Local organization aims to end racial, gender systemic inequity for female entrepreneurs of color

Phillip Palmer Image
Saturday, September 9, 2023
Organization aims to end racial, gender inequity for entrepreneurs
The Black and Brown Opportunities for Profit Center in San Bernardino is a hub for women of color who have a business idea but need some guidance.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- More black women in the U.S. are in the process of starting or running a new business than either white men or women. Unfortunately, only 3% of black women are running mature businesses in part due to a lack of access to key resources needed for entrepreneurship.

"I did not have the knowledge, the tools, the resources or the connections to propel my business to where it can go now, and by connecting with the BBOP Center I was able to do that," explains NaChe' Thompson, the founder of NaChe Cosmetics.

The Black and Brown Opportunities for Profit Center in San Bernardino is trying to end racial and gender systemic inequity. A division of Time For Change Foundation, the BBOP Center is a gorgeous, first-of-its-kind, high-tech economic hub for women of color who have an idea for a business, but need some guidance on how to make it successful.

"The women that come to the BBOP Center, they are working women... they have careers established, they're working in their careers and one of the things that we realized is that these women that we're serving, they're not short of ideas, they're short of opportunities," says Vanessa Perez, the CEO of BBOP Center.

"When you're intentionally building a business, you know that if you don't work, you don't eat, right? So we are creating an environment where these women know that even though there may be bad days, there are plenty of good days ahead," adds Kima Russell, the director of operations at the BBOP Center.

The BBOP Center provides access to 14 offices, three conference rooms, a child care center, a legal guidance room and even a cafeteria where women like Lisbect Mendez or Blanca Orellana can meet with potential clients for their catering businesses.

"The people outside look at me more professional," says Mendez, the owner of Fancy Creations by Lisbect.

"I have to project now from inside to outside what I want for my customers to see, and then that makes me feel confident. That is the most important part of being here," adds Orellana, the owner of Cheesy Pupusas.

Programs are available to help build and grow new or existing businesses or scale ideas like NaChe Cosmetics into generational wealth. The shared workspace with others who have similar dreams creates an environment of support where if one succeeds, all do.

Thompson explains, "I see myself rising to the occasion in a way that I probably wouldn't if I wasn't surrounded by these entrepreneurial women that I constantly get to communicate with. We've done more than just become like friends, we're actually sisters and that sisterhood is something that we're going to take forward as we move on."