Kerin John is the Founder and CEO of Black Owned Toronto, created to highlight Black owned businesses in the city. When she entered 2020, Kerin’s New Year’s resolution was to support more Black-owned businesses, but as the year progressed, she found it challenging to identify which businesses actually qualified. In May of 2020, Kerin decided to solve her own problem and created an Instagram account, @blackowned.to, which would function as an online directory for small businesses.
It took off like wildfire (it now has over 70 thousand followers), so Kerin eventually created a website, providing thousands of Black-Owned businesses in Canada with the exposure and support they deserve. If turning an Instagram account into a national directory wasn’t enough, in 2021, Kerin opened two brick and mortar Black Owned Toronto locations — the first store of its kind in Canada — in two of Toronto’s major shopping malls. There, you can find products from small business owners that are listed on the directory under one roof and shop the products in real time.