Meet Rose Barboza of Black Owned Maine, Professional Development Participant, Activist, Entrepreneur and Mother

If you haven’t already heard about Rose Barboza and Black Owned Maine it’s your lucky day, and even if you have, you’re still in for a treat.

We’re writing about Saco resident Rose Barboza today both because of the inspirational work she’s doing in the realm of racial equity and inclusivity in Maine and beyond and because she recently participated in two professional development programs through the UMaine Hutchinson Center: grant writing and project management. Not only did Barboza put the time and effort in to develop several skill sets, she did so alongside building a notable and transformational organization and business. During a pandemic. And an uprising. While raising a child. If that’s not impressive, we don’t know what is.

Founded in 2020 by Rose Barboza, Black Owned Maine is an online directory that brings awareness to Black and Brown-owned businesses in Maine, as well as rebranding Maine as a warm, inviting home to Black entrepreneurs, land and homeowners, tourists and cultural influencers. Rose Barboza co-founded Black Owned Maine in response to the uprisings against police brutality in 2020, as a way for people to protest from inside their homes. 

Following the success of Black Owned Maine, Barboza launched a consulting firm earlier this year that focuses on inclusive marketing, consulting and strategy. With Black Owned Maine co-founder Genius Black, she hosts a podcast. With the Providentia Group, she developed and ran a pilot program called One Maine Group, “to cultivate BIPOC economic agency and power that has been dampened by historical inequities and systemic disparities.” (BIPOC is an acronym that stands for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.) She has a degree from the University of Southern Maine in marketing and international business. She’s a mom. She dabbles in photography. And impressively, Barboza says that she’s “looking to become more well-rounded.”

With so many varied and far-reaching entrepreneurial projects running concurrently, it’s no wonder Rose Barboza signed up for our project management program.

Are you a list maker? Barboza is. For some list makers, project management comes naturally. For others, it’s a set of skills that can be learned. Barboza, a natural manager, found that the boost of skills from the project management training she participated in is furthering her ability to effectively manage projects with multiple stakeholders involved.

For example, she’s in the process of working with Live and Work Maine and It is Time on a video focusing on three BIPOC people in Maine, their stories, why they came here, placemaking, etc., in partnership with Focus Maine. Barboza and her team made use of the templates offered in the project management training to keep everyone on the same page and keep the project on track.

Barboza came into the grant writing program with previous fundraising experience. Before participating in the grant writing program, she’d already raised $150,000 in grants. Since she completed the program, she’s raised another $120,000. She found the program most useful for understanding existing grant writing standards and how those standards are measured.

In addition to the skills gained through the professional development programs she participated in through the Hutchinson Center, Barboza says she appreciated the sense of community.

“Sure, everyone may be alone on their computers, but we’re all learning together and supporting each other,” she says.

Barboza has some advice for folks considering furthering their learning through professional development: “If you can try something, try something different. It doesn’t have to be along the lines of what your career path is. For example, you can use something like project management in so many different ways. Be open-minded. Take notes or whatever works for you to make what you learn stick.”

Inspired by Rose and Black Owned Maine? The best way to support Black Owned Maine is to use the directory. Whether you’re looking for someone to renovate a house, an electrician, someone to do inspections, an artist or writer, or a hair salon, Black Owned Maine is growing every day with more and more listings. If you’re someone who has the privilege to be able to donate, as a nonprofit, Black Owned Maine appreciates all donations. If you own a business and self-identify as BIPOC, let them know and they’ll include your listing in the directory.