Will Diddy's New App For Black Businesses Advance The 'Buy Black' Movement?

Diddy revealed in a recent GQ Cover Story that he is working on an app to help users easily identify Black owned businesses. In the GQ story Diddy indicated that he’s even discussed the project with Jay Z — this is potentially a big deal. Diddy can use his capital to bring so much to the buy Black movement but we don’t necessarily have to wait for his new app. Fortunately, the culture has already given us several apps to help point us to Black owned businesses. We need to be aware of them, utilize them and help them grow now. Hopefully Diddy’s involvement — and resources — will help advance what the culture is already doing. Let’s explore a few app options. Spendefy was launched to help people find Black businesses locally and in addition to the usual suspects, can help you find everything from legal services to fashion and even nightlife. The site currently covers 9 cities — Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Oakland and Washington. The founders of Spendefy have spent hours and days on the ground in each city to procure Black businesses and their dedication is paying off — Spendefy has been featured on CNN, Bossip and Black Enterprise, to name a few. The Official Black Wall Street app has the unique feature of alerting users when they are near a Black owned business. Like Spendefy, this app allows users to search for businesses by category, find business information and directions. The app also allows business owners to communicate directly with customers. The Official Black Wall Street app is available for Apple and Android devices now. I highlighted just two services to help locate Black owned businesses but there are more. The Where You Came From app has been featured on ABC, Black Enterprise, Huff Post, CBS News and several other platforms. There’s also iZania and a few others, I’m sure. We need these resources in order to find our businesses and we should also be aware that they need us. I spoke with Eldredge Washington, one of the founder of Spendefy and he indicated that all of the apps and sites available haven’t reached their full potential. All of them, he said, need “marketing dollars and exposure” to take the next step. According to Washington, Spendefy has found it difficult to attract investment from funders because they are unapologetically Black — “minority” businesses  apps are far more desirable to investors. The problem Spendefy faces is common for Black businesses. To help combat the issue the brothers at Spendefy have launched Invesu, a community investment fund specifically for Black entrepreneurs. Currently less than 1 percent of venture capital funding goes to Black founders and Invesu seeks to change that. Do you remember Bank of America’s “keep the change” promotion which rounded your purchases to the next dollar amount and deposited the change into your savings? Invesu takes the change from the purchases you make everyday and deposits them in a fund for Black startups that we help choose. This is a way to leverage Black dollars to fund Black businesses — that’s cooperative economics. Plenty of websites and apps are currently available to find Black businesses. We need to use them, support them and yes, help fund them. Some of us can write a check but we can all use our spare change to help fund Black businesses and Invesu is an exciting way to do so. Many people have given up their lives, their relationships, their resources, all to help build a platform that supports businesses in the Black community. Whether it’s an app, website, or non-tech project, even with our website, WeBuyBlack.com, our team encountered many losses and we’ve been in operation for just 2 years. Anytime, you truly prepare to help others for the greater good, you’ll always encounter major issues. Now, those like Diddy and Jay that have more resources, what comes with that is more responsibility. I’m sure without these brothers, many of these organizations and business promoting economics within the Black community will continue strong. Yet, with these resources, they’ll all have an opportunity to reach more people, and change more lives. Last year, WeBuyBlack.com helped circulate a few million in the Black community, and that was from a small yet growing community of people wanting to see our collective $1.3 trillion of spending power circulated among ourselves. Imagine the impact if major Black business moguls and influencers were to come on board and support movements already in motion? The collective impact would be monumental.  ]]>

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