Now the center
is starting a professional group comprised of African-American business owners,
to support African American business
is a business development agent at the center and says the idea came to her
when a client asked a very simple question.
came to me and said, ‘Do you know a black architect?’” recalled Moss. “I have a
lot of resources, so I believed I could come up with one.”
took me 2 weeks to come up with a black architect. So after we were able to
come up with a black architect, we just sat down and said there’s got to be a
should be a list, a directory, a networking system where we at least know what
black businesses are out there and what their credentials are and who they
serve,” she said.
was the formation of BBASE, which is the acronym for Black Business Association
Supporting Entrepreneurs. The group will promote black entrepreneurship and
serve as a resource for black-owned businesses.
gaining strength within. It’s about building ourselves up,” said Moss. “It’s
another resource to say I know John the handyman, instead of having to look in
the yellow pages to find a John the handyman that you don’t know.”
pointed out there are black businesses in Kanawha County that are struggling and black
businesses that are doing well.
“If we can
get those businesses together and have them help each other, to mentor that one
aspect that they don’t’ know about, then that’s a helping hand,” she said. “We’re
going to stimulate the economy, and that’s one more business that’s going to
help West Virginia grow.”
old businessman C. Anthony Parker was quick to commit to joining BBASE, and
he’s exactly the kind of entrepreneur the center hopes the group will attract.
“At the age
of 19, I started buying cars and selling them, and buying cars and selling
them,” said Parker, owner of Charleston Pre-Owned Luxury Auto. “I said I wanted
to defeat all odds. I rented property, bought 2 buildings, and started out with
the years I’ve obtained a body shop, mechanic shop, and also car detailing.”
expanding again, starting a financial services company. He says he’s excited
about BBASE and sharing what he’s learned.
“We have to
be persistent, and this is going to be a venue to show you how to be
persistent, how to be consistent, doing things every day, to build your life to
where you want it to be, not being complacent in where you are right now,” said
have to be excited, because if you’re excited people pick up on that energy.”
The WVSU Economic Development Center will host BBASE development,
training, networking and mentoring
programs. Parker says building relationships among black professionals and
black community members at large, is definitely needed.
African American society we tend to not come together, I’ll be honest with you,
and that’s through my experience in business,” said Parker. “But mentoring is
the key. It’s generational, because I’ve been mentored, and my mentor was
the wind, we really can’t see it, but we can feel it.”
kind of energy here at BBASE that we’re trying to get out to the public and to
business owners and anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur or just wants to be
successful in life period,” said Parker. “We encourage people to join and I
think it’s going to be life-changing for a lot of people.”
serve as president of the association. She says she’ll keep a special focus on
so many creative minds out there, and they don’t know where to go. They don’t
know how to do it,” she said. “And so if we can set up this community of people
who work together we can stimulate a younger generation to consider starting
we’ll have a ripple effect, we’re going to be able to create good solid
citizens, taxpayers, people who have a road and journey in life that they can
feel proud of.”
Because of inclement weather, BBASE's launch party for interested African American business professionals, originally scheduled this evening, has been rescheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2 at 5pm at the West Virginia State University Economic Development Center on
Kanawha Boulevard West.