BBEC Programs

Are you interested in meeting the Berkshire Black business community? Take action and do business with local Black entrepreneurs for economic justice. The Berkshire Black Economic Council’s networking is aimed to increase the visibility of Berkshire County’s Black businesses. Our programs are here to inspire local partnerships and increase supplier diversity by raising awareness of the issues local Black entrepreneurs experience and by problem solving barriers to their prosperity.
BBEC black business MEETING

The Berkshire Black Economic Council is hosting informational sessions inviting guest speakers from the community to present on relevant topics and resources that may be useful for local Black businesses. It is BBEC's intention to hold space for Black entrepreneurs across the county to not only gain valuable knowledge and insights from community organizations, but to also connect with and support one another.

Special Guests: 

These BBEC meetings will take place on the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 5:30 – 7 p.m. in our co-working space located at 33 Dunham Mall in Pittsfield. To help you mark your calendars, the proposed meeting dates for 2024 are listed, and you will also receive a Google calendar invite.

Black Business Meeting Dates:
  • January 23, 2024
  • February 20, 2024 (Kripalu, Robert Mulhall CEO, and Eset Rose.
  • March 19, 2024
  • April 16, 2024
  • May 28, 2024
  • June 18, 2024
  • July 16, 2024
  • August 20, 2024
  • September 17, 2024
  • October 15, 2024
  • November 19, 2024
  • No meeting in December 2024


INTERISE PROGRAM 

June 2024 – December 2024 

This program features various modules such as business & strategic assessment, finances, marketing and sales, and offer specific resources in order to achieve your business’s growth plans.

 
Hunters of Color

Hunters of Color encourages participants to tap into their ancestral traditions for the sake of:

  • Preservation of culture,
  • Sustainable, hormone free food,
  • Cultural identity/belonging.
 
 

BIPOC people have always had a special relationship with the planet; at Hunters of Color we strive to protect that sense of reciprocity and culture.

 

Scan the QR code or click the link below to learn more, give, and to get involved. 

 

 

BBEC Full membership MEETING

The Berkshire Black Economic Council will host informational sessions inviting guest speakers from the community to present on relevant topics and resources that may be useful for BBEC members. In addition to providing educational materials, these meetings will allow for all BBEC members to gather, network, and get to know each other.

Full Membership Meeting Dates:

TBD

BBEC's first annual talent show

BBEC's First Annual Talent Show was a huge success! The talent show was held at '62 Center for Theatre and Dance!

Date: Thursday, January 18th, 2024
Location: ‘62 Center for Theatre & Dance at 1000 Main Street, Williamstown, Ma 01267
How to sign up: If you are interested in participating in the talent show, click the “Register” link below. After clicking the link, you will be asked to enter your information, as well as submit a sample of your talent.
Minority Business Enterprise

A Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) is an American designation for businesses that are at least 51% owned, operated, and controlled on a daily basis by one or more (in combination) American citizens including African American, Hispanic and Latino American, Asian Pacific American, and Native American businesses and/or gender (e.g. woman-owned) and/or military veteran classifications.

An MBE certification allows you to benefit from the many public and private programs designed to help minority-owned businesses, like minority-owned business grants. Here are some of the biggest advantages to getting certified as an MBE:

  • Federal contracts: Many federal agencies are required to give a certain number of contracts to certified minority-owned businesses. So this certification could lead to new opportunities you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
  • Federal tax incentives: The government provides federal tax incentives to businesses that choose to work with minority and women-owned businesses.
  • State tax incentives: Some states, like CA and Georgia, offer state tax incentives to companies that use minority-owned businesses. For instance, California provides state income tax credits to companies that use minority subcontractors.
  • Access to funding: Across the country, various programs are available to help minority-owned businesses receive access to funding. These programs may provide grants, loans, and business mentorship.
Black arts council

An intergenerational Black Arts Council that actively works with and for the community, encouraging investments in diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism (DEIA), providing curricula to the region’s arts and cultural institutions, and promoting targeted marketing guidance to address the Black community’s need for an inclusive and trustworthy arts sector.

