“Open Your Own Shop; Secure Prosperity and Secure Your Freedom.”

— Madame C.J. Walker
  

OBBF In The Press

PRESS RELEASE: MAY 5TH, 2021

Bay Area Chef Launches Black Culinary Collective in Partnership with the Oakland Black Business Fund and Oakstop Alliance

The West Oakland collective offers community empowerment, engagement, and mentorship for emerging Black culinary entrepreneurs

OAKLAND, Calif. – May 5, 2021In partnership with the Oakland Black Business Fund (OBBF) and Oakstop Alliance, Bay Area business owner Reign Free has launched the Black Culinary Collective to provide a creative, collaborative, and nurturing environment for Black-owned food and beverage producers. In addition to access to a fully-equipped commercial kitchen, the Collective offers members business consultation and mentorship services, as well as opportunities for financing through the Oakland Black Business Fund’s network.

The Black Culinary Collective is the expansion of Free’s vision to impact her community using her experience and expertise. An Ohio native, Free relocated to Oakland where she launched a successful one-woman catering business, The Red Door Catering (TRD). Established in 2006, TRD has grown into a multi-million-dollar company serving clients like the Obama Foundation, AfroTech, Facebook, Louis Vuitton, the Super Bowl, and Blue Shield of California. In 2020, TRD partnered with the Eat. Play. Learn Foundation, World Central Kitchen, and Great Plates to serve the community during COVID-19. In April 2021, Free hosted a roundtable welcoming Vice President Kamala Harris, Bay Area politicians, and small business owners to her kitchen to discuss their experience during the pandemic and the impact of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in aiding small businesses.

“The challenges brought by COVID-19 forced The Red Door to change its business model, shifting from catering in-person events to providing healthy and locally-grown food to our neighbors as they worked from home,” said Free. “With restaurants shutting down and pivoting to take-out, I could see that other Black chefs and entrepreneurs were struggling, with many of them lacking access to kitchen space and expertise on how to scale their businesses. I recognized that not only could I offer these entrepreneurs a place to cook, but we could create a space where emerging culinary entrepreneurs could grow beyond their current station.”

The Black Culinary Collective has launched with support from the Oakland Black Business Fund, a Black-led investment platform providing capital, technical assistance, and growth strategy to Black-owned businesses. In order to minimize the barrier to entry for entrepreneurs looking to join the Collective, OBBF has committed to funding the first ten members, equaling more than $50k in funding for the project. OBBF is the only Black-led fund providing business grants and larger investments that address the historical lack of access to capital and control of real estate.

“We’ve seen studies that show 41% of Black-owned businesses closed between February and April 2020, and PPP loan data shows that only 130 restaurants listed as Black-owned received payments of $150,000 or more. These numbers reflect historically weak lending to people of color, which makes community-based funds essential to creating a new economic trajectory for Black businesses,” said Damon Johnson, director of community relations at OBBF and executive director for Oakstop Alliance. “The Black Culinary Collective is one example of how OBBF’s unique approach to building peer-to-peer relationships between Black business owners and service providers offers a sustainable growth model for under-funded businesses.” 

The Black Culinary Collective is ideal for small to mid-sized businesses, ranging from home-based operations to full-scale commercial production. The West Oakland facilities feature more than 5,000 square feet of combined commercial kitchen and pop-up market space. Members will also receive access to free consultation on topics ranging from certification, licensing, and insurance to production, branding, and distribution.

In addition to TRD, the Black Business Collective features various Black-owned food and beverage businesses, with more expected to join in the coming weeks. Current members include Baby Bean Pie, The Final Sauce, Pound Bizness, and Teas With Meaning. The Black Culinary Collective will host an open house in West Oakland this summer, highlighting the culinary offerings of Oakland’s emerging food and beverage entrepreneurs.

“The foundation of our brand is intention, purpose, and wellness. By partnering with Reign Free and the Black Culinary Collective, we’re able to grow our business while delivering on our goal of inspiring purposeful change within our community,” said Kamilah Mitchell, founder of Teas With Meaning. “It’s an honor to be aligned with this project and have the opportunity to grow alongside other Black culinary entrepreneurs.”

Business owners interested in joining the Black Culinary Collective can visit www.blackculinarycollective.com for more information. To schedule an appointment to visit the kitchen, contact reign@reddoorcatering.com. Investors or organizations interested in contributing to OBBF or supporting Oakstop Alliance can contact info@oaklandbbf.org or info@oakstop.com. 

About the Black Culinary Collective

The Black Culinary Collective (BCC) provides commercial kitchen facilities and services for Black-owned food and beverage companies at competitive prices, ideal for small to mid-sized businesses. From home-based businesses to full-scale commercial production, the West Oakland-based kitchen meets the varied needs of culinary entrepreneurs. We provide a supportive environment where you can learn, grow and develop. The overall aim is to provide a creative, collaborative, and nurturing environment for the selected participants to flourish and grow their businesses. Follow the Black Culinary Collective on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. For more information, visit www.blackculinarycollective.com.

