'Black Girl Ventures' focuses on supporting Black businesses year-round

CEO and founder of "Black Girl Ventures," Shelly Bell is helping entrepreneurs of color obtain resources they need to succeed. Yelp's trend expert Tara Lewis brings us a taste of local eats.
4:11 | 02/20/21

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Transcript for 'Black Girl Ventures' focuses on supporting Black businesses year-round
Back now on "Gma" we are celebrating black entrepreneurs this morning and learning about an amazing initiative that helps black and brown female business owners get the resources they need to succeed. Take a look. February, a month dedicated to the celebration of black history marked by massive marketing campaigns supporting the black icons, creators and thought leaders of our time. What it means for the average consumer to support a black owned business is buying black, however, it doesn't stop there. Reporter: Founder and CEO of black girl venture, Shelly bell is on a mission to help with tools they need to grow their business. She calls it "Shark tank" meets kickstarter. The biggest challenges were access to financial capital, access to influential networks and access to the ability to hire. Reporter: These challenges existed before the pandemic but even more so now. We look at the challenges that black owners will face now. We have seen that 60% of black owned businesses have had to close their doors. Reporter: Shelly says use this pivotal moment productively. You should sit in this discomfort, acknowledge the change that has happened and say where can we be more even innovate if. Joining us now is yelp trend expert Tara Lewis to break down how we can become better value-driven shoppers and support these businesses far beyond the month of February. Thank you so much for being with us this morning. Good morning. Thank you for having me. So yelp has already seen a surge in searches for black-owned businesses. How do local communities benefit when these businesses thrive? Yeah, well, you know, we've seen searches for black owned businesses surge 2,400% year over year on yelp. When you purchase from a local black-owned business you're putting money directly back into the community. Local businesses often also purchase from other local businesses. So when you're supporting one you're often supporting the growth of so many others as well. Communities are so vital when it comes to local businesses and support. One business that knows that so well is calabash tea and tonic in Washington, D.C. In 2019 they were actually identified as the most loved business in Washington, D.C. Based on yelp data and when things got really tough during the pandemic, it was the overwhelming support of their customers that really helped them to survive and they were just so pleased by that and were actually able to help other people that needed the support throughout that time because of that additional support from their customers. So, Tara, what are some ways that you recommend seeking out and supporting black-owned businesses? Well, there's just so many different types of black-owned businesses you can support and on yelp we made it much more easier to seek out and find black-owned businesses that you can support. One tip is to make sure you are thinking about businesses in all different types of categories. Think about landscapers, plumbers, dentists, photographers, all those types of businesses are really important and when you think beyond retail and food, it's very often you'll discover so many more local black owned businesses you may not have known before. Eating locally and opting for black-owned businesses is important. You've seen on yelp a 589% increase in black owned food spots over the last year. Tell us about this trend and we actually have some food here to celebrate while you educate. That's correct. That search is indicative of a shift in the landscape in general and since you are located in New York City, we wanted to make sure you had a taste of a wonderful local black-owned business in the city teranga. Its mission is to share African culture through food by telling the story of African -- the culinary impact of African food throughout the globe. So what you're eating is the salmon jollof bowl with roasted salmon, jollof rice, black-eyed pea salad, as well as a sweet roasted plantain. It's really good.

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