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Google Chrome extension helps you buy from black businesses

A SOFTWARE engineer from San Francisco has come up with an innovative idea to help people buy from black-owned businesses.

At times, it can be difficult to find where certain products or services from black-owned business are available to consumers, but Angelica Coleman has found a unique solution to solve the problem for online shoppers.

Coleman, an account manager at CodeHS, created a Google Chrome extension that helps online customers find black-owned alternatives to the site they’re currently shopping on called BuyBlack.

After downloading the extension, shoppers will see a black fist in the upper righthand corner of their browser. Upon clicking on it, a list of related black-owned businesses populate in a dropdown list for the user.

Inspired by singer and businesswoman Solange Knowles and other celebs, Coleman told The Huffington Post that bringing more attention to these black-run companies is a priority for her.

GREAT IDEA: Angelica Coleman

“When people are asked to buy black, a lot of what we hear is that no one knows where to find these black-owned businesses,” the 26-year-old told the American newspaper.

“It’s similar to conversations around Silicon Valley about hiring black people and how ― out of 46 million black people in the US alone – they just can’t seem to find black entrepreneurs that are qualified. I didn’t want anyone to have that problem, so I made a list.”

Coleman, who has admitted to having a hard time finding products created by black people like make-up, said she created the extension during a hackathon hosted by the nonprofit organisation Reboot Safety. She, with the help of a small team, curated a list of active businesses that offered products and services ranging from makeup, clothing, home goods, art, vacation rentals, food and more. Currently, more than 300 businesses can be found on BuyBlack.

The Voice got in touch with BuyBlack to enquire if the extension works in the UK.

Coleman told The Voice: "It should work in the UK as well, though we haven't added much from there. Our plans are to add a location feature in the extension so people can see what's specifically around them."

ALTERNATIVES: The extension finds black-owned alternative companies

Coleman hopes BuyBlack leads more people to supporting, discovering and having easy access to companies run by black people to create a positive change and encourage economic growth.

“If the government isn’t going to pay reparations for hundreds of years of unpaid labour that built this nation, then black people need to start supporting each other, and hopefully this will empower other groups to support our ideas and businesses, as well,” she said.

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