a online directory for Black Owned Businesses in Manitoba continues to expand after launching last spring.
Black Owned Manitoba launched in June 2020, during the Black Lives Matter era.
“(We thought) how can we create something that highlights and strengthens the (economic) growth of the black community in our province,” co-founder France Bahati told Global News.
“There was no such thing.”
Black-owned business directory to go online in Manitoba
The website now features over 100 businesses and professionals, including restaurants, clothing retailers, hair salons, makeup artists, consulting firms, gardening companies, doctors and dentists.
“You can go on Google and say I want to find a Chinese restaurant, but it was so hard to say I want to find a black-owned business,” said co-founder Odette Bahati. “Our directory is therefore able to help you do this and it is for everyone. “
She adds that the response has been overwhelming.
“For sure it’s a friendly Manitoba, because we see how people use the resources that are there,” she said.
“And we hope that this momentum and support isn’t just a trend and will continue – not just this year, not just next year, but into the future.”
Merri Tekle runs Ambience Hair Studio in downtown Winnipeg. She says the website has attracted new customers.
“I think for a lot of African American hair, there aren’t a lot of options of where to go to get your hair done. Over the past five years, there has been this trend that you don’t have to straighten your hair, you can just wear it naturally, ”Tekle said.
“We’ve had a lot of black people with natural hair, which is nice, tight, curly hair,” she added.
“It’s not the same as making straight hair. It takes a long time, it’s very fragile and we get a lot of customers (from the website). ”
Amina Ayoade runs Bubbalatte Cakes & Bakery. She says she hopes the platform will help inspire a younger generation.
“I feel like it’s really important for us to show off,” Ayoade said.
“Every person has the opportunity to have a voice, and it allows others to know, especially young children. Like, you can do it, it’s something you can do. You can be a little black kid and you can have big dreams of owning your own business. It is quite doable.
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Francine and Odette, who are sisters, are themselves business owners. They say the response has been so overwhelming that they are looking for volunteers to help Manitoba owned by black people, and they’re always looking to add more businesses to the directory.
“It has been a resource not only for black people, but also for our allies,” Francine said.
“If you are interested in supporting the community and supporting the community growth of black businesses and the black community in our province, you can access the Black Homeowner Directory. “
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