The Continuation Of A Black Business Boom
WeBuyBlack.com is the largest online marketplace for Black Owned businesses; businesses register to showcase and sell their products to an international market. We are raising funds to expand the WeBuyBlack platform to include service based businesses. **Update: We reached 35% of funding goal!**
Check out our previous crowdfunding success: Click here.
In 2014, while still a senior at Howard University, then 22-year-old Shareef Abdul-Malik had the desire to help Black entrepreneurs thrive and support the communities and families in which they live, through technology.
Inspired by the popular mantra, "do for self" — a phrase representing the idea that Black communities must work to uplift themselves through strategic and collaborative economics — Shareef began working on a website that would showcase the talents and goods of Black business owners from around the world, help the Black community circulate income amongst itself, and give the Black community a means to support itself and affect change.
WeBuyBlack's initial launch was on June 19, 2015, the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States.
In October 2015, WeBuyBlack.com launched a Kickstarter campaign aimed at raising $30,000 in 30 days to build a more efficient website. Over the 30 day timeline, the fundraising goal was reached and surpassed by over $4,000. In addition, the site was able to use the campaign to grow and galvanize its active social media following.
Today, the site boasts hundreds of Black-owned businesses selling a wide variety of over 10,000 products. Shareef and the WeBuyBlack team are gearing up for expansion and is calling on our community to support again. Let's do it!
Our Community, Our responsibility!
Our goal is to become a major pillar in helping to circulate the Black dollar within our community.
After 57 emails asking that the site include services based businesses, WeBuyBlack finally is answering the community's call for expansion.
Shareef and the WeBuyBlack team are campaigning to expand the WeBuyBlack platform to include service based businesses:
"Imagine WeBuyBlack.com expanded to include services. Here, our community will now easily find businesses in their local area, hire them based off of previous customer experiences, qualifications, and get rewarded for circulating their dollars within our community.
Service based businesses will have a large variety of resources from business tools, access to funding, social interaction with potential clients, abilities to add deals and coupons, and so much more. Our team has already began working on this feature but we will need our communities support, again, to bring this expansion to fruition."
When we first launched the campaign to generate funds for the creation of webuyblack.com, we raised just enough to produce the new site, fulfill promised rewards for the donations, handle legal documentation, and cover ongoing maintenance. This time, we are raising enough money to situate WeBuyBlack for total growth and expansion. Here's a short breakdown of how the funds will be utilized:
- The design and production of a website compatible for Black Owned service based businesses to find new customers and network with an ever growing community. ($15,000)
- To secure a contract for the maintenance and overall security of the website. ($11,000)
- To create a Mobile App for WeBuyBlack Products and Services ($13,500)
- To hire a professional Black Owned blogging company to keep our new blog live and exciting. We're creating more jobs! ($9,500)
- Hire a professional Black Owned company to handle our social media pages and fully engage with our community for deals, updates, and upcoming events in your cities. ($6,100)
- The continuation of legal filings, trademarks, copyrights, and other legal documentation ($3,500)
- For promotional items, Marketing & Advertisement, Search Engine Optimization, UI testing, Travel, Events, Appearances ($6,500)
- Business assistance fund: Along with guidance from experts, we will provide Black Owned businesses with a grant to help fund their operations and position businesses for ultimate growth. $3,000
Here a snapshot of what's to come:
The total to fund this project for the year will be $68,100, and anything above further helps situate our long term successes.
This is a small price compared to the giant that we are producing.
Our analysts predict that our new expansion will help facilitate the circulation of over $10 Million dollars in business sales (services and products combined). Compared to the 1.3 trillion dollars in Black spending power, this estimate is minuscule; but it serves as inspiration for our community to continue to PUSH. Larger corporations may spend this total amount in just days, so let's pull our resources together and fund the expansion for WeBuyBlack.com.
When we hit our goal...keep funding! It's important that everyone contribute and join the community of funders.
What will you get for your donation?
Last year we ran a campaign to raise $30,000 to fund the site, not only were we successful but we exceeded it! Our donors were promised "Pioneer" Tee-shirts as pictured above. Keeping our promise, all qualified donors for this campaign will receive a similar shirt, except that the "Pioneer Supporter" will be replaced for "WeBuyBlack.com".
There are many other special gifts we will deliver for our donors including WeBuyBlack bumper stickers, gifts from top selling businesses, advertisements, personal letters, interviews, etc. Additionally, every single person that donates will go on our wall of fame! This will be a page on our website commemorating all those that contributed, so be sure to get on the list!
But most importantly what you will get is the opportunity to support and again witness a great achievement and progression towards our community solving our issues. You will witness the production of this expansion.
An undeniable commitment from our team
According to Shareef, "WeBuyBlack.com has never really been about buying and selling, but instead it is about building trust between African Americans and our Black family abroad." Sharee's aim is to dispel a few myths: Blacks don't support each other. Blacks don't practice good business. Blacks don't have comparable high end lines and high quality goods.
"I believe Black businesses make some of the best products and have some of the best people behind these products, but we can do better at valuing ourselves and each other. Over the past year of monitoring 600+ Black owned businesses, I have come to learn, among many things, that Black owned businesses are equal if not better than many other businesses; its just often that our circumstances are abnormal and that rolls over into our business life."
Taking leadership, our team promises all vendors who join the site that we will do everything to see your business is met with customers and supportive tools to help further your company.
"The 1.3 trillion dollars of spending power is real. We spend a lot of money. But our job here at WeBuyBlack is to redirect our resources back into our community in the most creative ways possible. Only when our community is absent of homelessness, is absent of joblessness, absent of poverty, and crime will we then have the discussion of doing for others. Right now is the time we do for ourselves so that we may do for others and serve as a greater help to the world. " ~ Shareef Abdul-Maik
We WILL Hit Our Goal, All We Ask Is That You Are A Part Of This Success!
Risks and challenges
Every business will encounter obstacles and WeBuyBlack is no exception. After launching the updated site in March 2016, by June there were 246 problems gathered by hired testers, complaints from loyal customers and sellers, and our team. To date, this list has now been knocked down to 26 issues and every day our team is working intensively to ensure WeBuyBlack.com is the absolute best platform to help circulate our dollars within our community.
Our greatest challenge was getting our community to believe this work is possible. Now, we have unwavering support from all over the world. A young man, a college student in South Africa emailed our team writing, "I am very proud of the work you all are doing. This fight for economic independence is our collective struggle."
And he's right, its a collective struggle that will take a collective effort to see major results. This is why we ask for your donation, because with a larger budget not only will we be able to consistently solve issues as they arrive, but we will better serve as a model for excellent Black owned businesses. Your donation will help reawaken the spirit of Black Wall Street, you're helping thousands of Black Owned businesses connect to a growing market of supporters.
This is not an idea, this work is real and is happening. We are on track as we predicted, and plan to stay that way. So please, join us today and let's do this work together in ensuring our dollar circulates at a rate equal to or better than any other race of people.
We thank you very much for you generosity and vision.
***We will be able to request your info (mailing address, T-shirt size, etc) to fulfill your rewards with Kickstarter’s survey system AFTER the project is successfully funded.***Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (46 days)