As a means of accomplishing the BBEC mission with respect to arts and culture, we have an intergenerational Black Arts Council that actively works with and for the communityYou can learn more about our work with the Black Arts Council which has been detailed in the following Berkshire Eagle press article: Diversity lacking at Berkshire arts and cultural venues, survey from the Black Arts Council of the Berkshire Black Economic Council shows

2024 BAC meeting schedule:

  • January 9, 2024(Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center)
  • February 13, 2024
  • March 12, 2024
  • April 9, 2024
  • May 7, 2024
  • June 11, 2024
  • July 9, 2024
  • August 13, 2024
  • September 10, 2024
  • October 8, 2024
  • November 12, 2024
  • No meeting in December
 

Interested in joining the BAC? Send a few sentences detailing your interest to communications@berkshirebec.org to be considered. All ages encouraged to apply!

Thank You to Our I Am Afro Sponsors!

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our sponsors for their generous support in making I Am Afro: A Street Fair for All the People possible. This inclusive celebration, accessible to all attendees free of charge, has been made possible through your contributions. Our sincere appreciation goes to The Northern Berkshire United Way, The Cultural Council of Northern Berkshire, The Pittsfield Cultural Council, the NAACP Berkshire County Branch, MCLA Arts & Culture, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation’s Arts Build Community grant funded by the Barr Foundation. Your support has created a vibrant and unifying experience for our community. Thank you for your invaluable partnership in promoting art, culture, and social harmony during this event.

BBEC x BCAN: Lunch & Learn

Thursday, November 10th, 11am-1pm

Berkshire Black Economic Council invites BCAN members to join them for a lunchtime learning session at their new offices in downtown Pittsfield.

BBEC President A.J. Enchill will provide an overview of the Council’s new website and the many opportunities for cultural organizations to engage with the group, including at events, through membership or a listing in their directory. A.J. will also touch on the directions of the Black Arts Council.

Vibe north street inforMATION session

Join BBEC, DPI and TDI at either one of our upcoming information sessions where we will walk through the Vibe North Street grant application and answer any questions from the community.

Session 1: Thursday, April 6, 2023 from 12pm – 2pm. Located in person at 33 Dunham Mall in Pittsfield. Lunch will be provided.

Session 2: Tuesday, April 11, 2023 from 9am – 10am. Located on Zoom.

Please be sure to pre-register your attendance by emailing assistant@berkshirebec.org

 

 

 

We thank the Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Berkshires for their generous contribution to BBEC for our “Vibe North Street” grant program. The Jewish Women’s Foundation in the spirit of Tikun “To heal the world” Olam’, is dedicated to addressing critical needs in the Berkshire community and supporting social action to create a more just and equitable society. Through grant funding and member engagement we pursue our mission to empower and strengthen organizations working to improve the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors.
SPEED NETWORKING EXPO​

The Berkshire Black Economic Council’s networking is aimed to increase the visibility of Berkshire County’s Black businesses. The Berkshire Black Economic Council is here to inspire local partnerships and increase supplier diversity by raising awareness of the issues local Black entrepreneurs have experienced and problem solving barriers to their prosperity.

If this looks like something you don’t want to miss again! We would love to have you attend. Please pre-register and we will contact you as this annual event approaches.

Berkshire Black businesses will feature “pop-up” shops of their services! Please attend and bring your business cards and brochures. The Black business community will have theirs, along with gear, food samples, their products, takeaway items, and most importantly their experiences as entrepreneurs.

Our goal is to organize as many Berkshire Black businesses and entrepreneurs under one roof as we can. By embracing the principle of “cooperative economics” we will amplify their presence amongst businesses, leaders, public officials, and Berkshire residents. Please pre-register here and join us in this annual celebration and fun networking!

Dress in what makes you feel comfortable so you can represent your business and have fun after the programming. Food and entertainment will be provided. See you there!

Become part of a movement to make the Berkshires an inclusive economy.