About Oakland Black Business Fund

Oakland Black Business Fund redefines capital deployment systems to create possibilities for Black economic growth that defy the confines of systemic racism. The fund supports Black businesses with capital and technical assistance to elevate Black entrepreneurs as thriving leaders in the local economy.

Oakland Black Business Fund offers opportunities for LP investment and tax-deductible donations through its 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, Alliance for Community Development, whose mission is to increase access to capital and support for local, underrepresented entrepreneurs. Follow Oakland Black Business Fund on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. More information available at www.oaklandblackbusinessfund.com.

About Oakstop and the Oakstop Alliance

Oakstop is a place-based social enterprise offering affordable workspace, event space, and arts programming to catalyze collaboration, professional development, and economic sustainability for creative entrepreneurs and small local businesses. Oakstop is a 100% Black-owned and operated small business, currently operating four locations in the East Bay.

Oakstop Alliance, its nonprofit affiliate organization, further serves the communities of the East Bay with free to low-cost spaces and experiences. Oakstop Alliance furthers the mission of democratizing space by actively curating social good programs with practitioners and non-profit organizations that confront and deconstruct the barriers of systematic oppression with actionable results. More information available at www.oakstop.com and www.alliancecd.org/oakstopalliance.html. ###

PRESS RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 1ST, 2020

Oakland Black Business Fund Launches Investment Platform for Black-Owned Businesses Across the U.S.

OBBF partners with Alliance for Community Development, The Clorox Company, and Okta to empower Black businesses with capital, real estate, and technical assistance.

OAKLAND, Calif. – Sept. 1, 2020Oakland Black Business Fund (OBBF) announced the launch of a new Black-led investment platform to provide capital and technical assistance to Black-owned businesses. The platform includes a $10M relief fund focused on helping local Bay Area businesses impacted by COVID-19 and a $1B investment fund to support Black entrepreneurs across the country. 

Founded in June 2020 by Oakland community leaders Elisse Douglass and Trevor Parham, the OBBF has raised over $150,000 of seed funding from individuals and corporations to pilot their model. As experienced impact investors, entrepreneurs, and real estate developers, Douglass and Parham are well-positioned to raise capital and deploy it to the Black business community. OBBF is working to deploy $10M in relief funds and technical assistance grants to stabilize 500 Black businesses in Oakland. The relief fund also prepares Black entrepreneurs for more substantial capital investments to scale their businesses and acquire real estate.  

“We’re especially focused on funding brick and mortar businesses, which anchor the Black community culturally and economically and establish a sense of place for Black communities,” said Douglass. “By stabilizing these businesses and their underlying real estate, we are taking a critical step towards creating a new economic trajectory for the Black community.”

In addition to the $10M in relief funds, the OBBF aims to raise $1B by the end of 2022 to invest in Black-owned businesses and real estate. These funds will be invested in Black businesses and entrepreneurs across the U.S. to address systemic bias from traditional financial organizations that perpetuate the funding gap for Black businesses. Based on data from the 2018 Small Business Credit Survey, the Brookings Institution found that large banks approve just 29% of Black business owners’ loans, compared with 60% of loans sought by white business owners. In addition, Black founders receive less than 1% of venture capital

“The disproportionate lack of access to capital is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Parham. “When you examine the underlying history of economic injustice, rife with barriers to real estate, healthcare, education, and employment, you realize that it undermines our growth as a society. This is an opportunity for our country to address a social problem with an economic solution.” 

Oakland Black Business Fund has exceeded previous fundraising goals using a model that connects Black businesses with Black technical assistance providers, experienced investors, and technology companies. Current capital partners and technical assistance providers include Alliance for Community Development, The Clorox Company, and Okta.

“At Okta, one of our corporate values is ‘never stop innovating,’ and that commitment applies to the products we build, how we partner, and our social impact and equity work. We recognized Oakland Black Business Fund’s innovative approach to funding Black businesses as soon as we met the team, and knew we had to get involved,” said Frederic Kerrest, Executive Vice Chairman, COO and co-founder of Okta. “The aim of our social impact arm, Okta for Good, is to strengthen the connections between people, technology, and community, and we’ll only be able to do that if we continue investing in Black communities and companies. As business and technology leaders, we all need to turn our statements in support of Black Lives Matter into actions. We encourage others to join us in supporting OBBF to create further opportunities for Black economic growth.” 

OBBF is the only Black-led fund providing business grants and larger investments that address the historical lack of access to capital and control of real estate. Its unique approach to building peer-to-peer relationships between Black business owners, Black technical assistance providers, and tech companies offers a sustainable growth model for under-funded businesses. 

OBBF supports a broad array of businesses and nonprofits with a focus on scaling its city-specific model to other municipalities across the country. The fund is seeking investors and corporate partners to bridge the gap to their next milestone of $1M by the end of 2020. 

Businesses interested in receiving capital or technical support can apply directly at www.oaklandblackbusinessfund.org/apply. Investors or organizations interested in contributing to OBBF can contact info@oaklandbbf.org for more information on partnership opportunities. 

