LIFESTYLE

Want To Support Black-Owned Business? Here's How.

Good black business is NOT a myth. And here are just some ways to find it.

20/11/2016 09:11 SAST | Updated 20/02/2017 10:43 SAST
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In a country where discussions around transformation and black ownership are taking centre stage, creating a diverse economy has become increasingly important.

Want to transform South Africa? Start with spending your money at small black-owned businesses.

Except that's easier said than done. Finding good black-owned businesses is easy - and not because quality services and goods from black people do not exist, as one author we won't name once implied.

Black-owned businesses are often small and without big marketing and advertising budgets. They don't typically have the bargaining power of larger companies or the ability to attract big investors.

But in a country where discussions around transformation and black ownership are taking centre stage, creating a diverse economy has become increasingly important. And to find black-owned companies, one has to be as innovative as the entrepreneurs behind them, who have taken to social media to showcase their services.

It has also become a great tool for consumers, allowing satisfied customers to recommend people immediately and disappointed people to warn others.

We rounded up a handful of Facebook groups and pages where you will probably find what you are looking for, all supplied by black people.

Black Business Support Network
This is a buy-and-sell group with just over 9 000 group members, offering everything from baked goods and apps to certification services. The page was started by friends Kathleen Nyachi Mavhunga and Rob Dikoloi Tsekpo.

Most of the posts do not offer much advice or feedback, so you won't immediately know the quality of their offerings. But the links to their own social media pages helps with research. It has members from around the world, including Zimbabwe, the USA, and South Africa.

While they are not that strict on whom they let into the group, it is a good starting point.

Black Business Directory SA
This site is used the conventional way - to market the Black Business Directory's website, which serves as a Yellow Pages for black business only. With only 507 likes at the moment, this page is the smallest of the pack, and is used to promote blogs, articles, and new additions to the website.

The team managing the site is made up of three black women: business analyst, Makgobe Molomo; consultant, Natsikayi Pswarayi; and project administrator, Angela Ndlovu.

Owners can register their businesses on the site, which sorts them by sector. You can search by keyword, category, and location, and it seems they will be offering a support tool for businesses.

BrownSense
"Hey Brownies" is how many of the posts in the secret Facebook group begin. With over 19 000 members, it is a closed community of black people supporting each other as entrepreneurs and committed to supporting black-owned businesses.

Founder Mzuzukile Soni began the group in January 2016 and it has since grown from an invite-only Facebook group to a market in Midrand and Cape Town, and recently launched its own website. Unlike the Black Business Directory South Africa site, BrownSense is not divided into categories, which may become cumbersome to navigate as more businesses are registered.

Soni started the group with the intention to fight the stereotype that black business is not good. The Facebook group is secret to provide a safe space for interaction but the website is open.

Black Business Empowerment Centre
Billy Motloung Radebe runs the Black Business Empowerment Centre group, which is described as a space for entrepreneurs to share their business information. With over 50 000 users, this group is also buy-and-sell format. While it is public to view and searchable to find goods and services, you have to be approved to join.