Prince James Story |
It did not matter that it was raining during the grand opening of the Black and Brown Opportunities for Profit (B-BOP) Center. The community showed up in large numbers to express their support.
The B-BOP Center is a 10,000-square-foot building in San Bernardino to help end racial and gender inequality in entrepreneurship in the Inland Empire.
The center has 14 rooms, a cafeteria, shared workspaces, a child care center, a quick-pitch room, and a legal guidance room.
According to the State of Women in The Inland Empire Report, Black women make 60 cents for every dollar a White male earns. The gap is more significant for Hispanic women; they make 42 cents for every dollar a White male earns.
“Within our programs and services, we’ve always had an entrepreneurship component to the work that we do, especially for women of color and those who have experienced discrimination due to being a woman of color or even having felony convictions,” said Vanessa Perez, Executive Director of Time For Change Foundation.
Perez said the vision for this project came to her in 2020, at the height of the pandemic.
Businesses were shut down, and mothers, especially single mothers, struggled to make ends meet and had to find ways to provide for their children.
“We wanted to make sure that Black and brown women have access to the tools and the resources they need to create, build, grow, and scale successful businesses,” Perez said.
B-Bop Center Services
The center will provide women access to technology, working spaces, resources, legal support, and capital and investment.
They also have the B-BOP Academy, which will have three phases: build, grow, and scale.
When you sign up for the academy, they will evaluate your business plan, and you will be placed in one of the three phases where you can grow and learn at your own pace.
From 2017-2019, the number of minority-owned businesses increased in the Inland Empire, but those numbers have dwindled as a result of the pandemic.
“My motivation with building this center was that I wanted to see Black and brown women have an opportunity to build generational wealth,” said Carter. “I was tired of seeing Black and brown women at the bottom of every socio-economic condition. I was tired of seeing them needing help with the rent because of COVID.”
Carter pointed out the importance of appreciating the groundbreaking ceremony rather than looking too far into the future.
She also stressed the value of celebrating what’s happening now and that there is a high-tech, state of the art entrepreneur center for Black and brown women in San Bernardino.
In addition, Carter highlighted the importance of successful entrepreneurs and women coming out of the center with what they need to elevate and innovate in addition to growing, building, and scaling investable businesses.
“I represent helping women find that freedom, freedom to do whatever they want to do in life, that they’ll be the imagination of their own life, and take care of their kids. We don’t need to dictate to women what to be. Let women create for themselves,” proclaimed Carter.