Those numbers are up from previous years. Despite the growth in business numbers, however, gross profits for “all-minority-owned firms are still well below the average gross receipts for non-minority-owned firms,” according to the Atlanta Black Star. The Star also noted, “If higher-income Black consumers spent at least $1 out of every $10 with Black-owned businesses it would generate one million jobs for African-Americans.”
Atlanta-based, social entrepreneur Dr. Dionne Mahaffey, noted that “despite a collective buying power of $1.3 trillion, very little of that money stays in Black communities or is spent on Black-owned businesses.” Maggie Anderson, author of “Our Black Year: One Family’s Quest to Buy Black in America’s Racially Divided Economy” adds that “just 2 cents of every dollar an African-American spends in this country goes to Black-owned businesses.”
In “Talking Dollars and Making Sense”, author Brooke Stephens writes, “A dollar circulates in Asian communities for 30 days, in Jewish communities approximately 20 days, and in white communities 17 days. In contrast, a dollar circulates in the Black community only six hours.”
Dr. Mahaffey decided to do something about these numbers. He figured that part of the problem was that Black consumers simply did not know what their options were, so he wrote an app to solve that problem. The app is called WHEREU and according to Mahaffey, it “offers a local business search with a real-time leaderboard of Black-owned businesses across various categories, ranked by peer-to-peer referral counts.”
Mahaffey hopes to create the largest directory of Black-owned businesses in the nation and give Black consumers the ability to patronize establishments they may not have even known about. In his words, “from house cleaning, plumbing, catering, lawyers, doctors, graphic designers, restaurants, beauty salons and more, the app’s referral and location-based system helps you start your search among the most trusted Black professionals and businesses.”
One of the nice features of the app is the ability to rate and recommend. Just because a business is Black, white, Chinese, etc., does not make it good. The idea is to recycle money in the Black community, but not at the expense of quality or service. By being able to search the referral function and access the “Top 10” you are able to not only keep your dollars in the Black community, but reward those businesses who are doing a great job.