In a time when other minority populations running the markets within and surrounding Black communities have become less acceptable among its dwellers, two things are apparent: 1.) There seems to be an influx of “Our Own” Businesses arising and 2)…
In a time when other minority populations running the markets within and surrounding Black communities have become less acceptable among its dwellers, two things are apparent: 1.) There seems to be an influx of “Our Own” Businesses arising and 2) it has become increasingly imperative to strengthen awareness of them. The overwhelming call to do so has evoked social media campaigns saturated with #BuyBlackOwned and #SupportBlackOwnedBusiness hashtags. The use of emerging technologies to drive these efforts have been taken a step further with the development of the WhereUApp.
The WhereUApp, created by Atlanta-based social entrepreneur Dr. Dionne Mahaffey, merges technology with the need to handle poverty, crime and other social ills in the African American community by focusing on economic development and job creation. According to the company’s website, Where U Came From, “African Americans Have $1.3 Trillion in Buying Power. Despite our collective buying power, little of our money stays in Black communities or is spent on Black-owned businesses… “African American buying power is at 1.3 Trillion (yet) only 2 cents of every dollar an African-American spends in this country goes to black owned businesses”.
In a recent interview, Rolling Out sat down with Dr. Mahaffey to talk about her vision, Black dollars and what it means to support your community (Starling Thomas). An excerpt is included below:
What inspired you and your company to create this app?
“I’m a serial entrepreneur and I wear many hats as a serial entrepreneur and one of those hats being that I am a techie. I’ve worked in the technology industry for the lions share of my career and even through my entrepreneurial career technology has always been a part of the foundation of anything that I do. Being someone that can write code, that understands how to write technical requirements for an app, it just came to me in my sleep. I was using an app and in my opinion it had something other than what I was looking for in addition to businesses listed. This wasn’t a Black app but it can be said for most apps in this space: there were these pop ups for these events and I’m not interested in events if I am looking for a caterer so I wanted to do something more stream line that basically gets to the heart of the matter… This is about leveraging those traditions in our community to ensure that we sustain our businesses and ensure that they have long-term sustainability by supporting them and telling other people when you have had a good experience with them.”
How does a business get on this app?
“There are 2.6 million Black-owned businesses in the United States and we have just begun to scratch the surface. They can go to our site and business profiles can be submitted from the web-site whereucamefrom.biz or within the actual WhereU Came From app. The app can also help majority; non-Black corporations meet their diversity objectives by finding minority businesses to support. Once the business are added it’s a real time process. If I add you right now as soon as I click save it’s going to show up in the app. We are working on some new features for in the future where companies can just go on and add themselves and manage their profile.”
The full interview can be found here: Rolling Out Interview. Download the “WhereU” app in the Apple Store or Google Play.