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6 Useful Black-Owned Apps You Should Download Today

You can find help for everything from food to travel to microloans.

As we continue to celebrate Black History Month across the US, it's a good time to showcase Black-owned tech platforms. Mobile apps are an essential part of our lives that help us manage day-to-day tasks, shop, find love or discover the latest events in any city. The founders of the companies below gleaned inspiration from their own experiences and wanted to create digital tools that support wellness, financial literacy, good times and more.

While you can tap Google or another search engine to find minority-owned businesses, we are highlighting six apps from Black creators that can be used now and beyond February. 

SoLo Funds is a peer-to-peer lending platform that allows members to loan or borrow money from $20 to $575. Founded by Travis Holoway and Rodney Williams, the app launched in 2018 and has since surpassed 900,000 users and $160 million in transactions.

Individuals can finance or repay loans at their discretion, and are verified before becoming members. Users must have active bank accounts to participate as borrowers or lenders, and the platform uses a scoring system to help determine a borrower's ability to pay back a loan. Download for iOS or Android.

Exhale/Screenshot by Kourtnee Jackson

Created by Katara McCarty, Exhale was designed as an emotional wellness app with Black, Indigenous and women of color in mind. Its content is meant to provide a calming, safe space for women coping with stress, grief, microaggressions and other negative feelings. 

The app features a beautiful layout with breathing exercises, meditations, guided visualizations and recorded talks to help boost your spirits. Click on a category to stream a meditation for compassion, learn a box breathing technique and more. Users can also receive push notifications for affirmations. Exhale can be downloaded on iOS and Android devices for free without ad interruptions.

Soko/Screenshot by Kourtnee Jackson

Need a farmers market locator? Scroll through Soko's listings of thousands of markets and individual vendors in cities across the US. The app allows you to search for farmers markets within a 20, 50 or 100-mile radius based on your current location, home address or city of your choice. You can also search for vendors by name. Users can shop ahead of time by placing preorders from vendors in their area, and set up digital payments, including SNAP benefits.

Soko was created by the same developer team behind Ujama, a social media network founded by Hugh Molotsi that connects locals through friendships, meetups and offers a marketplace. Soko is free to download on Android and iOS devices.

Foodies looking to discover Black-owned restaurants should download EatOkra, a directory that features a variety of cuisines including vegan, Caribbean and breakfast spots. Launched by Brooklynites Anthony and Janique Edwards, the app includes restaurants, food trucks and food brands in communities around the country.

Type in a city or use the app's location feature to find where to eat in your area. EatOkra also allows you to click on a food category to check out the listings or make recommendations to add local eateries and bars. You'll also see a restaurant's hours of operation and a marketplace to buy items like bottled sauces or cookies. Download on Android on iOS devices.

Launched by Evan Leaphart, the Kiddie Kredit app teaches children about credit and smart financial habits. The app is aimed at 4 to 12-year-olds and tracks chores, allowing kids to earn points for tasks they complete such as homework, mowing the lawn or cleaning their rooms. The point system uses a scale of 1-100 and functions like a FICO credit score. Parents can opt to reward their kids with money or another incentive. Families can download the app for free on iOS and Android devices.

Melanin on the Map is a travel app geared toward people of color that boasts a global community of more than 45,000 travel lovers. Founded by Ashley McDonough, it serves as an information hub where you can find deals, destination education (and inspiration), trip tips and travel opportunities for those seeking to earn some income. 

The app is also a social network where users can connect with travel agents or vacation buddies who want to explore new adventures. In 2021, Melanin on the Map introduced its Travel Bae and Travel Bestie feature, which is designed to match users with potential love interests or friends. At the time of this writing, the app is available for Android.

Correction, Feb. 24: A previous version of this article misstated how many users SoLo Funds has. It has 900,000 users.