About Oakland Black Business Fund

Oakland Black Business Fund redefines capital deployment systems to create possibilities for Black economic growth that defy the confines of systemic racism. The fund supports Black businesses with capital and technical assistance to elevate Black entrepreneurs as thriving leaders in the local economy.

Oakland Black Business Fund offers opportunities for LP investment and tax-deductible donations through its 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, Alliance for Community Development, whose mission is to increase access to capital and support for local, underrepresented entrepreneurs. Follow Oakland Black Business Fund on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram. More information available at www.oaklandblackbusinessfund.com.

 
 
When we say, "black-owned businesses represent our main street," what does that mean?

It means that our spaces are community hubs. Black entrepreneurs serve their communities in a relevant, culturally compassionate manner and are driven by so much more than economic gain.

Kyrah and Lilly, the owners of @queenhippiegypsy are a shining example of our point. As Oakland's first crystal botanica on the historic 14th street business strip, they've made it their business to be a healing force and a light for our community over the very dark past 2 years. 

It is imperative that as a community we protect the people who fight to protect us. Queen Hippie Gypsy has been vandalized, impersonated and even burglarized over the past two years. Why? Because they are visible. Because they are present. Because they give a damn. 

OBBF works with Black-owned small businesses help them respond to business emergencies. However, we also work to strengthen their networks and grow their support base so they are better prepared for the next emergency. 

As always, please support the businesses we love! Extend Queen Hippie Gypsy a follow, attend one of their fabulous workshops or purchase a gift set for yourself or a loved one (in person or online!)
Have you told your loved ones you love them today? 

Can we talk about someone we love?

We love @beammeuptayleur and the whole @gold.beams team. They open up their homes, their schedules and their wallets to give young black artists safe spaces to be vulnerable and develop their craft. How fitting that today, before her "@secondmondays " showcase this evening, we get to love on her and all the phenomenal artists who grace her stage every month!

OBBF supports arts entrepreneurs like Tayleur because we have no doubt that these brilliant curators will lead Oakland into its next cultural revolution.

Artists lift our spirits when we are at our lowest. They express our rage and frustration when we can't find the words. They are also criminally under resourced in this country where access to healthcare is directly tied to your "9-5."

Your support of OBBF, helps us to support black excellence in our community. It helps us to empower full time arts entrepreneurs to create without compromise.

Do us a favor... skip the trip to Walgreens for that last minute V-Day gift. Bring your loved one to Tayleur's (free) event tonight (link in bio) and celebrate with some talented young artists in your community. 

Supporting Oakland artists without having to leave Oakland? What could be more romantic than that?
We want all the beef! We want all the smoke!

Okay, dad jokes aside…we are so honored that @finalsauce trusted us to tell their inspiring story of sisterhood, courage and community. It takes a tremendous amount of heart to share your gifts with the world. It takes so much more to double down on your dreams and make your passion your career. 

Every bottle of the Final Sauce is handmade, bottled hot at the peak of freshness and sold in small batches to ensure quality. They’ve got so many incredible flavors (Original, Hot, Bourbon, Mango, Coffee, Hennessey!...) and elevate whatever you eat (ask our vegan friends who have sampled the salad dressing and poured the sauce on their tofu rice bowls!)

We support Princess and Brownie Sims in their journey to establish their own manufacturing and distribution facility for their sauce. We know that black women-owned family businesses like the Final Sauce are absolutely imperative for Oakland to preserve its history and protect its future. 

We appreciate your support of OBBF in whatever form is right for you (donation, like, follow, share…) 
100% of every individual donation is reinvested into black-owned businesses in Oakland.

But please remember to prioritize supporting the business directly! A follow and a purchase from @finalsauce goes a very long way and is a (tasty) investment in Oakland’s current black-business ecosystem and our future food manufacturing industry!

(Sorry to post this at dinner time. Look at your plate…you know what to do!)
It's been an amazing journey for the Oakland Black Business Fund over the past 20 months! We've been able to serve over 150 Black-Owned businesses and are looking forward to serving hundreds more in the future!

This Black History Month we are going to use every Monday to highlight a Black-Owned business that is making a stand for the community. If you wish to donate to the fund (GiveButter link in the bio,) you can rest assured that 100% of all individual donations go to micro-grants or technical services costs for Black-Owned small businesses in your community.

Even if you cannot donate, we welcome you to take part in one of Oakstop's community events this month (link in bio), curated almost exclusively with businesses OBBF has had the pleasure of serving.

Thank you as always for your support and for patronizing Black-Owned businesses, artists and service providers in Oakland!
Congrats to Oakstop member, Sistah Sci-fi, being as Best Indie Bookstore of 2021!!

Vote for @sistahscifi NOW on @allwaysblack 

Repost from @sistahscifi
•
Sistah Scifi nominated for Best Indie Bookstore of 2021 😍 along with @unclebobbies, @harrietts_bookshop, @mahoganybooks, and @baldwinandcompany. 

You can vote on @AllwaysBlack created by @penguinrandomhouse;
Curated by @creemyles