Aug 9, 2022
Our mission is to connect black-owned businesses to the community to help expand their global reach and impact. We also focus on providing support, resources, curated events, and tools to black entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
Today we’d like to introduce you to Diamond Young.
Hi Diamond, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today? I’m the proud owner of BLK Directory, which is an online platform that helps to increase the visibility of small black-owned businesses across the globe.
From the age of seven, I’ve had a love for entrepreneurship. From raking leaves at seven, washing cars at nine, selling candy by 12, cleaning college students’ dorm rooms before their parents came to visit at 18, writing resumes and cover letters at 20, website designing at 21, and the list goes on.
I knew that I had a passion for small businesses. While attending my HBCU alma mater, North Carolina A&T State University, I was exposed to an overflow of amazing black minds and even deeper respect for black creators.
In July of 2019, immediately after graduating from my MBA program, I relocated to Oakland, California to start my new career in the tech industry.
After relocating to the Bay Area, I discovered that there was a disconnect after leaving the south. I no longer had access to my community. The simple necessities that were perhaps taken for granted were no longer visible. Looking for salons, skincare, restaurants, and social gatherings that looked like me were far and few between. This very moment became the birth of the BLK Directory. After much thought, planning, and research I decided to present the world with the option of change. The change of accessibility, reach, and impact of black businesses. I believe that entrepreneurship is in my DNA and that would make me the perfect person to solve this problem.
I desire for black businesses to be forever visible in the light that they deserve.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way? In 2017, I was laid off from my first job post undergrad. I had moved all the way to West Palm Beach, FL from North Carolina with little to no money, no family, or friends in the state. One thing that I was certain of was that I didn’t want to return back home.
For some reason, I viewed it as a failure. I would be returning home with no home to my name, no money, and no job security. I made the decision to return to my home state and it was the best decision that I made at this time. After returning, I enrolled in the MBA program at my alma mater. I originally never had plans to go to grad school but completing the program gave me the tools I needed to create a successful company.
Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about BLK Directory? BLK Directory App serves as a bridge and marketplace for black businesses and the community to connect. Our mission is to connect black-owned businesses to the community to help expand their global reach and impact. We also focus on providing support, resources, curated events, and tools to black entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
We also have a podcast show, The BLK Directory Podcast, where we’ve reached an audience that spans over 20 countries all over the world. We have the pleasure of sharing the stories of black business owners with a wide lens. We interview black entrepreneurs from all over the world to gain insight into their challenges, learnings in their industry, and overall experience as black entrepreneurs.
After the death of George Floyd, I saw a major shift in the community and a true desire for unity. People wanted to find any way they could to support and uplift one another, including on the business side. A major issue was the credibility of search engines. People didn’t know where to start when it came to identifying black businesses. I knew that I had a similar roadblock, but this time I wanted to provide a solution. That is what I’m most proud of.
How do you think about happiness? Creating community and bringing people together really makes me happy. I see a world where black business owners are more visible to the people who wish to support them. It’s important for more dollars to circulate within black businesses so that we can continue to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. All of these things are more possible when we build community and support one another.