Unlocking the Power of Government’s Open Data for Small Businesses

Doing The Homework

A few days prior to the event, a focus group of small businesses based in Washington DC was convened and the business owners were asked to openly and candidly articulate their perceptions and needs with regards to open data from the government.

The Challenge

The focus group uncovered three core questions that the team knew they had to address at the hackathon:

  1. How does open data get noticed by SBOs (e.g., partners, channels)?
  2. How does the government curate open data so that it is more relevant to small business needs (e.g., hyperlocal data/regulations)?
  3. How does the government make open data extremely usable/actionable for SBOs (e.g., formats)?
  1. Independent, Brick-and-Mortar Goods and Services
  2. Hyperlocal and or Mobile Worker
  3. Partnership-dependent, Local Specialty Goods Producer
  4. Local Business Improvement and Empowerment Administrator

Independent, Brick-and-Mortar Goods and Services

  • Locating customers: Within a delivery/access radius, Specific residential unit types (e.g., multi/single-family residential).
  • Targeting markets (i.e., Concentrations of Potential Customers): Specific demographics and population densities (e.g., foot traffic), Specific labor markets.
  • Differentiating themselves from the competition: Product and service selections

Hyperlocal and or Mobile Worker

  • Locating Customers: They need fresh/real-time data on where customers are, They need to find more events, Events add to revenue streams (beyond primary business locations), They need to avoid traffic, They need to see where DC’s population is most dense.

Partnership-dependent, Local Specialty Goods Producer

  • Where to Build Brand: Specific demographics/ population densities, Labor market characteristics (employees), Business patterns/characteristics (employers).

Local Business Improvement and Empowerment Administrator

  • Where to focus Investment
  • How to support Local Business Owners

Taking Action

The Gender Disparity Map

This team used demographic and occupation data from the American Community Survey (ACS), via CitySDK, to identify states with disproportionately large numbers of one gender representing a variety of S.T.E.M. related occupations.

DC Data Smoothie

This team’s mission was to help local Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) within DC understand the composition of their constituency.

Specialty EBiz

This team wanted to solve the following problems faced by a local specialty business owner — “How do I use open data to identify areas that have a high density of likely clients that meet certain criteria or fit a certain cohort?”

Brick and Mortar

This project used open data to maximize the number of customers who come through a company’s doors. They combined meetup information with ACS demographics, from CitySDK, to help businesses dynamically manage their operations based on their current open data indicators in their environment. For example, adjusting opening hours based on commute times, maximizing supplies based on meetups nearby, and increasing inventory based on community demographics.

Chicken Little

Chicken Little is a data visualization using CitySDK, USDA QuickStats and the APHIS avian flu data to show the effects of the avian flu across the United States.

HyperLocal

Team HyperLocal focused on the issue of how do food truck owners know where to go if they don’t have a permitted long-term parking space.

Next Steps

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy.

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Techie, Data Enthusiast, Privacy Advocate, Security Nerd. Social Justice Geek. Well-Rounded Human Being.

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Dr Tyrone Grandison

Dr Tyrone Grandison

334 Followers

Techie, Data Enthusiast, Privacy Advocate, Security Nerd. Social Justice Geek. Well-Rounded Human Being.