“Small Business Hero”: protecting district diversity

“Small Business Hero”: protecting district diversity

The "#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler" project “Small Business Hero” is a platform where customers from across Germany can find and shop at registered stores from their neighbourhoods.

The little shop just around the corner has to close, an occurrence that has become all too familiar. While small business owners could theoretically sell their goods online, shop owners regularly do not know where to start and how to do it. Furthermore, some simply cannot afford the fees for popular brokerage platforms such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy. At the same time, their customers are at home, oftentimes only one street away, wishing to buy the well-known and familiar products online.

Small Business Hero” is a free platform aiming to support local business owners by helping them to digitize their shop, so that their customers can get in touch with them easily and conveniently: “we believe that the Covid-19 quarantine represents a severe challenge for small business owners in particular. Therefore, in these times of distancing, we want to bring neighbourhoods closer together by bridging the gap between owner and customers — in a simple way.”

A digital shopping promenade

The platform provides a digital shopping promenade, where customers from across Germany can find all registered shops from their neighbourhoods. Further, shoppers can virtually rummage through the store owners’ assortment and get in contact with stores in various ways for consultation or information exchange. Consequently, not only do the small businesses benefit from higher visibility but their customers, who want their district to be lively and to remain diverse, as well.

The project “Small Business Hero” was founded during the “#WirVsVirus Hackathon”, initiated by a corporation of the German government and actors of civil society. Until this day the team itself has not actually met in person, has however continued to virtually build up “Small Business Hero” since day one. In the previously set timeframe of 48 hours, the team managed to go live with the product. Read about their hackathon participation in this article or watch their illustrative video pitch from the hackathon weekend.

“#WirVsVirus hackathon” video pitch

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Product Owner Katharina Schätz explains,

“from an outside perspective one can say that all of us behaved like a hive of bees during the Hackathon – everybody was whirring around, picking up a task, solving it and taking over the next one. We are convinced that we can keep up with that spirit even now after the hackathon weekend, as we also see what impact our idea can have on helping the small retailers in particular in times of Corona.”

Meet the team behind the initiative “Small Business Hero”.

Today “Small Business Hero” is part of the “#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler” programme, initiated by the social acceleration platform “Project Together“. With the Vodafone Institute as one of its funding partners, the programme aims to quickly implement the most promising solutions and digital prototypes.

About the “#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler” programme

The “#WirVsVirus Solution Enabler” is a six-months implementation programme for 130 selected innovative solutions developed for coronavirus-related challenges. The programme that is supported by the Vodafone Institute with startup funding, know-how and digital expertise, encourages projects from 12 action fields, such as health, everyday life and crisis management, to successfully implement their solutions on a broad scale. The Institute supports the project teams with individually tailored support by providing access to the Vodafone corporate network. Particularly the startup programme Vodafone UPLIFT with their PACESETTER offering supports the teams in the areas of IT infrastructure, public cloud, IoT solutions and individual consulting. The programme under the patronage of the Federal Chancellery has started working with the projects on April 8 of 2020. Find further information here.