CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Do you want to support black-owned business for Black History Month? There's an app for that.
EMichelle Paul officially launched her app about six months ago. It's called "Melanin Enterprise" and there are more than 500 black-owned businesses on the app in Charlotte. Paul says she came up with the idea after serving in the Marine Corp for 20 years.
"I served two combat deployments to Iraq and when I got out of the military, it was super important for me to continue to serve my country," EMichelle Paul said.
The app is free for both users and black-business owners.
Users simply type in the business category and scroll through the list. Stephanie Washington says the app helped her start her brand agency less than a year ago.
"It has already increased our traffic by at least 20 to 15 percent," Co-founder of SheCEO Branding Agency Stephanie Washington said.
But these business owners say the app is doing more than money can buy, it’s sending a message of empowerment.
"You didn't see a lot of us owning businesses," Founder of Entzminger Media Charise Entzminger said. "It wasn't normal, I would say, until my adult years."
Business owner Debbie Reid says this comes during an important time: Black History Month, which lasts through the end of February.
"I just think that if we take the opportunity to believe in each other and create that atmosphere for one another, then people will take us seriously" Co-founder of D'Mystique Essentials, Debbie Reid said.
The app is now available nationwide. Paul said this is bringing money to not just Charlotte's local economy, but local economies across the country.
"It is about conscious consumerism," Paul said. "It's about understanding the importance that my dollar has."
Melanin Enterprises also holds monthly events to help black-business owners network, connect, and have fun.
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