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ByBlack Platform Designed to Network Black Businesses



Black business owners often struggle to find one another and miss out on many opportunities to  work together. Other times business owners have trouble finding their target market.

A new platform, is designed to alleviate the obstacles, allowing business owners to join for free. Lead developer, Ron Busby, Jr. of Oakland says he and a few colleagues from Facebook and Google came together to find a solution.

“Our platform is powered by data and linked to Black Chambers of Commerce nationwide making businesses more visible to other businesses and consumers,” he said.

Busby, Jr. says another issue Black business owners face is a lack of city, state, and federal contracts due to complex requirements and certification processes.  “Another component of our platform will be a premium service that assists companies in this process and streamlines a pathway to be qualified to compete for these government contracts.”

Cathy Adams, the new president and CEO of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce (OAACC), is excited about Busby, Jr.’s project and encourages Black businesses to sign up on the platform. “There are too many missed opportunities that can be bridged by being on this platform together, she said.

In the coming months, Busby, Jr. and his team will continue to develop the platform’s marketing plan to get the word out while scaling additional features and resources useful to Black business owners. For more information, visit

Bay Area

Rush bowls

The perfect blend of all-natural fruits and veggies topped with delightfully crunchy, organic granola, a drizzle of honey, and your choice of fresh fruits and toppers.




Rush bowls are the perfect blend of all-natural fruits and veggies topped with delightfully crunchy, organic granola, a drizzle of honey, and your choice of fresh fruits and toppers. Packed with nutrients and fully customizable, Rush bowls offer healthy, delicious alternatives to standard fast-casual fare. Rush bowls is open Mondays-Fridays from 10am-6pm at 350 17th Street, Oakland,CA 94619. Available for indoor dining, and delivery through GRUBHUB

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Bay Area

A Deep East Oakland Based Grocery Coop is Opening

​“The community here deserves life and good health,” said Romo. “And so much of that is literally what we eat.”




The DEEP Grocery Coop worker owners (left to right) Daniel Harris-Lucas, Jameelah Lane, Yolanda Romo and Erin Higginbotham stand at Acta Non Verba’s Youth Urban Farm Project in deep East Oakland. Photo taken by Fox Nakai in October, 2020.

The four worker owners of a new grocery store in deep East Oakland want to bring more healthy food options to the area through a cooperative model. The DEEP Grocery Coop opened for online sales on April 7. By Fall, the worker owners plan to open a storefront.

“We’re coming together for the cause of changing food access in the deep East Oakland community,” said worker owner Daniel Harris-Lucas. “We’re trying to create social change and not necessarily getting into it for profit.”

   Deep East Oakland currently has limited options for healthy food. While a large chain grocery store, Foods Co., operates in the area, its organic and fresh foods sections are limited, and the store is still several miles from where many deep East Oakland residents live.

      Deep East Oaklanders largely find themselves eating what’s most accessible: highly processed foods sold in the many liquor stores in or near their neighborhoods. Worker owners of the DEEP Grocery Coop plan to stock lots of healthy foods including fresh, local and organic vegetables and fruits.

All four DEEP Grocery Coop worker owners live in deep East Oakland and are passionate about eating healthy, which can be challenging. Worker owner Yolanda Romo drives out to Berkeley Bowl to buy her groceries. She says she never sees her neighbors there, and is saddened that she has to shop at a business in a more affluent city instead of being able to get healthy foods near her neighborhood. 

“The community here deserves life and good health,” said Romo. “And so much of that is literally what we eat.”

The DEEP Grocery Coop’s worker owners acknowledge that price is an important part of making healthy food accessible, and they want their foods to be affordable for local residents.  

     They have plans to receive grant funding that will allow those with food stamps to buy California grown produce at a 50% discount. As a small cooperative, with no boss that expects a large profit, the worker owners can focus instead on sustaining the store and themselves while keeping prices as low as they can for the community.

    They also are making connections with small local Black and Brownled farms, like Raised Roots, who find it difficult to get their products into larger chain stores.

Education is key to The DEEP Grocery Coop’s project, as the knowledge of how to eat healthy is less accessible to the largely Black and Brown population of East Oakland, and is falsely associated as only being for white people. As an example, Romo points out quinoa, a wholegrain seed that is high in protein fiber and B vitamin.

“Quinoa is a supercheap Peruvian necessity and someone branded it,” Romo said. “That branding isn’t catered to communities of color but to white people who have more choices.”

To share knowledge, worker owners have done free cooking demonstrations and informative healthy food discussions. They share knowledge about healthy foods through instagram

Their instagram account also serves as a place to educate the public about the cooperative model, which worker owners say allows them more autonomy. As they begin to sell foods online and eventually open their in-person store, they hope to serve as a model for other deep East Oakland residents who want to create businesses that better serve their community. 

“I hope this inspires others in the community to be worker owners and to make decisions and run their businesses the way they want to do it,” said Romo. “The topdown model that we see everywhere and the huge corporate chains that surround East Oakland haven’t helped.”

