A Whitby-based Black online magazine plans to modernize its website with the help of a government grant.
ByBlacks.com magazine received $17,332 in funding from Heritage Canada recently.
The magazine is a space where Black readers can learn about Black Canadians, Black Canadian history and other topics concerning the Black community, says co-founder Roger Dundas, adding he is thrilled for the improvement this will bring to their online presence.
“’Automate and educate’ is what we are calling the project, to make our customer-facing processes better, more accessible and easier to do business with ByBlacks.com,” says Dundas.
Dundas says in 2012, he and his wife Camille, saw a gap in the Black media market online and decided to create ByBlacks.com. Camille is both co-founder and editor-in-chief of the magazine.
Initially people could not see the concept of having a platform portraying Black success and promoting community entrepreneurs, says Roger Dundas.
“We went to an agency and there was a Guyanese guy and he said it wasn’t going to work because Black people don’t support each other,” says Roger Dundas.
“Look at how we are now, ‘Wakanda forever’ it’s a movement. Sometimes you just have to keep the vision and just keep protagonists at bay.”
The grant will improve the magazine’s ability to create more content and increase its national and global reach, he says.
The magazine already has readers around the world, but with website improvements, the number of readers will increase, he adds.
The magazine employs more than 20 writers, two assistant editors, social media developers, IT specialists and a manager for events, the online directory and the magazine’s newsletter.
“By automating and streamlining the processes behind the scenes for writers, editors and the 3,200 Black-owned businesses across Canada, we will be able to put more energy and focus towards growth,” he says.
“This kind of financial support for our business is pivotal to our continued success.”
The goal of the ‘automate and educate’ plan is to make a better website for the magazine’s team, clients, providers and readers, he says.
“We’ve seen a lot of growth and that’s my word…growth. Being able to study what is it that makes a website rank higher? We have the best-optimized website,” says Roger Dundas.
Whitby MP Ryan Turnbull says ByBlacks.com is an example of a local business whose success and impact goes beyond economic development.
“ByBlacks has created meaningful and creative work opportunities for many Black Canadians. The value of the content and broad reach of this professional publication cannot be underestimated,” says Turnbull.
The Canadian government has made fighting anti-Black racism and supporting diversity and inclusion a priority, he adds.
“I’m really proud to profile Roger Dundas and ByBlacks.com as a business that makes Whitby a stronger community,” says Turnbull.
“For Blacks by Blacks,” adds Roger Dundas.