The story of Spendefy, a digital platform organised by two Black friends.
In the summer of 2015, friends Eldredge E. Washington and Antwon Davis realized they didn’t have to look too hard to find a major problem in the world of online searching. “Google is the No. 1 search engine, [but] it doesn’t help you find Black-owned businesses,” says Washington to Ebony. The Georgia-based gents knew they weren’t the only folks feeling frustrated. Many of their peers and loved ones were also eager to patronize Black entrepreneurs but simply couldn’t locate them. So the 20-somethings created a service to fill that void.
Last January, the industrious pair debuted Spendefy, a digital platform that connects consumers to #buyBlack opportunities, not to mention linking melanated entrepreneurs to a core audience. The idea is a twist on a short-lived general online business directory Washington’s dad, Eldredge P. Washington, launched in 2009. The guys elected to show their appreciation to the senior Washington and mind behind Preferred Customer Incorporated by making him an honorary co-founder of the new organization. “Many Black-owned businesses fail, and the top reasons are the lack of capital and exposure,” says Davis. “[The owners] don’t have the time or money to properly market.”
Spendefy removes that roadblock. Here’s how the founders did it:
After attending an event in June 2015, Washington and Davis had a seven-hour conversation in the parking lot of Atlanta’s King Center. The lengthy discussion laid the groundwork for Spendefy.
According to the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth, money circulates a dismal zero times to one time in the Black community. By comparison. Asian-Americans reinvest their dollars nine times and Latinos reinvest their money more than six times in their communities.
This Is the Remix
The Nkonsonkonson, which is the Adin-kra symbol for unity, is the inspiration behind Spendefy’s logo. It represents a hand giving, a hand receiving and the circulation of dollars between the consumers and businesses.
Number of people Washington and Davis surveyed to gain insights on the state of Black-owned businesses and consumer expectations before launching their brand. They found that customers valued providing feedback on quality of service, making suggestions for improvements and offering references to other businesses they patronized. These elements were integrated into their company’s services.
Spendefy’s primary goal is to build solidarity between Black consumers and entrepreneurs. This is done by creating exposure for businesses and increasing service standards, via feedback, for consumers.
An approximate number of Black-owned businesses that have completed Spendefy’s vetting process and are available on the platform. More than 700 companies are now in queue to be added to the database.
Spendefy has 100 ambassadors who work as recruiters and scout communities for Black businesses to include in the directory. Its website features a call to action that encourages business owners and potential brand ambassadors or advocates to register with the company.
Free ninety-nine is the competitive price that businesses pay to post their companies on Spendefy’s directory. There is a charge, however —from $15/month to $150/year — for back-end services such as listing management and promotional services on the platform.