BROOKLYN, N.Y., June 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Dream Big Foundation ("Dream Big") is excited to announce the grand opening of the 3 Black Cats Café and Cakery and the Dream Big Innovation Center on Saturday, June 18 at 3 Belmont Avenue in Brooklyn. The opening will be attended by the founders, mentors, and supporters of this project, including Assemblywoman Latrice Walker and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. The project will create a model of economic development that benefits the whole Brownsville community.
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The 3 Black Cats Café and Cakery is the first of its kind in Brownsville -- a "third place" for community members to eat, drink, gather, learn and inspire one another -- and is one of the first examples of Dream Big turning the entrepreneurial dreams of community members into reality. The café, owned and operated by the three Jimenez sisters from Brownsville, shares a physical space with the Dream Big Innovation Center, a combined 5,000-square-foot multi-function space with a conference room, six desks, an 18-seat coworking table, wifi, smart TVs, and chalkboard walls. It's a place for aspiring entrepreneurs to work, meet with mentors, and develop new skills and, similar to popular shared-workspace facilities around the city, entrepreneurs -- from within and outside Brownsville -- can rent coworking space on a daily, weekly, or yearly basis. Architectural and design services for the space were provided pro bono by Mapos, LLC.
"We want this space to be a beacon for the community, and in addition to providing mentoring and skills training to entrepreneurs within our program, the community will be able to participate in workshops -- ranging from entrepreneurship, tech, and health to personal finance and education. We are also offering access to our event center underneath the café for community movie nights, baby showers, book signings -- you name it," said Pernell Brice, executive director of the Dream Big Foundation. "We're confident the center will be an asset to this community, and we're excited about finally opening the doors."
The idea for the coffee shop and center began when Rob LoCascio, founder of the Dream Big Foundation, visited Brownsville and learned from residents that building a café would be a sign of hope and a symbol of safety and economic growth. Brownsville, being largely untouched by development and gentrification, lacked a café. Recognizing that Brownsville possesses immense local talent, LoCascio also decided to establish an entrepreneurial incubator -- the Dream Big Innovation Center.
"By supporting local entrepreneurs, you can empower residents to be the owners of their community's destiny," said LoCascio. "The Dream Big Foundation believes that the power to transform Brownsville lies right in its own people. By supporting the dreams of these innovators and giving them the knowledge and resources to succeed, we're going to see a neighborhood revitalization from within. We're hoping this process can be replicated in many other areas."
A longtime pioneer of tech entrepreneurship in NYC, LoCascio is also founder and CEO of LivePerson, Inc., a leading provider of mobile and online messaging and one of the earliest and most successful ventures out of NYC's Silicon Alley. Now a longstanding leader in the NY tech scene, LivePerson's corporate culture remains deeply dedicated to entrepreneurship as well as community service and engagement. Many LivePerson employees support the local NYC community through volunteerism and outreach programs, including Dream Big's efforts in Brownsville.
In addition to accessing free mentoring and workshop opportunities, community members can apply to become a Dream Big Entrepreneur, like the Jimenez sisters, to receive equity financing for their idea or business, supporting the model of economic growth from within.
"We're so grateful for the Dream Big Foundation for believing that community strength and success comes from inside the community -- and we really hope to embody that through this business," said Ionna Jimenez, one of the 3 Black Cats, on behalf of her sisters. "It's an incredible experience to watch our hard work and aspirations materialize into the first-ever café in Brownsville, and we can't wait to see the dreams of other talented and passionate Brownsville residents come to fruition as a result of this new center."
Applications to become a Dream Big Entrepreneur can be found online at www.thedreambig.org as well as inside the café.
About the Dream Big Foundation
The Dream Big Foundation was founded by Robert LoCascio in 2001 with its first program, FeedingNYC, which aims to feed New York City's families in need for Thanksgiving. Since 2001, FeedingNYC has donated more than 40,000 Thanksgiving meals. In 2014, Dream Big launched its second program, the Dream Big Entrepreneurship Initiative, to provide funding, mentorship, and coaching to local entrepreneurs to empower them and drive economic growth in underserved communities. The first investment of the Dream Big Entrepreneurship Program will be the 3 Black Cats Café and Cakery, owned and operated by Brownsville entrepreneurs. A portion of each business's success is reinvested into the same local fund, fueling future neighborhood entrepreneurs -- a critical difference from existing programs, generating concrete, hyper-local economic impact. Learn more at www.thedreambig.org.
About LivePerson, Inc.
LivePerson, Inc. (NASDAQ: LPSN) is a leading provider of mobile and online messaging, enabling a meaningful connection between brands and consumers. LiveEngage, the Company's enterprise-class, cloud-based platform, empowers consumers to stop wasting time on hold with 1-800 numbers and instead message their favorite brands, just as they do with friends and family. More than 18,000 businesses, including Adobe, Citibank, EE, IBM, Orbitz, PNC, and The Home Depot, rely on the unparalleled intelligence, security, and scalability of LiveEngage to reduce costs, increase lifetime value, and create meaningful connection with consumers. For more information, please visit www.liveperson.com. To view other global press releases about LivePerson, please visit pr.liveperson.com.
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