Mandy Bowman, creator of the official Black Wallstreet app, talks to ESSENCE

Dante Diakos / @ dantediakos

The Tulsa race riots of 1921 will forever remain an unforgettable stain in American history.

The racially motivated attack saw Oklahoma city officials, the local police department, and angry white residents target the nation’s richest black community (at the time) with one of the most massacres. deadliest in the history of the United States. The riots resulted in the deaths of hundreds of African-American residents and the demolition of at least 30 blocks of black-owned businesses and thriving predominantly black neighborhoods.

Mandy Bowman was both enraged and inspired after learning more about this horrific moment in American history, so much so that she immediately began working to launch what is now the official Black Wallstreet app – a directory. growing number of black-owned businesses across the country.

“After reading about this, I really wanted to go out and support as many black-owned businesses as possible,” Mandy told ESSENCE. “Especially coming from Brooklyn, New York, where gentrification has really changed this neighborhood and even caused one of the black-owned businesses in my neighborhood to shut down, BedStuy.”

Sensing the overwhelming need to lend her support to the growing number of black-owned businesses that exist today, Mandy went in search of a list she could use to identify businesses in her area. To her surprise, she arrived empty-handed.

“I started looking for different black owned business directories and couldn’t really find one that was up-to-date and easy to use, so I started building my own list,” says -she. “From there I found so many amazing black owned businesses, many of which were just in my area, that I never knew existed and just wanted to share them with as many people as I did. possible. This is where I got the idea to create a platform where people could find black owned businesses and easily view them. “

It wasn’t long before the 27-year-old visionary began to implement her plan to develop the very kind of user-friendly black-owned business directory that she herself had sought.

“The idea for the website came first, but I really wanted to access the app,” she continued. “I wanted to make the search as easy as possible, to the point where we could literally let people know, ‘Okay, there’s a business next to you right now that you should get into. “”

While the need for the app is clear, Mandy admits that, like any startup, getting her idea off the ground hasn’t been without obstacles.

“I think the biggest challenge in general when it comes to being an entrepreneur is managing your expectations,” she says. “Things rarely go as planned and one thing I’ve learned from an advisor is that often what you start doing is completely different from what you end up doing. So there is a lot of trial and error just to figure out what works. Funding was another big challenge. I managed to raise $ 33,000 for the app via a kickstarter, but it was a lot more expensive than I originally expected. Loans weren’t really an option, so for me it was a big challenge to figure out where the rest of the money would come from.

Tackling one of the biggest challenges in making the transition from a full-time employee to an entrepreneur, Mandy offers important time management advice for those struggling to balance their day-to-day work, such as being a new owner. business.

“What I learned was that there were little pockets of time throughout my day that I was wasting,” Mandy says. “For example, on my commute to work, I started writing articles. Honestly, when I first started working on a concept, I stayed up as long as possible to get things done. During this time, it wasn’t like I was forcing myself to do it; it was in fact the opposite. I should be like, “Mandy, you have to go to sleep now. I was so passionate that I didn’t even want to fall asleep, I just wanted to keep working to make it happen.

The Black Wallstreet app has already started making waves on the internet since its launch in late October 2017. Mandy’s ultimate goal for her bubbling new business is to see her evolve into a massive resource for aspiring entrepreneurs that also bridges the gap. between consumers and the black-owned businesses that they are keen to support.

“For now, I would describe the app as a great resource for learning about black businesses,” she says. “It has also been a great resource in mobilizing millennials to buy black and I really want to see him grow in that vein. I’m excited to see it develop in general, to be something that people can use to find black-owned businesses or buy black-owned businesses, to a place where aspiring entrepreneurs can access a variety of things. resources if they want to start a business. I just predict that it will become the hub for everything black owned.

To download the official Black Wallstreet app and find out more about all it has to offer, you can visit their website HERE.

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