Going beyond the current status quo was the solution.
Vicky immediately saw the benefits for so many other businesses on the high street to get the word out to the local community and communicate with them on a responsive and immediate basis. The butcher with an overstock of meat or the baker with a freshly baked batch of bread – all those businesses had something to share and needed to get the word out at the right time to the right people. Supply and demand needed to meet in some middle ground.
Vicky had the answer literally in the palm of her hand because just like over 85% of people in the UK – she was holding a smart phone.
An app that would push out your current shop front advertising beyond traditional boundaries, into the palms of the hands of each smart phone user nearby was the way forward – whether sitting at home, in a coffee shop close by whilst on a lunch break or to those already on the high street looking to make the most efficient use of their time.
It was time to turn the idea into a reality.
Vicky’s vision to bring you an app that would fully support local high street businesses would require considerable funding and business support and in 2015 the hard work and dedication of turning her idea into a reality started. Where did this support eventually come from?
Securing a place on the Entrepreneurial Spark (eSpark) programme, powered by NatWest, gave Vicky an incredible insight into what it would take to adopt the mindset of a successful entrepreneur.
“NatWest’s eSpark programme provided a high paced, driven environment that allowed me to grow as an entrepreneur, developing the right mindset and a #GoDo attitude alongside a host of other like-minded individuals.”
– Vicky Mann
Simultaneously, she secured a place on the Welsh ICE Accelerator which is part of Business Wales’ Accelerated Growth Programme (AGP) and is now delivered by TownSquare. The AGP funded not only the NearMeNow office space at Welsh ICE Campus in Caerphilly but also funded business consultation sessions with experts that truly helped her shape the business.
“It was an intense programme with weekly workshops, each focusing on different business essentials ranging from HR to Scaling Internationally. It was a great honour for NearMeNow to be identified as a business with high growth potential whilst in its infancy and we have benefited greatly from the collaborative culture that exists amongst over 200 businesses in the ICE community.”
– Vicky Mann
Communication with Finance Wales, now called the Development Bank of Wales, started in March 2017 and an Investment of £150,000, alongside £60,000 match funding from the other investors was agreed in September 2017 and the green light to deliver you this app was given.
The team grew quickly and it’s been all hands on deck to get this rocket ship off the ground so be sure to pop over to the ‘Meet the Team’ page and get to know the faces behind the App.
Bringing the Tech alive – the cool bit!
The search for a Tech company to develop the app came to an end when Vicky and Martin, our Chief Technology Officer, made Thud Media, based at the Gloworks, Cardiff Bay, their partner of choice. With their sister company BAIT Studio providing the branding, we have a formidable team to work alongside.
The vision of truly bringing the High Street ‘alive’ with the NearMeNow app became a reality when CEMET – The Centre of Excellence in Mobile and Emerging Technologies based at the University of South Wales came on board. They will be putting the Augmented Reality into the app – which for the non-techies means that all the high street offers will be able to be viewed through the viewfinder on your smartphone and over-laid on the physical / real high street.
Where next? It’s up you.
Our pilot community is Cowbridge, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and we’ve made ourselves at home in this welcoming community getting to know what local businesses want from their Digital High Street App. The NearMeNow Business Development Team will be on the ground supporting the app’s launch every step of the way.
Our next local community is down to you and to bring NearMeNow to your high street then check out our Process Page and register your interest and the team will be in touch. We can’t wait to meet you on your high street really soon.