New ways to support Black-owned businesses

As a Google Entrepreneur-in-Residence from 2014-16, I traveled the country to help grow the online presence of hundreds of Black-owned businesses. As a Black woman, entrepreneur and Googler, supporting Black owned businesses and founders is my passion.

In the past few months, we’ve seen an increase in online searches for black-owned businesses. It has been inspiring to see so many people looking for ways to invest in the black community. We are now announcing three new ways to help black entrepreneurs.

My grandmother served in World War II and told me as a child how proud she was to be in the military. I wanted to follow in his footsteps and serve my country, so in 2004 I joined the Air Force Reserve. My unit was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 and the experience took a toll on my nervous system. Eventually, I discovered yoga, which gave me the tools I needed to process and manage stressful feelings in a healthier way. When I retired from military service in 2012, I wanted to share the healing power of yoga with other military members and create a place where there is a strong sense of community.

When I opened Honest Soul Yoga, I quickly realized that a clear, accurate, and compelling list of online locations was essential to our business. It’s just that people show up at our door. So I turned to Google for help. Products like Google Ads and Google My Business connect me to people searching for yoga studios near me. Before using Google Tools, we had a phone in reception, but it rarely rang.We now answer several calls per hour! Every call is an opportunity to bring a new member to our door.

Being a veteran-run business is a big part of what Honest Soul Yoga is all about. We understand the challenges of frequently moving to new cities, being separated from family, or keeping family away from home for long periods of time. We appreciate these sacrifices and strive to provide a place where we can connect with the community and meet new people.Adding Veteran-Run to our company profile on Google makes it easier for potential customers to see that we are pro-military.

We’ve always had big plans for this small business and are grateful for our growth, which includes opening a second location last month and opening a third location ahead of the new year. More than half of our employees are military veterans and spouses, and we have been offering weekly yoga classes at Fort Belvoir for military families for more than three years. Our goal is to give back to the military community in any way we can.

I’m proud that Honest Soul Yoga has become the kind of community I was looking for when I left the military, a place where veterans and military families really belong.Many other veteran-run businesses have the power to connect people in this way. Finding professionally run businesses in the US just got easier with this map, created by Grow with Google.

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