(News Release) – A new initiative through West Virginia State University (WVSU) Extension Service is expanding opportunities and resources for African Americans across the state. The mission of the Black Business Association Supporting Entrepreneurs (BBASE) is to promote entrepreneurship, stimulate growth and serve as a resource for black-owned businesses by providing networking and mentoring opportunities. The association will hold a launch party Friday, January 25, at 6 p.m. at the WVSU Economic Development Center in Charleston.
“BBASE is about showcasing black businesses in our communities and providing opportunities for their support through networking, training and mentorship,” said Sandra Moss, extension agent for business development with WVSU Extension Service. “We hope it will span not only West Virginia but also the nation.” Moss is one of the founding members of BBASE and serves as president of the association.
The idea for BBASE emerged out of what Moss called an obvious need. When asked by a client if she knew of any African-American architects in the region, she had no answer. It was then that Moss, along with fellow BBASE member John Gaddis, decided it shouldn’t be such a difficult task to find a black professional in any trade.
“BBASE is about helping to make a change,” she said. “It’s not about being separate but, instead, being economically stronger within so we can branch out.”
Part of the economic development mission of WVSU Extension Service is to support West Virginia entrepreneurs. The organization has previously helped specialty foods producers and artisans become established and utilize their collective purchasing and selling power to market goods and services.
“BBASE is a yet another great opportunity for West Virginia State University to help local entrepreneurs organize and increase their profitability,” said Bill Woodrum, associate dean and associate director of WVSU Extension Service. “We’ll be increasing opportunities for interaction with other business owners through this initiative.”
The launch party will feature a keynote address by Glenn Walker, CPA, CFE. The Economic Development Center is located at 1506 Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston.