Around The Way App CEO Janine Hausif uses the new mobile app to find local Black owned businesses (Photo courtesy of Around the Way).
The Around The Way App: Matching Smartphone Technology with Black Business Outreach
Modern technology has increased access to information in the palm of the hand.
The rise of this access to a virtual experience has impacted the foot traffic at many local businesses, especially Black owned businesses.
Now, there is a mobile app specifically geared towards providing directions to Black owned businesses that will help increase this foot traffic to these “brick and mortar” establishments.
The Around The Way app was recently launched in New York to provide new geo-location mobile “find-it” services to locate Black owned businesses.
“The Around The Way app is the brainchild of CEO and Co-Founder Janine Hausif who saw an opportunity to promote Black businesses and incorporate current trends,” said Eric Hamilton, Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer. “It brings together the elements of modern technology with strategic marketing through the use of smart phones to take Black business promotion to the next level, which is much needed.”
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 41 million Blacks, representing just over 13 percent of the population with purchasing power that exceeds $803 billion.
However, there were only 1.9 million Black owned businesses as of 2007 with sales and receipts totaling less than $140 billion and comprising around seven percent of businesses nationwide.
“The Around The Way app, which is currently available in an iPhone version with the Google Android version to be launched in 2013, provides colorful maps and pinned locations to help users to find the closest Black owned business in their vicinity,” Hamilton said. “Our users have nine different business categories they can choose from including: ATM/Bank, Auto, Bakery/Cafe, Beauty/Barber, Club/Lounge, Laundry/Cleaners, Lodging, Restaurant and Shopping.
“We are building on these categories and focused on empowering Black owned businesses by altering the point of purchase of potential consumers. By providing this unique data set with current trendsetting encourages users to download Around The Way and use it to make their local purchasing choices.”
Hausif and Hamilton have fine-tuned the Around The Way app through a number of iterations that are now down in house and they have established relationships with chambers of commerce nationwide to build the business base.
“We have partnered with the New York African American Chamber of Commerce as well as other Black chambers nationwide. We are also in talks with the United States Black Chamber of Commerce because of our shared goal to increase and empower Black owned businesses.”
Hamilton, former Yahoo! Engagement Manager, emphasized that the vision for Around The Way is inclusive.
“We know that there is great opportunity in bringing this app to the Black community to help increase support of Black owned businesses and with mobile applications changing the face of commerce, we want to encourage users to patronize the businesses in Around The Way app, and future versions will include businesses owned by other diverse groups including women, Hispanics and veterans.”
Hamilton stated that future promotions will include outreach at HBCUs to encourage young people to support Black owned businesses.
“It is well documented that dollars are not re-circulated into our community as often as in others, so we will be promoting Around The Way on college campuses to educate our young people regarding the importance of supporting Black owned businesses and thus empowering their community.”
The businesses that are featured on Around The Way are from across the country and they will receive support that will help them to improve their own business model as well.
“We will be providing free online workshops for the businesses including Web development and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to help them to be smarter about their business.”
Headquartered in New York, Around The Way is a geo-location mobile application company. Downloads are available by searching for “Around The Way” in the Apple app store.