UT student creates Keep Austin Black app to support the black community

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Want to support a black-owned business? There’s an app for that.

Earl Potts Jr., a Lancaster, Texas native, started developing his Keep Austin Black app in October 2019. He’s a junior, double-majoring in black studies and computer science at the University of Texas at Austin.

Potts said when he left his hometown and came to Austin, he saw the need to highlight black owned and operated businesses since he grew up going to them, and couldn’t find many around town.

“It was sort of born out of need,” Potts said. “There were a few websites out there with some resources, but some were either incomplete or hard to navigate.”

When George Floyd protests started around the world, he wanted to contribute to the movement in his own way. His app came to mind. He had put the app on the back burner to focus on school work, he said, but as the protests got going, people posting on social media started asking how they could help.

He went back to work on the app.

His source: the Austin Black Chamber of Commerce website, along with suggestions online. The app features a variety of roughly 200 businesses spanned across 15 different categories.

He said that supporting a black-owned business is one thing, but trying to find a black doctor or lawyer is far more difficult. That’s why he wanted to diversify the app to help black people find more than just food and merchandise.

“It could be vital to your life at this point,” he said. “It’s important to get these resources out there.”

Currently, the app is only accessible in the Google Play store but is available in beta for iOS. Potts Jr. hopes to release it in full next week.

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