2020 and COVID-19 have brought on an unexpected wave of challenges for small businesses with shutdowns, social distancing rules, and other pandemic-related instances hitting companies hard.

As more businesses adopt new ways to reach consumers, a new e-commerce marketplace has surfaced to help provide a larger platform for companies across various industries.

Bluejestic — a Black-owned selling platform for small/mid-sized U.S., Caribbean, and Central American businesses — launched last month to give businesses the opportunity to showcase their retail products and expand their markets, Black News reports.

“What we are doing is leveraging technology to create economic growth for businesses in the U.S as well as the Caribbean who are in a more dire need for a centralized marketplace,” Jude Plaisir, founder of Bluejestic, stated in a press release. “This is very much a mission-driven effort.”

As we continue to feel the grueling effects of COVID-19, many businesses are still struggling to stay afloat, which is why it’s crucial that platforms like Bluejestic exist right now.

“COVID-19 has shown the disparity Caribbean businesses are under by not having the tools to effectively sell online. Bluejestic wants to level the playing field,” Plaisir said.

The idea for Bluejestic originated from his own personal experiences growing up in the Caribbean.

“As I was traveling throughout the region, I saw the need to have an open marketplace like Amazon,” he said. “This would specifically address some of the challenges people in the Caribbean face, as well as other minority-owned retailers in the U.S in the e-commerce world.”

While Bluejestic embodies the idea of creating a positive customer experience, it also stresses the importance of providing a “well-portrayed product with high-quality photos,” Plaisir said.

“Sellers can upload products, manage inventory and other aspects of their business very easily,” co-founder of Bluejestic, Mari Espinal, said. “This is a win-win situation because we’re promoting sellers’ products across a broad spectrum, not only in their town, but also nationally and internationally.”

The e-commerce platform currently offers six months free with zero commission fees for “businesses who see the benefits of joining our marketplace,” said Plaisir.

For more information about Bluejestic, visit bluejestic.com.