As protests continue across the country, many Americans are looking for ways to help support the Black Lives Matter movement any way they can.

While protesting and calling your local officials are valid approaches to fighting racial inequality, it's equally as important to put your money where your mouth is. Are you even aware of the black owned businesses in your area? Have you supported them recently? It's more important than ever to support black entrepreneurs, so to aid in your search, we've compiled a list of apps that make it easier than ever to discover local, black-owned businesses.

Black Nation

Black Nation9

Launched in 2018 by Rameish Budhoo, Black Nation is a thorough database that lists black-owned businesses free of charge. The app makes it easy to find a company that matches your needs as a consumer to create both local and national visibility for POC entrepreneurs. Log on and search for whatever you need, and it will link you to dozens of businesses in your area that meet your guidelines.

eatOkra

eatokra

Black-owned restaurants have been hit especially hard thanks to the current pandemic, but eatOkra aims to help. Founded in 2016 by Anthony Edwards and Janique Bradley, eatOkra is the go-to directory for black-owned restaurants. It features over 2,500 restaurants across the U.S. Just put in your location and search your desired cuisine, and the app will match you with dozens of results. You can even order delivery, and the app includes GPS directions in case you need to hop in a car. Personal recommendations for additions to eatOkra are also encouraged.

Official Black Wall Street

Official Black Wall Street

Official Black Wall Street offers over 5,000 black-owned businesses across 10 different countries, making it the most extensive directory app for businesses by people of color. Black business owners create a listing through the app, and consumers can leave reviews, and access photos and exclusive offers through Official Black Wall Street. Started in 2014, the app was developed to help consumers invest more in black-owned businesses, as it says on their website: "only 2% of [Black Americans] $1.1 trillion buying power is invested into black businesses."

Black-Owned Brooklyn

Black-Owned Brooklyn owners

Explicitly curated for Brooklyn, Black-Owned Brooklyn is exactly what it sounds like. It's a digital publication that offers great resources for New Yorkers wishing to support black businesses. The publication includes write-ups for featured companies in food and drink, home and design, style and beauty, health and wellness, and even history and culture. It also updates regularly with new additions, and seeks to focus on businesses not part of the gentrified suburb, but rather businesses that have been in place for years.

WhereU Came From

Using crowd-sourced listings and referrals, 2016's WhereU Came From is an app designed to help you discover local black-owned businesses. Both an app and a website, WhereU Came From offers in-depth search functionalities that project real-time leaderboards of companies across categories and are ranked by customers and peers who have used the services.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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