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.
TDI Pittsfield Partnership: Transformative Development Initiative

Tuesday, december 20th, 2pm - 3:30pm
Monthly on the third Tuesday until Oct. 18, 2023

MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) is a program for Gateway Cities designed to accelerate economic growth within focused districts. The program works with cross-sector partnerships to engage community members in actionable planning, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment.

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 14, 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 communications@berkshirebec.org to be considered. All ages encouraged to apply!

BBEC ENTREPRENEURS 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 you and your business. 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.

The first meeting will feature representatives from Lee Bank. Additional details about the session will be provided in the coming months, so please stay tuned for more. 

Proposed Entrepreneur Meeting Dates:
  • February 21, 2023 – Lee Bank
  • March 21, 2023 – GNEMSDC
  • April 18, 2023
  • May 16, 2023 – MassHire Rapid Response Team
  • June 20, 2023
  • [ No meetings in July or August 2023 ]
  • September 19, 2023 – ’62 Center for Theatre & Dance at Williams College
  • October 17, 2023
  • November 21, 2023
  • [ No meetings in December 2023 or January 2024 ]
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. This event has limited capacity: registration is required and registration will close on November 1st. Fill out the form below to register for the event.

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. If you plan to attend, please RSVP below!

MINORITY BUSINESS ENTERPRISE EDUCATIONAL WORKSHOP

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

A Minority business enterprise (MBE) is an American designation for businesses which are at least 51% owned, operated and controlled on a daily basis by one or more (in combination) American citizens including African American, Hispanice 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.

If you are either a Black business or a Black entrepreneur interested in the benefits of this certification please pre-register and we will reach out to you when our webinar program date has been scheduled in 2022!

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.