Decision making in the DEEP Grocery Coop will be more localized, allowing it to cater to the deep East Oakland Community. Worker owner Jameelah Lane expects the store to be full of “things that resemble East Oakland” like vibrant colors, graffiti painting and good music. She wants the store to have “culturally recognizable foods” like bean pies and tamales. 

The DEEP Grocery Coop worker owners are not the only people who helped create the store. Mandela Grocery Cooperative, a non-profit youth urban farm project called Acta Non Verba, and an organization that helps launch Bay Area Blackled cooperatives called Repaired Nation, all acted as a steering committee to help train and guide the worker owners during the projects formation.

    But, as originally planned, all those organizations have given full control to the worker owners at this point. The workerowner staff are still relatively new to each other, with the full fourperson crew not coming together until last summer. They are excited about what they have been able accomplish in such a short time and about starting to bring more healthy foods to deep East Oakland.

“We want to inspire people to be change-makers instead of waiting for it,” said Harris-Lucas. “We’ve been able to really grow something just from the common love for our community.”

Anyone throughout the Bay Area who wants to support the coop can now order food on their website:, and arrange a curbside pickup. People can also donate to support the project through the store’s gofundme campaign.

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Wells Fargo Invests in 5 Additional Black-Owned Banks

Wells Fargo is also supporting each MDI’s development through a banking relationship in the form of a single touchpoint coverage model that will help them access Wells Fargo’s expertise and pursue strategic priorities like entering new markets, expanding locations, designing new products, and hiring staff to support loan growth.




Wells Fargo has invested in 11 Minority Depository Institutions in 2021 as part of a $50 million pledge and a commitment to foster economic growth in Black and African American communities

     On Tuesday, Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) announced equity investments in five African American Minority Depository Institutions, or MDIs, as part of its March 2020, pledge to invest up to $50 million in Black-owned banks. 

     As part of the equity capital investment, Wells Fargo is also offering access to a dedicated relationship team that can work with each MDI on financial, technological, and product development strategies to help each institution strengthen and grow.

    “The country’s MDIs are vital to minority communities, but over the last two decades, many have declined or have closed. The capital investment we are announcing is important, but it’s our relationship approach that will make the difference in their futures. We want to be a partner to these important institutions and, in turn, have a positive effect on local communities,” said William Daley, vice chairman of Public Affairs at Wells Fargo.

     Tuesday’s announcement includes investments in the following institutions:

  • Carver State Bank in Savannah, Ga.
  • Citizens Trust Bank in Atlanta, Ga.
  • First Independence Bank in Detroit, Mich.
  • Liberty Bank in New Orleans, La.
  • Unity National Bank in Houston, Texas

    These investments follow Wells Fargo’s Feb. 8, 2021, announcement regarding its investments in six African American MDIs and takes the Company’s total investment to 11 MDIs to date. 

    In addition, Wells Fargo will be making its nationwide ATM network available for customers of these 11 MDIs to use without incurring fees.

    “Guided by our founding principles to promote financial stability and equality for all communities, Citizens Trust Bank is proud to partner with Wells Fargo in expanding these efforts. The partnership enhances our ability to deploy more capital in our markets and beyond. We appreciate Wells Fargo for its commitment and alliance in providing solutions to the very important challenge of addressing inequalities that disproportionately impact communities of color,” said Cynthia N. Day, president and CEO of Citizens Trust Bank.

    Wells Fargo’s financial commitments are in the form of critical equity capital, which is foundational to the MDIs’ ability to expand lending and deposit-taking capacity in their communities. The investments, primarily non-voting positions, are designed to enable the banks to maintain their MDI status. 

    Wells Fargo is also supporting each MDI’s development through a banking relationship in the form of a single touchpoint coverage model that will help them access Wells Fargo’s expertise and pursue strategic priorities like entering new markets, expanding locations, designing new products, and hiring staff to support loan growth.

   Wells Fargo’s financial commitment announced Tuesday complements additional initiatives that aim to serve all of our customers and communities:

  • On March 30, 2021, Wells Fargo closed on a $5 million patient capital loan to Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE), a 501(c)(3) and a certified Community Development Financial Institution that is dedicated to strengthening communities, building assets, and improving lives in the Delta and other economically distressed areas of the Deep South. HOPE plans to use the funds as secondary capital for its credit union, providing financial services to underserved markets and people in the Deep South. Based in Jackson, Mississippi, HOPE serves Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee.
  • On March 25, 2021, Wells Fargo was one of several U.S. banks and payment technology companies named as investors in Greenwood, the digital banking platform for Black and Latino individuals and business owners, as part of Greenwood’s $40 million of Series A funding. Greenwood is partnering with FDIC-insured banks to give customers the ability to spend and save securely and will feature best-in-class online banking services, innovative ways to support minority-owned banks, and give-back programs focused on Black and Latino causes and businesses.

       In the 10 years spanning 2009 to 2018, Wells Fargo was the No. 1 financier of home loans to African Americans and originated more mortgages to help Black home buyers purchase homes than the four other largest bank lenders combined.



Edith Rocío Robles is the assistant vice president of Corporate Communications for Wells Fargo Community Banking, Bay Area Region.

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