CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Groupon, the trusted local marketplace where consumers go to buy services and experiences that make life more interesting and deliver boundless value, is teaming up with rising social media star Shermann “Dilla” Thomas (@6figga_dilla on TikTok) to help consumers discover and patronize, Black-owned businesses in their hometown of Chicago and across the country during August’s National Black Business Month. The annual celebration of Black-owned businesses began in 2014 and this year’s event comes at a time when macroeconomic challenges such as inflation, workforce shortages and supply chain disruptions exacerbate the strain that minority-owned businesses were already facing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2020, Groupon saw a 400% increase in search traffic for the term “Black-owned” and wants to leverage this consumer interest into sustained growth for minority- and women-owned businesses. As a result of the company’s 2021 National Black Business Month campaign, these businesses saw a 23% increase in traffic impressions and an 8% increase in units sold.
Chicago’s Original Tech Company and “TikTok Historian” Team Up for Black Business
Groupon and Dilla – who is known as Chicago’s “TikTok Historian” for the tours he conducts of predominantly Black neighborhoods on Chicago’s South Side – are working together to promote and champion Black businesses throughout the United States on the Groupon marketplace and social media.
“At Groupon, we believe that strong, small businesses lead to vibrant, healthy communities. While we’re encouraged by the early results of our diverse merchant campaigns, we know there’s much more work to be done,” said Jennifer Beugelmans, Groupon’s Chief Communications Officer and executive sponsor of the company’s Blacks and Allies employee resource group. “This is why we’re throwing our support behind opportunities to uplift and showcase Black entrepreneurs. We share Dilla’s passion and commitment to telling the stories of underserved communities. That’s why we’re so excited to drive economic development by helping these small business owners reach new audiences.”
Mr. Thomas, who began Chicago Mahogany Tours in 2021, is devoted to telling the story of Chicago’s Black history and showcasing important community landmarks to this generation. His bi-weekly bus tour is available for purchase on Groupon and has taken guests to the DuSable Museum of African American History, the Wabash YMCA (the birthplace of Black History Month), childhood homes of iconic Black Chicagoans, Pilgrim Baptist Church (the birthplace of gospel music) and so much more.
“As a Black entrepreneur, I appreciate the platform that National Black Business Month provides me and others to tell our stories about why we decided to launch our own businesses. Behind every business, there is a human being who turned their dream into a reality. What we’ve seen over the past few years is that these businesses –– particularly those that are Black-owned –– don’t have the same access to the resources and support needed to make ends meet during these tough economic times,” said Shermann “Dilla” Thomas. “I’m excited to team up with Groupon to provide a bigger platform to them during the month of August and create a lasting boost of support!”
Groupon has a curated collection of Black-owned businesses across the United States and will feature these merchants across Groupon’s merchandising channels throughout the month of August. Groupon will keep the collection live throughout the year to give consumers the opportunity to make supporting these businesses part of their everyday routine. To find Black-owned businesses that you can support in your community, please visit gr.pn/celebrate.
In addition to the company’s collaboration with Mr. Thomas, Groupon is supporting Black-owned businesses in additional ways, including:
- Groupon is a proud sponsor of Chicago’s Bud Billiken Parade and Festival on August 13. Bud Billiken is historically the second-largest parade in the United States and serves as an annual celebration of Black culture and back to school on the city’s South Side. During this year’s parade, Groupon will be partnering with the Small Business Advocacy Council of Illinois (SBACIL) to present a Small Business Resource Pavilion during the festival portion of the Bud Billiken Parade. As part of this arrangement, Groupon will enable Black-owned businesses and chambers of commerce from South- and West-side neighborhoods to have a free presence at Bud Billiken to connect with attendees and provide resources to small businesses attending the event.
- Groupon will also honor Black Business Month globally for the first time this year by sponsoring London’s Notting Hill Carnival August 27-29. Notting Hill Carnival is the world’s 2nd largest carnival behind the Rio Carnival in Brazil. Groupon’s Blacks & Allies employee resource group will celebrate with a float and branded swag for the parade. The carnival is a celebration of all Black British culture and was organized to unify communities after race riots due to the tragic, racially motivated murder of Kelso Cochrane in 1959.
- Finally, Groupon is proud to continue the company’s ongoing relationship with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to provide a forum and voice to Black-owned businesses. Groupon and the DCEO are hosting a virtual panel discussion: “What Can I Do? An Event Offering Tools to Help You Engage, Support and Celebrate During Black Business Month and Beyond.” The discussion will take place on Aug. 17, 2022 from 10:00-11:30 a.m. CST and will bring together a national audience of business, government and community leaders. For more information about the Groupon and Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s virtual panel, please visit this link.
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About Groupon: Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) is a trusted local marketplace where consumers go to buy services and experiences that make life more interesting and deliver boundless value.