We responded to the Ecotourism & Sustainability Challenge for the Agritech Hackathon which asked - How can technology be used to benefit local agri-food businesses for sustainable practices and products, and encourage consumers and tourists to access those sustainable options?
Initially we thought that simply building a Lincoln digital guide for tourists and residents would be the way to go; however we recognized that the residents of not only Lincoln, but of other agri-tourism destinations in Canada and also from around the wider world would also need to access and play their role in the sustainability of eco-tourism and the natural environment. We were also mindful of the fact that many consumers today utilize their smartphone to stay in touch or search for information they want and mobile applications get deleted very quickly if they aren't used frequently enough as they take up valuable real estate space on devices that have limited storage. So it was at that point that we had our ah ha "light bulb" moment of inspiration for the Digital Community Guide and we decided it would be best to use technology to provide a virtual platform that allows anyone from anywhere to be able to find information or shop online with businesses listed on our platform around them whether they were at home in their own community or planning to travel to another community.
What it does
The Digital Community Guide - acts as not only a hyperlocal search engine, but also as an e-commerce portal that would be available for Android, iOS & Web versions which utilizes the the geo-location feature of mobile devices to connect users to a database of listings and maps of things available around them and around the world. One key innovation is that we are providing users with the ability to find or shop for individual products and display if available from multiple businesses - we would be helping to transform Agri-Businesses like farmers into e-commerce businesses so users from anywhere in the world can purchase their products or services as well..
How I built it
We purchased a site name from google domains and installed wordpress to build out the platform.
Challenges I ran into
We struggled with finding the right name that would resonate with users around the world - the initial names we brainstormed were already taken and in one case the domain owner was ask for $35K for the domain name. Time was also against us as we had our breakthrough mere hours before deadline so we are rushing to get an MVP out
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We were able to secure a good domain name and build out a quick MVP
What I learned
Choosing a name is HARD! and getting everyone to agree on an approach is even HARDER!... Also from using the resource links from the Hackathon we learnt alot about awesome sustainable tourism practices and experience around the world. We also learnt about how massive and impactful the Agri-Food industry is from Canada
What's next for The Digital Community App
We hope to continue developing the MVP and hopefully scale into a viable commercial enterprise