The creators of an e-commerce site dedicated specifically to African-American-focused businesses and products took home the grand prize of $10,000 at the 2014 National Black MBA Innovation Whiteboard Challenge.
PurchaseBlack.com gives consumers an online source of products and businesses that are geared toward African-American consumers or created by Black business owners.
The innovative new platform was enough to wow judges and allow the e-commerce site to soar above the other nine national semifinalists in a preliminary round.
After three finalists were selected, the business owners presented their company ideas and goals in front of a group of executives, directors and other well-established African-American professionals.
With an outstanding presentation and a groundbreaking concept, PurchaseBlack.com was deemed the winner.
“It’s hard to express my gratitude and joy at the support I received at the National Black MBA conference,” said Brian Williams, the founder and CEO of PurchaseBlack.com according to BlackNews.com. “It’s easy to get nervous before an audience like that, yet, I tried to channel it into enthusiasm for my business.”
The victory in this competition means more to Williams than just a monetary grand prize.
According to BlackNews.com, Williams hopes to use this success to boost the number of products and businesses that consumers have access to via PurchaseBlack.com.
“We have already gone from a few web stores to over 50 businesses and about 1,000 Black-owned or Black-focused products on PurchaseBlack.com today,” he said. “With the connections from the conference, we may be able to get thousands more products soon. We are going in the right direction, and we want to accelerate our growth.”
Due to Williams’ background, expanding the business won’t be too great of a challenge.
The innovative entrepreneur studied African-American business while earning his Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Texas.
Since then he has been on many panels to serve as a voice for African-Americans in the technology industry – an industry where Blacks are still severely underrepresented.
As PurchaseBlack.com continues to grow, Williams is hoping to use crowdsourcing to fund that growth.
He has already launched a GoFundMe Campaign for the company so that financial woes won’t serve as a problem for the e-commerce platform.
Fortunately, there have been pushes made all across the country for Blacks to focus their spending efforts on Black-owned businesses, which has helped garner a lot of support for a platform like PurchaseBlack.com.
“A lot of people believe in what we are trying to do, which is to become the home for African-American online shopping, and create a simple way to support Black-owned or Black-servicing businesses,” he said. “We hope that people will support our campaign to strengthen our cause and community. We are in this together.”