Businesses ranging from solicitors to sandwich makers are all now available on your smartphone thanks to Creative Quarter based App Institute, who have been busy building £10,000 worth of free apps for 17 Nottingham based companies.
Following their recent £150,000 Nottingham Technology Grant Fund (N’Tech) award win in February, App Institute decided to share their success by offering free apps to local businesses. They have been inundated with requests from law firms and cafes to film production companies and property developers.
The business was formed by Ian Naylor and Becky Halls and provides mobile apps for businesses and organisations – customers already include Yeomans and the NHS. The company has launched a platform aimed at smaller enterprises that allows the creation of smartphone apps can be used for functions such as mobile “m”-commerce, bookings, integration to social media, food and drink ordering.
One business set to benefit is the Hungry Pumpkin Café based on High Pavement in the Creative Quarter. Rocco Fanuele and Michele King of Castle Donnington have just celebrated their one year anniversary as the café’s owners. Since opening, they have invested £30,000 into the business, completely renovating the kitchen, and are now in the process of applying for a licence to serve alcohol.
Their new app, which is now available from the Apple App Store, allows customers to place food orders for collection and view their order history for quick re-ordering.
Michele King, Owner of Hungry Pumpkin commented: “The app is a big step forward for the business. We’ve always thought that it would be great to have one so that our customers can order with speed and ease. Ian Naylor is a regular customer and so when we heard about the opportunity, we jumped at the chance! It’s great that the apps are not only being built locally, but they’ll be used locally as well to promote what’s on offer from smaller, independent businesses.”
Harriet Beeby who runs HarrietBeeby.Com is also set to benefit. Based at Antenna on Beck Street in the Creative Quarter, Harriet, from Nottingham, sells an extensive range of bespoke home and outdoor signs and giftware online. Since she began trading two years ago, her products have featured in national titles such as Vogue, Tatler and Elle.
A new mobile commerce app, also now available from the Apple App Store, allows users to browse products by department, place orders and pay by credit or debit card and PayPal.
Harriet said: “Working as an e-tailer, it’s important to keep up with the latest market trends and, due to the rise of mobile commerce, it was a logical step for us to develop an app. However, this opportunity has spurred me on in an area which has the potential to expand and grow my business.”
Ian Naylor commented: “I am passionate about Nottingham and wanted to give something back to local busineses, and also show that apps are not just for large corporations. With over 50 million downloaded every day and 81% of smartphone users searching for apps for businesses they are using, smaller businesses have a lot to gain from having their own app.”
Councillor Nick McDonald, Portfolio Holder for Jobs and Growth at the City Council, said: “The number and quality of independent, growing businesses are one of the things that sets Nottingham’s economy apart, and it’s amazing to see how supporting a business such as App Institute can benefit a network of other small businesses. Mobile commerce is a fast growing sector and offering this technology on an easy-to-use platform is a massive advantage to independent retailers. We are delighted to see that App Institute is doing so well and also making such a difference to the Nottingham business landscape. This kind of collaboration, paired with funding from schemes like N’Tech, can be extremely powerful and we look forward to seeing App Institute go from strength to strength.”
N’Tech grants are geared towards the growing life science, digital content and clean technology sectors, the N’Tech fund is run by Nottingham City Council. The programme is focussed on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the greater Nottingham area.
N’Tech is a core element of the Nottingham Growth Plan a blueprint for the city’s future business growth and one of the most ambitious strategies of the UK’s Core Cities. Measures introduced as part of the plan have played a key role in encouraging new business formation through various finance and support packages.
N’Tech grants are funded solely through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF). Nottingham City Council secured RGF from the Government for grants to help fast track development of businesses based in the city. The funding can provide grants of £20,000 to £1million per successful company to support growth and expansion.
The N’Tech fund has so far had 43 successful applications across the digital content, life sciences and clean technology sectors and awarded grants to the value £4.9 million with 874 jobs created and safeguarded. N’Tech closes to applications on 30 September 2014.