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Kara Oliver-Pérez noticed her niece was struggling with identity and it brought her back to her own youth when she had similar feelings about being (what she terms) “a dark-skinned black girl.” She recognized the lack of children’s books featuring BIPOC characters in the marketplace so she self-published her first award-winning book. But she didn’t stop there  She founded Native Pens Collaborative Publishing with a mission to create works and programming centered around diverse storytelling, DEI programming/consulting, and access to culturally relevant literature.  

She was looking for ways to expand and scale her business when she met Juweria Dahir, EforAll Buffalo’s Executive Director, who told her about the Winter 2022 Business Accelerator. Kara decided to apply for it, hoping to learn more about business and get extra guidance and support during this journey. “I wanted to make sure I would get support with social media and site development to attract more customers,” she recalls. 

Her favorite part of the program was meeting her colleagues and mentors. “The love and support that I received were absolutely phenomenal and inspiring. We support each other’s businesses and always show love to one another,” said Kara. 

Since graduating from the program, Kara has hired an assistant to help her manage the increasing number of customers wanting to work with Native Pens Collaborative. “Before EforAll, I did not take my business seriously. I am now generating over $5,000/month in revenues because of the mentoring and advice I received!” 

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