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How to find and support Black-owned businesses, wherever you are

These 10 apps and directories help you find Black-owned businesses to support in your community.

How to find and support Black-owned businesses, wherever you are
[Photo: iStock]

There are a myriad of vital ways that you can get involved with the Black Lives Matter movement—even if you can’t join a protest. As Fast Company reported, you can read and watch anti-racist books and documentaries, donate to well-regarded nonprofits (here’s a list!), and vote (find your next local and state election date here). Another option that can help locally is to buy from Black-owned businesses. We’ve compiled a collection of apps, marketplaces, and directories to help you find businesses to support, no matter what you’re shopping for. It’s by no means a comprehensive list, but these directories are constantly being added to.

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WeBuyBlack
We Buy Black was started in 2015 with just $15,000. Today, it’s the largest e-marketplace for Black-owned businesses. Dubbing itself the “Black Amazon,” this online platform also distinguishes its brand values by stating on its Facebook page that while Amazon’s job “is to make us dependent, our job is to make us independent.” The site allows you to find everyday goods such as toothpaste, face masks, and cleaning supplies, but also runs the gamut with specialty items such as handmade furniture and jewelry. You can search for any product in the “What do you need to find” window at the top of the site’s homepage.

Official Black Wall Street
If you’re looking for an app with global reach, Official Black Wall Street lists more than 5,000 businesses in 10 different countries—making it one of the largest Black-owned-business directories. Business owners can create their own listings in the app, while users can find businesses in their area along with reviews, special offers, photos, and navigation. Oh, and even cooler? The app will send you alerts when you are near a Black-owned business so you can stop by in person.

EatOkra
Run by a small team of just three people—app developer Anthony Edwards Jr., his wife, Janique Edwards (who manages operations and marketing), and their friend Justin Johnson (who leads UI design), EatOkra is the first directory of Black-owned eateries. The app features over 2,500 restaurants across the country and allows you to search by cuisine and location. If you need delivery, EatOkra has options to connect you to GrubHub, DoorDash, or whatever delivery service a restaurant uses. If you’re stopping by in person, choose “navigate” and EatOkra will give you directions through your preferred navigation app or connect you to a ride-share service.

Post 21
Founded by a mother-daughter duo, Post 21 is a marketplace of lovely, feminine-focused products—and the site and curation are absolutely beautiful. Currently you can shop for everything from books and toys to rosé, jewelry, and (everyone’s favorite) luxury candles.

Chez Nous Guide
Chez Nous is an absolutely beautiful website that is “a volunteer-run inclusive and intersectional home for businesses, artists, and organizations owned and run by historically marginalized people around the world and our allies.” What makes it so cool is that you can find woman-, LGBTQIA+-, BIPOC-owned businesses and events in major cities around the world—from Berlin to Los Angeles. Users can search for restaurants, businesses, and even job opportunities by searching through several different filters: by category, by place, or simply by pushing the “go explore” button. And as of this week, Chez Nous has added more than 200 Black-owned businesses to the site, which can be found on their own page.

Black Nation
Black Nation is a free app that allows you to find Black-owned businesses wherever you are and allows companies to be listed for free. The app’s features include business reviews, category searches, and geotagging technology that allows you to find businesses near you. A feature that allows you to specify businesses within a certain radius is currently in development.

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Where U Came From
Founded by business psychologist and tech executive Dr. Dionne Mahaffey, Where U Came From operates in a different way than other directories on this list. This app and website publishes crowdsourced listings and referrals of Black-owned businesses and allows users to search for businesses by category or keyword. It also surfaces the best-rated companies from each category (from major franchises to financial services and healthcare), with rankings determined by peer-to-peer referrals.

Black-Owned Brooklyn
In 2018, husband and wife Tayo Giwa and Cynthia Gordy Giwa teamed up to start Black-Owned Brooklyn. It’s one part directory and two parts publication—so you get to read and learn the stories of the founders and businesses featured on the site, which range from an organic, vegan Ethiopian restaurant to massage therapy and nail salons.

Support Black-Owned
Founded in 2012, Support Black-Owned operates as both a website and an app, which allows you to search both a state and a global directory to find Black-owned businesses wherever you are. In addition to location searches, SBO allows users to search by category, or use a search bar for a sitewide search return. The app specifically allows users to leave reviews and rate businesses that they have shopped with.

I Am Black Business
I Am Black Business—run by Joseph Guster, Lee Lewis Jr., and Michael Twum—acts as a resource for consumers and for business owners themselves. “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,” the I Am Black Business site reads. “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.” One of the coolest features of I Am Black Business is an automatic aggregation of Black-owned businesses that are near you, compiled with geotagging. You can also browse businesses by category or organizations they are affiliated with.

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