Home Organization Organization working to increase minority entrepreneurship in the Brazos Valley

Organization working to increase minority entrepreneurship in the Brazos Valley


COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) – Minority entrepreneurs and nonprofit founders have been given the tools to improve their businesses at The Reach Project Minority Business Bootcamp Saturday. The event took place at the McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship at Texas A&M University and included sessions led by A i/e.

The bootcamp brought together 53 participants from multiple industries including beauty, homeware and foodservice.

Etta Whitley from Finetta Hair and Beauty Academy and Finetta tea has been an entrepreneur for over 20 years and said she attended to hone her strategy skills.

“Strategy is everything in business, making sure you know who your customer base is, what you can offer them, and what they can offer you,” Whitley said.

This was the second weekend session of the bootcamp that Whitley attended and said it contained the information needed to grow his business.

“I want to be able to employ people who are generally unemployable for other people,” Whitley said. “I want to be able to increase the squad I already have.”

For Amber Robertson, she learned how to change the direction of her nonprofit Brazos Valley Blessings. Among the key things she took away was a better understanding of how to invest in nonprofits and how to approach donors.

“We are a non-profit organization, but what we are learning is that we can always benefit from this organization and continue to build our community,” Robertson said.

Vanessa Richard is an aspiring entrepreneur and said she came away with more confidence in her future business.

“At this time in two years, I hope I’m up and running, definitely, and I’m excited about that,” Richard said.

Along with the lessons learned, the entrepreneurs said they strengthened each other, as many faced similar challenges throughout their careers.

“It’s inspiring to see people exercise faith and say, ‘I may be small but I’m mighty.'”

Project Reach Executive Director Max Gerall believes in giving minority entrepreneurs the resources and strategies they need to succeed. He said the bootcamps have been very successful, which is why there is already a waiting list for the next one.

“We’ve actually launched 25 black-owned, three 501(c)(3) and five black-operated 501(c)(4) LLCs, so just bringing that into the community is huge,” Gerall said.

For more information on the Reach project, click on here.

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