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Semi-finalist Q&A: iCareNOW
by Elena Fri, 09/17/2010 - 11:44
iCareNOW Coupons empowers you to make a difference for yourself and others. Choose from great offers provided by good businesses in your own neighborhood. Get their coupons, see their commercials and get to know the local charities they support and so much more. The iPhone app "iCareNOW Coupons" is about to be released as a commercial version.
Information from their grant application is available here. Read below for more, and if you have questions for our semi-finalists don't hesitate to ask them in the comments section.
Also, don't forget to cast your vote! YOUR vote will determine which entrepreneurs most deserve to be amongst the finalists.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I have a professional background in business and technology strategy but went into the non-profit sector a few years ago to make a ‘hands-on’ difference.
In heading the fundraising and marketing for a large non-profit, I realized that there was room for innovation in returning value to corporate donors through cause-marketing, but non-profits themselves were limited in the amount of non-service related revenues (i.e., ‘profits’) they could legally generate and hence, there was little appetite for investment in the possibilities.
So I stepped out on my own, evaluating trends in the business sector and began focusing on potential solutions that addressed businesses’ needs for local advertising that was underpinned by on-demand, consumer convenience and consumption. The other side of the balance was growing a non-specific, cause-conscious brand that was powered by a community of consumers.
www.iCareNOW.tv was launched with ties into various existing social media venues and shortly afterwards, “iCareNOW COUPONS” mobile app was designed for release by Apple.
By allowing businesses to deliver their coupons (packaged with their existing digital media i.e., videos, images, sales copy, etc and with built in consumer interactivity i.e., direct dial, email, get directions, and rate/review/comment ) very cheaply in a mobile platform and simplifying consumers’ access to the same through geo-location “on-demand”, the technical basis of the economic engine of the model was done.
The exciting part (for me anyway), was that non-profits could now be ‘associated’ with individual coupons; in essence, each ‘mobile-digital’ coupon became a cause-marketing vehicle at zero-cost to the non-profit!
The consumer, business and non-profit all win in this model as each of the three has the choice to become an advocate of the other two, based on how well the other meets their need(s). Everyone can ‘do more…doing the everyday!”
What do you love most about running your own business?
I love the potential of this business to truly become the best cause-marketing solution to make a difference for consumers, businesses and non-profits.
And potential also implies the continuous challenge of innovation and earning trust through integrity and performance, something that personally appeals to me very much.
What makes your business unique?
I believe we may be the first to implement the mobile-digital-cause-marketing solution.
What are some of your top business-related accomplishments, or business lessons learned?
Building the business and technology model with no prior blue-print was a demanding in many ways especially with no room for trial-and-error approach.
There was also understandably, little support early on for the concept as the challenge seemed beyond my personal capacity and resources.
It’s tough to start from scratch, but tougher still to ‘scratch’ entirely on your own J
It’s very satisfying to now be able to showcase tangible results that have not only met the challenges but promise much more in the days to come.
Why should the Idea Cafe regulars vote for you?
Every vote for my business model would be an investment in promoting innovation and value creation for good causes, good businesses and good people.
What to learn more about iCareNOW? Then watch the videos below: