Black Owned 905 poised for growth

By: Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
What started as a desire to promote black-owned businesses in the Niagara region is set to evolve if Natasha Bell gets her way.
“The goal for Black Owned 905 was always to highlight black excellence,” said Bell. “I wanted to create a platform that showcased Black success.
Black Owned 905 was able to accomplish that in an eight-month period. The Instagram account, which was created and founded by Bell last June, has garnered more than 5,300 followers and has registered close to 70 Black-owned businesses in Niagara.
Black Owned 905 is also a website-based marketing company that highlights and features local Black-owned business.
“After the protests and demonstrations started, society started to view our hardships only and not our successes.”
The protests and demonstrations to which Bell refers began appear in cities worldwide after the death of American Black man George Floyd in an incident involving police last May.
Floyd died May 25. Since dismissed from the Minneapolis, Minn., police force, Derek Chauvin faces second-degree murder charges. His trial is scheduled for March.
Bell said after the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, people from all backgrounds looked for ways to show support for the local Black community.
“We’ve highlighted and featured close 40 Black-owned businesses,” said Bell. “ I still have around 25 to30 in the queue. I am waiting for the pandemic to end before I begin featuring more business.
“I want to grow. I want to evolve.”
Bell’s goal is to expand from a promotional social media account to an organization that could provide guidance and assistance to aspiring entrepreneurs.
“I want to create a hub that is designed to support the Black community. I want to be able to provide business plan support, taxation support, and business registration support for our community.”
Part of the success of Black Owned 905 can be attributed to accolades of Bell herself.
In celebration of Black History Month, Bell was recognized by Children’s Breakfast Clubs, a southern Ontario-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing healthy meals and educational, cultural and recreational activities to children.