80 Philly businesses are now accepting ‘iBuyBlack’ discount card

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

Money generated in the black community doesn’t stay there very long, and some business owners in Philadelphia, a city with about 650,000 African-American residents, are trying to change that – with a unique twist on an old marketing idea: discount cards.

Late last year, I wrote about how Black Lives Matter, the activist group, had launched a website to help people easily find and patronize black-owned businesses.

Now, Michael Rashid, a former healthcare chief executive,  and several African-American community leaders and business owners in Philadelphia have come up with their own plan to increase the revenues of black-owned businesses which they hope will then keep more money in the community.

“Economists say the average dollar earned by blacks stays in our community for just six hours,” Rashid said in this Philly.com report. “Compare that to the white community, in which dollars circulate for 17 days. That’s wealth-building.”

This week, 80 businesses signed on to a new “iBuyBlack” discount card program. For those who pay $10 to sign up, participating businesses provide discounts of up to 15 percent on their products and services just by showing the card – which can be purchased at iBuyBlack.org.

The organizers’ goal is to enroll 500 businesses and 10,000 Philadelphians in the program by the end of the year. So far, about 1,500 people have signed on. Proceeds go to a local non-profit group promoting African-American history and culture.

Rashid argued in the Philly.com report that “if we spent nine percent of our collective dollars with black-owned businesses, we could employ every single man, woman, and child within the black community. Strong black businesses are good for the entire community, with the potential to lower crime and create jobs.”

The reaction from the city’s business community has been positive, with many agreeing that it is a solid way to improve the economic well-being of the city’s African-American community. Plus, it’s a good marketing idea. “It’s really good exposure for our business, and it’s the first time I’ve ever done something like this,” the owner of a pest-control business told Philly.com.


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