AFRICANGLOBE – Around The Way, a New York-based company, and Clearly Innovative, a Washington, D.C.-based mobile-app development firm, have launched a mobile app that backers claim will empower and support black-owned businesses.
“Other ethnic groups have been supporting their own businesses literally for thousands of years,” said Eric Hamilton, chief marketing officer and co-founder of Around The Way. “Around The Way is our attempt at doing what other ethnic and racial groups have been doing for a long time.”
The app, currently available only for the Apple iPhone, helps users find the nearest Black-owned business. iPhone owners can download the app from the Apple app store.
“The app can locate 17,000 Black-owned businesses in all 50 states. Many of the businesses are located in New York City, and other major metropolitan areas,” Hamilton wrote in an e-mail.
The U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Black-Owned Business: 2007, which was released on Feb. 8, 2011, reported that there were more than 1.9 million Black-owned firms in 2007, which was a 60 percent increase from 2002. The companies reported $137 billion in revenues in 2007.
Washington, D.C., Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi and Louisiana reported the largest percentage of Black-owned firms in 2007, according to the survey. A Black-owned firm is defined as any firm with 51 percent African-American owners.
Around The Way is partnering with the New York African American Chamber of Commerce and other Black chambers with a goal of empowering Black-owned businesses by encouraging owners to download the Around The Way app; encouraging users to patronize businesses with their company information on the Around the Way app; and maintaining the integrity of the information on Black-owned businesses with the Around the Way app.
“This newly available mobile application allows users to find the closest Black-owned business in their vicinity with colorful maps and pinned locations,” company officials said. “Users can choose from nine-different categories of businesses to locate.
They include ATM/Bank, Auto, Bakery/Café, Beauty Parlor/Barber Shop, Club/ Lounge, Laundry/Dry Cleaners, Lodging, Restaurants and Shopping.
Around The Way is developing an app for phones with Google’s Android operating system, and that version of the app is scheduled to be available in early 2013. The company did not develop an app for the Blackberry mobile phone because it is “too difficult,” Hamilton said.
In 2012’s second quarter, Google and Apple iOS operating system controlled 82.9 percent of the Smartphone market. Besides Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s operating system control 82.9 percent of the global Smartphone market. BlackBerry’s Research in Motion controls less than 5 percent of the Smartphone market, according to research reports.
“Mobile applications are transforming the face of commerce,” Around The Way officials said in a statement. “Around The Way’s sole purpose is to empower black-owned businesses by altering the point of purchase of potential customers.”