How to Support Black-Owned Businesses Nationwide

As peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and against police brutality flourish around the country, many people want to find additional ways to support people of color in their communities. Some protest, others donate, many share information and petitions, but people are also furthering community goals by supporting black-owned businesses in their area.

Black-owned companies are some of the ones hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic which has ravaged the U.S. for months, and they continue to struggle as partial reopening leaves nonessential businesses like restaurants operating at only partial capacity. Since the beginning of June, people have started looking for new ways to support black-owned initiatives in their communities.

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Lists of Black-Owned Businesses

Resources for black-owned businesses as well as compilations of local, black-owned restaurants tailored for cities all across the country are appearing all over social media. With these on hand, people can use their takeout and delivery services while sheltering in place against COVID-19. Some of these lists cover broad areas, including restaurants across an entire state, whereas others stay specific to certain cities or smaller communities, and these circulate more locally.

  • Los Angeles

This list of Los Angeles-based, black-owned restaurants has a plethora of information on each one so that people can easily find whatever will fill their cravings. The information provided includes which neighborhood the restaurant operates out of, their phone numbers and websites, social media, any gift cards and merchandise you can purchase, and of course the type of cuisine they serve there.

They cover all kinds of restaurants including barbecue, breakfast, vegan and vegetarian, Jamaican, seafood, soul food and more.

  • New York

New Yorkers have made a variety of lists, all catering to different communities. This list covers over 200 restaurants all over New York City, while this one specifies the ones in Queens. Black-Owned Brooklyn runs an Instagram that highlights people, places and products throughout Brooklyn; they also have a website where you can subscribe to get more updates on the community as a whole.

  • Atlanta

This guide compiled by Atlanta Beltline Hates You displays the neighborhoods, addresses, owners, Instagrams and websites of over one hundred black-owned restaurants in Atlanta, GA. They also include a list of other resources, a Google Maps sheet to direct community members straight to their restaurant of choice, and even have a submission form so Atlantans can help the creator expand the list.

  • D.C.

Black food writer and advocate Anela Malik curated black-owned restaurants in the DMV, also known as the Washington Metropolitan Area that includes D.C. as well as parts of Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. A stand-out aspect of this particular list is that it specifically focuses on restaurants open now during COVID-19. Malik frequently updates the information to guarantee its continued relevance and accuracy.

  • Denver

303 Magazine crafted a list of nearly 300 black-owned businesses in and around the Denver area. They don’t just name restaurants but also include companies across a variety of industries, as well as other resources that support the black community in Denver.

  • Louisville

This blog operated by members of the Yelp Louisville Elite Squad not only names but reviews the best black-owned restaurants and food businesses in Kentucky. People have to apply to join the group, ensuring that top quality reviewers recommend the best of the best.

  • Minnesota

Back where these protests started, Minnesotans are compiling black-owned restaurants and bars in the state. Along with this, they urge consumers to patronize these businesses all year long, not just during Black History Month or when there’s a large amount of civil unrest. Additionally, they’re asking readers to reach out and let them know about more businesses to supplement and bolster their list.

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All around the U.S., people are making catalogues like these. Check out more cities who have compiled black-owned businesses in their communities including Austin, TX; Chicago, IL; New Jersey; Portland, OR; Seattle, WA and more. People want to support black-owned businesses, which is why these lists and many more like them are being created and shared across all different social media sites.

Order from these businesses, promote them on your own platforms and share these lists with your friends and neighbors. Generating extra business for black-owned restaurants is an easy way to support local community members and try new, great food in your neighborhood.

Download Directories

As support for black-owned restaurants rises en masse, so does loyalty to initiatives that help people find and order from them. Unlike community-organized lists, these are often apps that assemble local black-owned businesses, update regularly, and let people find and order food directly from their mobile device.

A few different directory-style apps have launched over the years, all sharing the same goal of promoting small, black-owned businesses around the country.

  • EatOkra

This black-owned business directory app started because the founders wanted to give back to their community in a substantial way. As they put it, “Nothing embodies this idea of community more than the act of feeding someone or coming together to eat or be fed” which is why they’re constantly growing and maintaining their directory to help restaurants and community members flourish and get their needs met together.

  • The Black Wallet

At The Black Wallet, they seek to uplift black entrepreneurs by promoting all types of businesses, their owners and the greater black community. Their efforts don’t end with their app and online directory: They also detail all of their services and offer educational courses that teach young entrepreneurs the skills they need to succeed.

  • Black Nation

This business discovery app supports all kinds of black-owned businesses and entrepreneurs. Business owners can download the app and become featured for a chance to support and promote their company. Black Nation also has an Instagram where they promote businesses and important causes.

  • Support Black Owned

This blog directory compiled black-owned businesses from all over the world so that people in every country can help support black entrepreneurs in their communities. They accept donations, offer great deals and feature businesses on their website. They also have an app that anyone can download and easily find nearby restaurants. Help take the movement worldwide with Support Black Owned.

These are just a few of the many directory apps coming to help support black-owned businesses in local communities. Since June began and the push to support black-owned businesses has grown in fervor, these apps and others like them have seen spikes in downloads anywhere from 50% to over 4000%.

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On top of helping support black business owners, young entrepreneurs can also find resources to guide them to success.

  • Food Education Fund

They have job training, paid internships and other entrepreneurship and enrichment programs that help prepare black high schoolers for a career in the food service industry.

  • Black and Brown Founders

This initiative provides community, education and access to black and Latinx entrepreneurs. They supply them with resources that will help them succeed.

  • Black Female Founders

They foster entrepreneurship and invention by providing business owners with the resources and information necessary to succeed.

  • Okra Academy

A subset of The Okra Project, Okra Academy teaches kitchen basics and recipes to black trans people so they can enrich their personal lives in the kitchen. They also train to become better chefs so they can pursue a career in the food service industry, and the Project even provides homecooked meals to those in the black trans community who need it.

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While these resources and programs spread through social media, news outlets like Forbes and Glamour are also promoting black-owned businesses and endeavors like these all around the country. Especially considering the mass pandemic affecting the entire world, independent restaurants all need community support.

Support black business owners by donating to and ordering directly from local restaurants. Whether compiled by community members on a Google doc or assembled in an app, you can support these local businesses easily just by ordering dinner.

Today, Tomorrow and Every Day Beyond

Supporting black lives shouldn’t end when the protests do. Don’t only shop at these restaurants because Black Lives Matter is trending. Instead, use these resources to get into the habit of supporting black-owned businesses and continue doing so long after this particular movement goes dormant.

Combatting systemic racism is an everyday process. Doing something as simple as shifting, at least partially, from patronizing chain establishments to supporting independently owned businesses, specifically black-owned independent businesses, is a very easy adjustment in your day to day life. Support people of color in your community, particularly black business owners working hard to serve their neighbors in the midst of protests for their right to live and the COVID-19 pandemic on top of that. The fight doesn’t end here—but it’s a good place to start.

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