After conducting surveys from our networks with consumers and small business owners, we've received over 40+ responses on how we could help financially support struggling small businesses. This research was crucial in shaping our solution in two key ways: 1) We learned that we needed to adjust our initial approach to financially supporting businesses through just donations. Some minority business owners expressed discomfort accepting free money, which showed us that we actually needed to provide consumers with a secondary way to support businesses in a way that felt more like an exchange of money for a service, not just a donation. This inspired us to add a customizable gift card option to our app. 2) Based on research with consumers, we learned that many desired transparency on where a business spends its money before they donate. This led us to add a step in the business onboarding process to input business funding goals. Consumers can then view these funding goals on a business profile and trust that their donations and gift card purchases are going to good hands.
What it does
For consumers: We've created an app that includes the functionality of donating, but also takes it up to a whole other level by engaging users with an easily customizable E-Gift card app that small businesses can use to drive sales. Users can also send customizable giftcards to their friends to increase awareness of a small business.
For business owners: We've created a quick, easy way for business owners to create online profiles for their business (regardless of comfort level with technology) and advertise their funding needs to the community.
How we built it
It's a native Android app built in Java. For the backend, we used nodejs, express, and php. We integrated Braintree to support multiple payment types. To customize your E-giftcard all you have to do is select the image you want from your phone to mask the textures to the card.
Challenges we ran into
Brainstorming an innovative solution instead of reinventing what dozens of other donation apps can do, while maintaining a reasonable project scope.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Forming the team, User Research of both small business owners and consumers, Ideation, Designing, and building the MVP all in the past week.