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New Smartphone App Highlights Black-Owned Businesses In Milwaukee

By Parker Diakite

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There’s a new app that is helping users find black-owned businesses in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

It’s called MKE and it is dedicated to providing a one-stop-shop for locals and tourists. The information provided on the app is a list of black businesses to support for dining, shopping, culture, resources, and more.

Longtime friends and Milwaukee-natives Rick Banks and Paul Wellington launched the idea of the app.

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Banks, who serves as the political director for Black Leaders Organizing for Communities, and Wellington, a librarian and the author of Black Built, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that they started working on MKE back in 2019.

“Often when you see tourist sites for Milwaukee there’s the East Side, Bay View, Downtown,” co-founder Rick Banks said. “We sought to fill that gap of promoting not just those areas but also the rest of Milwaukee as well.”

There’s also a feature that allows users to see what’s close to their location, according to co-founder Paul Wellington.

The free app has more than 250 restaurants, shops, health and beauty services.

It also has calendars for local events and job fairs. The creators, who are both Milwaukee-natives, say their goal is all about bridging gaps.

You can download the “MKE Black” app on android devices and the co-founders said that can an iPhone version is coming soon.

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