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Business directory aims to connect community with Black-owned businesses

My Black Colorado has more than 1,200 listings, and it has also become a digital and print magazine.

COLORADO, USA — What started as a small Black business directory in Colorado Springs in 2018 has become a platform for Black Coloradans and a resource for everyone else.

My Black Colorado, a Black business directory, has more than 1,200 listings, and it has also become a digital and print magazine. The vision for the growing platform started with a couple in Colorado Springs.

For years, Jini and Brandon Bornes struggled to connect with their local Black community. The couple moved to Colorado six years ago, and were surprised, they said, at how hard it was to support Black businesses or make Black connections in their area.

Without walking into every store, they often didn’t know where to start.

“We were trying to find out what was up with the Black community,” said Brandon Bornes, a husband, father and the co-founder of My Black Colorado. “What are we doing? What are we involved with? Where are the Black businesses in the area? Where are the black entrepreneurs, creatives, nonprofits?”

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In a town with a 6% Black population, they said it was hard not to feel isolated, and they said they missed those connections and the shared experience of their community. Jini Bornes said she knew if they felt disconnected, other Black locals must too.

“When we were in the community and realized that we felt a little disconnected, it was like, let's do something about it,” the mother of four and My Black Colorado co-founder said.

So that’s what they did.

“We just started contacting people and creating a directory,” Brandon Bornes said.

There were a lot more Black businesses, artists, creatives, educators and entrepreneurs than either one of them realized.

“We were very surprised,” the couple said. “There's a rich Black history in Colorado, but we just don't know about it. ... And there are a lot of amazing influential leaders and people in the community, we just weren’t being introduced to them.”

That’s exactly what My Black Colorado is working to change. Today, the directory holds more than 1,200 ways to shop, order, eat, book and buy Black.

“Our motto for My Black Colorado is, ‘We shine brighter together,’” Brandon Bornes said.

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Together, their small endeavor has become a community magazine highlighting local Black talent in every industry, as well as a marketplace for hundreds of Black owners to do business. The My Black Colorado magazine is also a source for Black jobs.

“It took us a year to publish our first magazine,” Brandon Bornes said. “We thought it was going to be an annual edition, but we had so much content for the second year, we had to break it up into four magazines.”

They have since been able to hire a team of local Black writers and editors to continue enhancing and growing their vision.

“We just like that it's a community magazine, created by the community and supported by the community,” Brandon Bornes said. “We're just going to try to keep it going.”

Jini and Brandon Bornes said they would like to see all Coloradans open the magazine to learn more about what their community is so proud of.

“We need everyone's partnership in our community to help move things forward and help inspire each other, to help us grow,” they said.

My Black Colorado now puts out four editions a year in print and on digital that highlight the progress and passion of the state’s Black community.

For a subscription or to access the growing Black business directory, visit MyBlackColorado.com. All proceeds help support their effort and the community.

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