Mandy Bowman decided to pursue entrepreneurship after studying Entrepreneurship and Global Business Management at Babson College in order to empower the black community. She had witnessed the difficulties that black businesses faced in her hometown of Brooklyn, New York.
These difficulties range from a lack of funding to being priced out as a result of gentrification. This prompted her to launch the Official Black Wall Street (OBWS) platform in 2015, followed by the app in 2017, to help black business owners in the United States find support.
She has been at the forefront of galvanizing support for black businesses through the #BuyBlack movement, which aims to expose black-owned businesses to potential buyers all over the world. The platform has evolved into a tool for promoting economic growth and equity in minority black communities, with the goal of leveling the playing field and opening up new opportunities for black business owners.
“We are thrilled to be able to support Black-owned businesses and help them grow,” Mandy said. “Our app makes it easy for people to find and support Black-owned businesses in their local community and beyond. It’s important that we support these businesses and help to build a more equitable future for all.”
Through OBWS, Bowman has recirculated about $10 million in sales and business services back into Black-owned businesses. What is more, she has helped steer $1.7 million into Black-owned businesses and she is just getting started.
“We just relaunched this year, and it’s been a work in progress for a long time so I’m happy for it to be out,” she told Black Wall Street Times. Bowman says she is now focused on expanding her services to ten other countries, including Canada, South Africa, France, the UK, and the Netherlands.
She was inspired by the legacy of the Greenwood District. She recalls reading a book called ‘Riot and Remembrance’ about the Tulsa Race Massacre. According to her, she was in her twenties at the time and was inspired by the book.
“I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was in middle school, so reading about their neighborhood of entrepreneurs who looked like me was a source of inspiration,” she noted.
She recently received a prestigious award that recognizes the accomplishments of women from underrepresented groups in America who assist others in achieving economic success. She was named the PayPal Maggie Lena Walker Award Winner, named after the first Black woman to establish and lead a bank.
She has received other awards and video features from global giants such as Google, Mastercard, and others, in addition to PayPal’s Maggie Lena Walker Award.
Bowman was invited to speak about ownership and long-term wealth in the Black community at TEDx Dover, the first TED event held at an HBCU, in 2017.
“I was terrified [about public speaking], there were a lot of doubts about whether I would be able to do it, but that opportunity led to many others so I’m glad I did it,” she explained. In 2019, she made her return to the TEDx stage at TED x Babson.