SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)—Recent movements are pushing for greater nationwide support of Black-owned businesses. With African Americans making up 13 percent of the U.S. population, only 7 percent of the country’s businesses are Black-owned.
Now, developers are creating apps to make it easier for customers to discover local Black-owned businesses, and for those business owners to gain more exposure.
Each app is free and helps users find directions, business information, images, and reviews of businesses in their area. They also allow you to bookmark your favorite shops and notify you when they have new offers and updates.
For Black company owners, these apps can help promote your listing and show up at the top of search results when users search for similar businesses.
EatOkra was founded in 2016 as a comprehensive, user-friendly Black-owned business directory app that makes Black food and beverage the focal point.
“Gathering and food play a key role in defining our sense of community, and EatOkra provides users with a tool that gives them an opportunity to locate these communities and support them in some way,” App founders Anthony and Janique said.
Since their initial release, they have connected over 150,000 users to more than 2,600 Black-owned restaurants, bakeries, cafes, food trucks, bars, and wineries across the country.
“Fueled by the energy surrounding so many on-going discussions on the preservation of Black lives and Black spaces, EatOkra started as just a conversation about our desires to give something of substance back to our community,” the founders said. “We chose food because food is customary. Nothing embodies this idea of community more than the act of feeding someone or coming together to eat or be fed.”
I Am Black Business
I Am Black Business has a national directory with over 1,000 businesses listed.
President and CEO Joseph Guster says the app is community-based and is dependent on everyone to contribute and continue adding to it.
“As young minority professionals working in corporate America, we find ourselves searching for opportunities to serve our communities, specifically the Black community,” Guster said.
“Typically, we are encouraged to start new businesses. While the development of new Black businesses is necessary for economic growth, we have concluded that it is equally as important to empower and uplift the Black businesses that already exist.”
“Ultimately, our goal is to educate Black business owners on the power of technology and give them a tool that will help them improve their business reach and profitability,” Guster added.
“In addition, our goal is to equip customers with a tool that will allow them to consciously decide where they spend their money and who they are supporting.”
Official Black Wall Street
Founded by Mandy Bowman, who has been at the forefront of the #BuyBlack movement, this app allows Black businesses around the world to gain exposure and resources.
Bowman says she created the app to empower the Black community through economics and ownership.
From beauty, shopping, photography, food, fitness, to attorneys, doctors, and realtors, Black Nation is a one-stop-shop for everyone looking to list their businesses or for those who want to support Black-Owned businesses.
Users can receive alerts when there are new updates and features. The app also has a social element that allows businesses to interact directly with their followers and customers.
They can create giveaways, post new products or services, give updates, or simply have a one on one conversation with customers.
The app now allows a more personal experience for everyone, and it allows interaction and dialogue.
“This app was built to empower, celebrate each other’s success, and to reinvest in ourselves and in our community,” the app’s founders say. “It is time to reclaim our Black People Magic and let’s have fun in the process.”