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Yelp adds tool search for black-owned businesses

Gannett //June 10, 2020//

Yelp adds tool search for black-owned businesses

Gannett //June 10, 2020//

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By Dalvin Brown
USA Today

Yelp is making it easier for users to locate black-owned businesses amid renewed calls for racial equality in America.

The app known for crowd-sourced reviews is launching a tool within the next two weeks that lets businesses identify themselves as black-owned, Yelp announced in a blog post.

It’s unclear whether there will be a vetting process.

The platform has seen a sharp rise in the number of searches for black-owned businesses in the wake of protests surrounding the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman says.

“We’ve been inspired by the outpouring of requests for this feature from users who want to support Black businesses,” Stoppelman said in the blog post.

The company has put together a collection of black-owned businesses across the country for users to support.

Shopping at black-owned businesses is one of the ways allies can support the Black Lives Matter movement, which seeks to create a world where black people have the social, economic and political power to thrive, according to the movement’s official website.

Yelp said it will donate $500,000 to the Equal Justice Initiative and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and match donations from employees who contribute money to other black-serving causes.

There has been a surge of interest in black-owned businesses in June, according to Google search trend data. Some businesses are getting a much-needed boost because of it.

Still, more assistance is needed for small businesses reeling from the coronavirus pandemic that forced many shops, stores and restaurants to close as a precaution against COVID-19 spreading among workers and customers.

Though businesses across virtually every sector lost money during the shutdowns, minority business owners may have had a harder time getting access to Paycheck Protection Program loans given by the government to help.

A survey (.pdf) of 500 minority small-business owners conducted by the Global Strategy Group found that 12% of PPP loan applicants received the full assistance they requested after the government began administering a second round of funding. Two-thirds of black and Latino businesses didn’t receive any, the survey found.

A separate survey by the National Federation of Independent Business found that 61% of small businesses overall received PPP funding.

Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter @Dalvin_Brown.