An inside look at Black Hawk College’s Multicultural Entrepreneurial Center

Loredana Cooper, Black Hawk College’s multicultural entrepreneurial advisor, said the center's programs are free and available to the public.
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 10:19 PM CDT
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MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - Tucked inside Building 1 on Black Hawk College’s campus is the multicultural entrepreneurial center.

“It’s growing [beautifully,]” said Loredana Cooper, Black Hawk College’s multicultural entrepreneurial advisor. “I mean, every day you have different faces. Every day you have a new wondering student.”

The center serves students from underrepresented groups, first-generation students, and aspiring business entrepreneurs by offering programs that pair professional mentors with a mentee and holding events that celebrate different cultures.

Sophomore Valerie Holland said a career goal of hers is to open a community center for people to come together, and the multicultural entrepreneurial center is one of the reasons she chose Black Hawk College.

“I didn’t feel like I was the type of person who was skilled enough to do that kind of stuff,” Holland said. “I didn’t really believe in myself as much, and coming here we have different workshops for people who want to be entrepreneurs.”

One of the center’s purposes is to set up mentoring relationships and create networking opportunities for students.

“The center means I have a sense of hope in getting to where I want to go in life,” said Leah Carter, a Black Hawk College freshman. “Being able to have that support, and meeting people from the outside coming in through the entrepreneurial workshop, it’s been helping me meet different people, and expand my horizons a little bit.”

Black Hawk College freshman Michi Ku, who wants to become a family physician, said the center helps her continue to build important life skills.

“The multicultural entrepreneurial center has really helped me build my leadership skills. I know the medical field needs a lot of diverse backgrounds and stuff like that, so it really has opened my eyes,” Ku said

For Cooper, who is from Peru, helping underrepresented students hits home.

“When I came to the United States, it was hard for me. [I needed] somebody to mentor me, somebody to help me. When I see the students, I want to help them. I want to give the best of me to each one of the students and the community,” Cooper said.