Richmond, Virginia entrepreneur Markeisha Harris-Minor has launched Blocal Search, an app the locates Black-owned businesses in cities across America. During the app's seven month run, Harris-Minor has advertised 4,000 businesses in more than 100 cities.
The Virginia entrepreneur said that she was motivated to create the app because she wanted to see the Black dollar recycled in local neighborhoods. Along the way, she has reached a number of consumers. Ajay Brewer, owner of Brewer’s Café in Richmond, said that Blocal Search has helped bring in dozens of customers this year.
“I’ve had several people tell me that they’ve found me through Blocal, so any sort of search engine that creates that sort of awareness for us is really priceless. It’s created revenue for Brewer’s Café for sure," Brewer said.
Bringing consumers to Black-owned businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic is no small feat. From February to April, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that the number of active Black-owned businesses declined by 41%. During that same period, the number of active businesses owned by white Americans declined by 17%. Harris-Minor not only wants to help Black-owned businesses survived the pandemic, but she also wants to help them build "generational wealth."
“Blocal at minimum is going to be a directory, but this is going to be a brand that I’m building to really make sure that we’re able to have a sustainable community that we’ve had in the past and be able to create the generational wealth that we all are looking for our families,” Harris-Minor said.
Moving forward, her goal is to encourage business owners to register their companies through the app, which is now available in the App Store and Google Play store.
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