about its name.

Research conducted by that organization showed that the term “bad girl” had some confusing connotations with some people, including potential funders and prospective participants, Aichholz said.

“We are hopeful that the new name will be more appealing to a wider range of women entrepreneurs as well as to prospective funders,” she said.

Karen Finan, a partner with Gilman Partners Consultants, who serves as board chair of Aviatra Accelerators, said over the years BGV’s programs have grown, its clientele has changed, and it has evolved into a more mature organization.

“It simply was time to take on a different look, explore different geographies, re-examine the program curricula, and give the organization a refresh,” Finan said.

Over the past seven years, BGV has served more than 1,100 women in Ohio and Kentucky. Eighty percent of the businesses that the organization has launched have gone into business and stayed in business. The organization has offices in Covington, Cincinnati, and Cleveland.

“Although we are now Aviatra Accelerators and our women are now Aviatras, we will always embrace all of the women who have come through our program,” Aichholz said.

Aichholz said the Bad Girl Ventures name won’t completely go away, acknowledging that it will continue to be part of the organization’s alumnae outreach and offerings.

“More than 1,000 women have come through our BGV program and the term ‘Bad Girl’ resonates with these alumnae. Once a Bad Girl, always a Bad Girl,” she said.

“As an organization, we will always embrace all of the women who have come through our program and it is our hope that our Bad Girls now will engage with us as Aviatras because they remain an important part of our organization and we want to continue to help them grow their businesses.”

Aviatra Accelerators currently has five female-owned businesses going through its eight- week LAUNCH programming, where each startup will develop a business plan and compete for up to $25,000 in loans at the end of the class in May.

-Staff report