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.
I Am Afro: A street fair for all the people

Join us for "I Am Afro: A Street Fair for All the People" in North Adams! Hosted by BBEC and the First Congregational church of North Adams (FCCNA), this free Juneteenth celebration on June 17, 2023, will feature incredible performances, pop-up booths, delicious food, and family-friendly activities. No registration required – everyone is welcome!

From 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., downtown North Adams (134 Main Street) will come alive with dance, music, visual arts, theatre performances, and spoken word by talented local Black residents.

As the sun sets, the festivities continue at MASS MoCA, where an unforgettable evening awaits. The soul-pop star and Berkshire County native, Raiche, will take the stage in a ticketed homecoming performance. Joining her on this remarkable musical journey is the incredibly talented artist Jasmine Janai, who will open the concert with her captivating performances. Tickets for Raiche’s show can be purchased online at

“I Am Afro” is proudly supported by BBEC’s Black Arts Council, a dedicated and inclusive group fostering an arts sector that serves the needs of the Black community. By partnering with FCCNA, we continue to promote Black artists, entrepreneurship, and culture in the Berkshires.

No matter your background, ethnicity, or heritage, we invite you to join us for a day of cultural exploration, fun, and unity. Let’s celebrate Afro artists and performers together in the vibrant streets of North Adams!

BBEC Presents Raiche at MASS MoCA!
BBEC black business MEETING

Starting in February 2023, 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 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.

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 2023 are listed, and you will also receive a Google calendar invite.
Black Business Meeting Dates:
  • February 21, 2023 – Lee Bank
  • March 21, 2023 – No Presenter, Vibe North Street Grant Discussion
  • April 18, 2023 – Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. (GNEMSDC)
  • May 16, 2023 – MassHire BizWorks
  • June 20, 2023 – Mill Town Capital
  • [No meetings in July or August 2023]
  • September 19, 2023 – ’62 Center for Theatre & Dance at Williams College
  • October 17, 2023 – MassHire Berkshire Workforce Board and MassHire Berkshire Career Center
  • November 21, 2023 – BCC’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)
  • [No meetings in December 2023 or January 2024]
Savings by the Numbers “Evaluating the Cost Per Unit”

Make your money work for you! Join BBEC and EforAll in this three part series to benefit you and your business. Register for just one session or all three at the link below.​

Session Dates:
  • Thursday, June 29 @ 5:30pm
  • Thursday, July 13 @ 5:30pm
  • Thursday, August 10 @ 5:30pm

Friday, July 21, 3pm - 6pm with social hour 6pm - 7pm
The Proprietor's Lodge, Pittsfield, MA

Are you a Black business owner? You may identify as Black and own a business, but that does not mean you are officially certified as a Black Minority-owned business.

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.

On Friday, July 21, 2023, the Berkshire Black Economic Council (BBEC) is partnering with MassHire and the Supplier Diversity Office of Massachusetts to host a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) Educational Workshop at the Proprietor’s Lodge in Pittsfield, MA. This workshop will bring together experts and business leaders who can support Black entrepreneurs’ MBE certification process! This event is FREE. Minority business owners are encouraged to attend. Registration is required.

From 3:00 – 6:00 pm EST, we will kick things off with a brief seminar and panel discussions with MBE-certified businesses throughout the Commonwealth who can speak to the advantages they’ve experienced as a result of their certification. Some of those benefits include an increase in federal contracts, federal and state tax incentives, and expanded access to funding opportunities. From there, we will have breakout groups to explore the specific requirements for obtaining your MBE, and there will be opportunities for you to explore additional resources designed to support your business’s growth and development. 

You won’t want to miss this opportunity! Black entrepreneurs interested in the benefits of this certification please pre-register by clicking the button above or email Erica Barreto at with questions about this event.

BBEC Full membership MEETING

Starting in April 2023, 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:
  • Thursday, April 27 5:30 – 7:00 pm
  • Thursday, July 27 5:30 – 7:00 pm
  • Thursday, October 26 5:30 – 7:00 pm
On Thursday, April 27 from 5:30 – 7:00 pm, the BBEC will host a meeting at House of Seasoning for all its members + the Black business community.
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

2023 BAC meeting schedule:

  • January 10, 2023
  • February 15, 2023
  • March 14, 2023
  • May 9, 2023
  • June 13, 2023
  • No meeting in July 2023
  • No meeting in August 2023
  • September 12, 2023
  • October 10, 2023
  • November 14, 2023
  • No meeting in December 2023

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

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

Internship luncheon

Wednesday, February 8, 12pm - 2pm

The Berkshire Black Economic Council is partnering with Berkshire Community College to host a luncheon on the BCC campus. As part of this event, we'd like to invite businesses that are interested in bringing on an intern this year. The Luncheon serves as a great opportunity to establish and build relationships with BCC students.

If you plan to attend this event, please RSVP your attendance by Wednesday, February 1.

Black businesses: meet lt. governor candidate

Friday, November 4, 10:15 - 11:15AM

Join the Berkshire Black Economic Council and meet Lt. Governor Candidate Kim Driscoll at the BBEC office (33 Dunham Mall in Pittsfield) on Friday, November 4th from 10:15 – 11:15 a.m.

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.


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.