Black and Woman-Owned Search Engine
Ngozi Ahanotu created the search engine Hiihat in Spring 2021 to bring awareness to Black-owned products, services, and news. Ahanotu saw that many Black-owned businesses struggled to make their businesses searchable, so she made a solution.
Hiihat differs from other search engines because you don’t have to include “Black-owned” or “African American” in order to find what you’re looking for.
The search engine has around 500,000 links. Through word of mouth, Black-owned markets, and help from a Black software developer team, Hiihat has been gaining traffic.
Recently, Hiihat added the tab “Places” to find Black-owned brick and mortars near you.
According to Ahanotu, she’s had a love for search engines since a kid; she found herself spending hours searching on Yahoo and Google.
Mixed with her love of supporting Black-owned everything, Hiihat was meant to be.
“I’ve always wanted to live a Black-owned life,” said Ahanotu.
Keeping the Site Free
Ahanotu is committed to keeping the website free. She’s currently bootstrapping the business and focusing on the goal of Hiihat. She said she knows venture capital will come when the time is right.
Unlike other search engines, Hiihat gives the user the option to rate the links they come across. The votes are used to decide which links should pop up first when someone is searching for something.
“Our algorithm is built from the community,” said Ahanotu.
Ahanotu is a journalist who has an interest in SEO (search engine optimization). As a Nigerian American, Ahanotu was inspired by a Nigerian reporter who worked for CNN to go for a career in journalism.
She freelances during the day and works on Hiihat during the evening. She’s learned to take time for herself and her family by not working on the weekends.
“You have to be committed to closing your laptop,” she said.
Access to Advertisement
Hiihat is working on an affordable advertisement opportunity for businesses. Hiihat also plans to launch its first cohort that will help HBCU students in their professional careers.
On October 1, 2022, Hiihat plans to host a block party to bring money to Atlanta-area businesses. Community members will be encouraged to participate in a search party using Hiihat’s platform. The winning team will receive $1,000.
Hiihat is also working with business owners to help them find and solve their pain points.
Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.