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MKE Black: New mobile app spotlights black-owned businesses

Posted at 10:03 PM, Feb 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 07:54:02-05

MILWAUKEE — A local non-profit has launched a new mobile app to spotlight black-owned businesses in Milwaukee. "MKE Black" features 250 businesses in the city all in one place.

It's the brainchild of Rick Banks and Paul Wellington, the co-founders of MKE Black.

"One way to support equity in the city is to spend your dollars in an equitable way. Unfortunately, a lot of black businesses don't have as much support as they need to survive. So we really wanted to help black businesses thrive," says Banks.

They say many other neighborhoods like downtown, the east side, and Wauwatosa often get recognition in travel magazines, but Banks says businesses on the north side and northwest side often don't get the same treatment.

"No neighborhood can really be successful if they don't have successful small businesses," said Banks. "So we want people in those communities to be able to know where those businesses are and support those businesses."

Jason Alston owns Heaven's Table BBQ inside Milwaukee's Crossroads Collective. He is one of the businesses featured in the app.

"There's people on the west side that don't know about us, people in Brookfield that don't know about us. So anybody that goes on the app and is curious about what else is out there they'll see those businesses on there," says Alston.

He says being included is a no-brainer. "You want your business out there, it's free marketing."

Banks says MKE Black is working with the Democratic National Convention to use the app and put a spotlight on black-owned businesses during the July convention.

The app is available here for Android operating systems, and will soon be available in the Apple App Store.

This story was also reported by our partners at the Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service.

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