KANAWHA COUNTY, WV (WOWK) – In celebration of Juneteenth and West Virginia Day, one woman from Morgantown has launched an online platform to support black-owned businesses all across the Mountain State.
This platform was not only developed to support black-owned businesses, but to help create more inclusive economic opportunities for black entrepreneurs.
Starting your own business never comes easy and lack of representation can make it harder.
“I had no idea there were so many black-owned businesses in West Virginia and I’m pretty sure a lot of West Virginians didn’t know that as well,” Latoya Jones said.
Jones, a business owner herself, is joining the national effort in supporting black-owned businesses by launching blackbizznow.com, an online lifestyle magazine including over 50 West Virginia black-owned businesses and growing.
“It expands beyond that, it expands well beyond that, and I’m so happy to see a plethora of businesses in West Virginia and I think that will probably encourage more black-owned businesses to come into West Virginia and help West Virginia’s economy,” Jones said.
One business featured on the website is Karubees Jamaican Restaurant, which manager, Bina Horton says exposes them to a wider audience.
“It’s not just for other black people in the community, but everyone in the community to support black small businesses and in doing so, it allows us to have more economic stability and freedom, so it levels the playing field and we’re not as marginalized,” Horton said.
The website features food, retail, beauty, tech, auto and beyond. It also highlights West Virginia’s rich culture while encouraging trailblazers to open up shop in the Mountain State with the right support and exposure.
“For people to be aware and for it to be a priority for everyone to support black businesses,” Horton said. “I want it to be not apart of a movement, but a part of practice, something you do on a normal basis.”