Why former journalist Ngozi Ahanotu launched a search engine aimed at the black community and funded it herself

Ahanotu’s database eventually grew as she continued to add businesses she had personally tried or businesses found in other black-owned markets. However, Ahanotu’s process was very tedious and she wanted to create a faster solution to minimize the number of steps needed to get someone to buy a product or service from the database.

Working alongside a black software development company, which she ironically found after filtering 30 pages on Google, Hiihat was launched in March 2021.

More than a year later, she told us the platform was fully functioning, with nearly 500,000 links embedded in the search engine. For Ahanotu, the extended search engine may come at a cost, as it is self-funded. However, the effort is worth it to ensure that black communities can have access to beautiful experiences every day.

“One of the main reasons I’m okay with going this far to do this and spend all this money, because it’s self-funded by me as a freelancer and, and writing, is that I’ve found that having something black-owned or a set of black-owned product lines in your life is really liberating,” Ahanotu said. “I want people, especially if they’re black, to live the same experience as me, because we don’t always have the chance to have those satisfying experiences on a regular basis. That’s what Hiihat could do because it’s a bridge to make all those areas of your life business driven black-owned while moving the dollar much faster.

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