Looking for a black-owned business in your area? Well, thereâs an app for that now.
Thanks to the innovative trio behind New York-based company Around the Way and mobile-app development firm Clearly Innovative, located in Washington, DC, Apple iPhone users can download a free app that will locate black-owned establishments in a given area. Â With African Americans embracing mobile web usage more than any other demographic, Around the Way, which is comprised of CEO Janine Hausif, Eric Hamilton, the chiefÂ marketing officer, and Chief Technology Officer Sian Morson, is invested in placing these businesses on your radar.
According to Pew Research findings, 51% of African-American mobile users do most of their online browsing on their phone, double the amount for their white counterparts (24%). Not to mention, there was a 60% increase in black-owned firms from 2002 to 2007, bringing the total to 1.9 million establishments in â07, according to the US Census Bureau Survey of Black-Owned Business: 2007. That report was released in February of last year.
âWe want the app to be the âgo-toâ app to locate black-owned businesses; meanwhile, empower businessÂ owners to keep themÂ competitive in today’s economy,â said Hausif. âWeÂ hopeÂ to see successfulÂ adaptationÂ ofÂ the app by users and continued patronage to these businesses.â
Using an iPhoneâsÂ built-in GPS, the app pinpoints the closest black-owned businesses in a five-mile radius of the user. The application shows the location on a map, allowing users to get step-by-step directions, call the business directly or visit the companyâs website from the business profile. Users also have the option to share a businessâ information on Facebook, Twitter or via email. A customizable favorites list can be created so users donât have to search again for their preferred shops.
Around the Way is constantly building its database and collaborating with local agencies such as the New York African American Chamber of Commerce, MichiganÂ Black Chamber of CommerceÂ and National Black Chamber of Commerce. Users have the option to âview allâ of the 17,000 black-owned businesses in all 50 states, or search per one of the nine-different categories. Â They include: Auto, ATM/Bank, Bakery/Cafe, Beauty/Barber, Club/Lounge, Laundry/Cleaners, Lodging, Restaurant and Shopping.
Businesses looking to be included within the database should add themselves via the app or website.
The Around the Way team fully funded the app venture out of pocket. And although theyâre proud of the launch of their iPhone app, they are already working on the next steps. âBeyond this app, we plan to use the model and success of this Around the Way toÂ develop apps for other business communitiesâ very similar to how Facebook started exclusively on one campus and expanded to other schools,â said the chief executive.
Since the appâs Nov. 6 launch, the mobile startup has reached 1,000 downloads in the App Store. Â Around the Way also plans to unveil an Android version of its app at the top of next year, as well as a redesignÂ andÂ a few new features.