When Black Lives Matter protests began springing up we saw it as an opportunity to learn. We wanted to understand racism, but even more so right here in Edinburgh.
What we discovered was scratching the surface. The everyday racism experienced by Century General Store’s co-owner, Nadia, proved eye-opening. Growing up with racism in Scotland had unacceptable effects on PekoeTea's Director, Esther. Seeing how Edinburgh’s streets were built on racism was as horrifying as it was illuminating.
But learning wasn't enough. Edinburgh Lockdown Economy champions small, independent businesses. We can use our platform to drive awareness and support local black business owners.
So the team set about finding black owned businesses to add to the site, if they weren’t already. But our initial searches didn’t bear much fruit. A black owned business directory for the UK had no businesses listed in Edinburgh. There was only one business mentioned in a post in Edinburgh’s subreddit, but 5 Glasgow businesses.
Realising how hard it was to find black owned businesses was dispiriting. Although, it was unsurprising. According to the 2011 census, just 1.4% of the city’s population is black.
So it was fantastic to discover Vanessa Kanbi's post. It was hardly a directory, but with 10 black owned businesses it was the longest list we’d seen.
From there, we kept up with the post’s comments, where people were sharing black owned businesses in the city. And because of their love for local we now have a more comprehensive, inclusive and representative list.
We hope a directory of black businesses can be more than a useful shopping resource. It's an opportunity for dialogue between business owners. It's a chance for entrepreneurs to connect with a community who love to support local. It's the possibility that more black entrepreneurs will set up shop in Edinburgh.
That’s why we ask that you share this list of black owned businesses so others can choose to shop with them too. And if you know of any businesses who are trading during lockdown that we’ve missed, please let us know.
Have we missed a business? Let us know.
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