PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Khamil Scantling is out to nurture Pittsburgh’s black residents through economics.

“I came here in 2005 as a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh,” Scantling says. “I came from a predominantly black neighborhood, a thriving black neighborhood in East Orange, New Jersey.”

She says she was surprised to find very few black people near the Pitt campus and was told to stay away from communities, including the Hill District, Homewood and East Liberty.

“Once I actually set some roots here and I started to work here and live here, I found that those neighborhoods that I was told to stay away from were the most familiar for me and they felt most like home,” Scantling said.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Scantling has since founded Cocoapreneur Pgh to help black-owned businesses in this area thrive. The site has a directory of more than 330 black-owned businesses in and around Pittsburgh.

“I started on social media. I just started an Instagram account in the fall of 2015,” she says. “And as I started to share more business that I came across, people started to reach out to me to get more information about those businesses.

“I wasn’t shocked by the number of businesses that were here. I was really shocked by the lack of awareness of the businesses that were here.”

“Economics is one of those things that helps a community sustain themselves,” Scantling added. “So if people can help feed the economic nature of Pittsburgh’s black businesses, they can help Pittsburgh’s black communities”

Cocoapreneur also provides adverting, marketing and consulting services to black-owned businesses in the Pittsburgh area.