Since the inception of Black economic commerce website Ebonomy almost two years ago, co-founders and brothers Jeffrey and Clayton Allen knew there was a need to index Black-owned businesses.
“The Black community needs a strong economic base,” Clayton Allen, Ebonomy’s chief technology officer explained to Atlanta Black Star. “In order to engage in cooperative economics and education, we must be able to find black businesses and sources of information. Ebonomy is a way to organize the resources, including businesses and other types of websites from the Black community while also making these resources searchable.”
Ebonomy allows businesses to sign up and have their companies indexed, making it easy for those interested in supporting Black-owned businesses to reach them. Indexed websites run the gamut, from tech companies to hair care companies to news sites. Both brothers have a history in business, with Clayton being a partner in a North Carolina software development company and Jeffrey working in the construction business.
When the time came to launch Ebonomy, they both had one potential investor in mind—JHP Industrial Supply Co., Inc. “As young kids, we would hear the stories of how JHP gave chances to small business and members of the community who normally wouldn’t pass for normal loans at your standard banks,” Chief Executive Officer Jeffery Allen said. “Once we connected and shared the vision with Emanuel [B. Henderson III], he was immediately interested.” The Syracuse, NY based firm would invest $100,000 into Ebonomy, and future collaboration plans are upcoming.
Henderson, president of a Black-owned plumbing and industrial supply wholesale distributor, explained that his reason for supporting the business was twofold: the importance of Black economics and a feeling that African-Americans should step up and support Black-owned businesses with joint ventures.
“Businesses black or otherwise should want to reach back and pull other businesses forward because … someone did the same for JHP — pay it forward,” he said. Clayton is very optimistic both for Ebonomy’s success and for what it can mean for the black business world, with more than 2 million black-owned businesses in the U.S.
“Ebonomy has the potential to empower existing businesses and create opportunities for new entrepreneurs,” he said. “Providing more exposure to Black-owned businesses will increase revenue for them. More revenue for our businesses creates more jobs and a more sustainable future, not only for the Black community but for the world.”