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Others have already begun to. Walker persuaded Chase Manhattan Bank to invest $19 million in ShopNow.com and last year the site went public. The success of these black-owned firms offers at least half the formula for bridging the digital divide. Their increased presence on the Web offers young African Americans more reasons to log on and learn their way around cyberspace. Says Gerald Johnson, founder of the Small Business Exchange in San Francisco: "The digital divide is not as great as it's being made out to be, especially for businesses." Says Omar Wasow, executive director of BlackPlanet.com "There's enormous digital opportunity to serve a community that finds other Internet offerings wanting." Wasow's site, which is owned by a coalition of minority investors called Community Connect Inc., gets more than three times as much traffic as the Wall Street Journal online. If Dash and his fellow pioneers can stay afloat and continue to provide content tailored to the urban market, those kids in Paterson are that much more likely to get in on the hustle. Darien Dash is banking on it.