HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — Calvin Clark keeps a pairs of his son’s shoes on his desk as a reminder of why he comes to work every day.
“The days that you may get lazy, the days you may get tired, you gotta remember someone else you're working for,” he said.
Clark is the owner of BluCloudRadio, a digital media marketing agency that highlights what’s happening in Black culture.
As the owner of a small business, it’s not always easy, but he’s grateful for help along the way.
He’s learning more to help grow his business thanks to help from Black BRAND's B-Force Accelerator Program.
“You don’t know what you don’t know… but with a mentor, they can kind of cut out your learning curve and your learning time,” said Clark.
The 12-week program is focused on providing mentors, training and technical assistance to help Black and Latino entrepreneurs in the early stages of their business access capital, but anyone can apply to be a part of the next cohort.
“[Minority entrepreneurs are] not necessarily being reached out to. They're not accessing capital; they don't necessarily have their planning needs met. And so, we're focused— laser focused— on this part of the population, really making the investment there, realizing that if we can turn that around, gosh - that does something significant for the Black community that builds wealth, that creates jobs,” said Black BRAND President Blair Durham.
Participants should be able to dedicate around five to seven hours a week to the program, which is now virtual.
They’ll have the opportunity to learn from professionals who bring years of accounting, branding and legal expertise to the table.
“A lot of times, small businesses are priced out of being able to even access these kinds of services, you know - they're not able to surround themselves with the kind of advisory services that they need because they really can't afford to. So, being able to get that, again, that foundational piece at no cost, I mean, it's a game changer."
The deadline to apply is September 1, and the program starts September 21.
Applications can be submitted online at BlackBRAND.biz.