Code for America fellows show off small business app

Ariel Kennan and Andrew Hyder, the city’s Code for America fellows, finished their work yesterday, and unveiling a new small business app they developed.

Kansas City’s Code for America fellows are done after a year of service, and they’ll leave behind a new app intended to help small businesses.

The city council got a briefing on the new app yesterday as Ariel Kennan and Andrew Hyder finished up their year in the program.

Code for America is a nonprofit organization founded in 2009 to bring web-industry professionals to work with city governments to promote openness, participation, and efficiency in municipal governments.

The two worked jointly with Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, to develop an app called BizFriendly.

They told the council they were charged with finding a way to make the cities more entrepreneurial and better able to serve the growing community of entrepreneurs.

“When we found out we would spend our Fellowship year in Kansas City, we were excited to join the community of people building cutting edge technology on top of Google Fiber,” Kennan wrote on the Code for America blog. “Through our research we uncovered more immediate challenges Kansas City was facing related to this important piece of infrastructure; a digital divide in access and skills. We realized that they were uniquely positioned to engage in the digital access and skills conversation by working in the Mayors’ offices and we found an opportunity for rethinking economic development through digital education and we have worked throughout the year with the city and community to create a new civic resource for entrepreneurs to make sure that they are not digitally left behind.”

The Code for America fellows told the council BizFriendly is unique because it allows small businesses to share their expertise with other small businesses. Anyone can submit a lesson to the site, and others can use the lesson to learn new skills. Some of the training modules are in Spanish.

Currently, the site offers training on how to promote a business online, how to manage time and finances, and how to do business with the state and the city. It also offers lessons on promoting businesses online through social media such as Facebook and Foursquare.

“As you’re learning on KC Biz, you are actually joining a community of other small business owners,” Hyder said.

Mayor Sly James said he’s been excited to see the project develop, and thinks the two have built something useful.

“Its extremely intuitive and easy to use,” he said.


Visit the BizFriendly site


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