What are the key issues?
Cities are important to New Zealand. Gentrification and business changes in the urban environment are major issue facing policymakers and small/medium local businesses. This is both an opportunity and a threat - gentrification has important implications for job growth, business productivity, inner city dynamics, quality of living etc.
Policymakers and economic development agencies don’t have access to comprehensive, detailed, granular data when they want to understand the cause/effects of gentrification, and predict its future impacts.
SMEs typically don’t have the capacity, capability and resources to conduct business research in urban areas when opening a new business, or relocating.
Where does the gap lie?
For both customer groups, there's an information gap. However, market research agencies such as Nielsen and Gartner tend to be very high-level. Employing consultants can be costly. And raw data from open government databases will need further analysis to be useful. There is clearly a gap here for insightful analytics that are detailed, tailored to the local area, and accessible.
We use open data from public sources and social media to create a software-as-a-service (Saas) via a subscription revenue model. The data includes information from Statistics New Zealand, Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, and Tenancy Services. We also utilise some open datasets from 3rd party social media sources including Facebook, Twitter and Trip Advisor.
We provide real-time information to planners and small business owners, delivered through an app and website managed through a SaaS model. Our tools can help policymaker plan for the future, development agencies support local businesses and SMEs become more productive and make better decisions. There are three key components to our suite of tools:
1. Descriptive and predictive heat-maps of gentrification.
2. Behavioural change recommendations for policymakers.
3. Business landscape analysis for small businesses.
Why do we fit within the award categories?
First of all, our product is incredibly timely and relevant. It's tailored towards our key customers - city councils, local businesses, and economic development agencies. For our mock-up we've chosen Wanganui District Council and Wellington City Council, but our methodology easily applies to other cities...
Which brings us to the second point - scalability. To engage continuously with stakeholders and citizens, our product must be financially sustainable. The methodology we use in our products can be scaled to any other region and city in New Zealand, as long as there is data.
And finally, our product is unique. It fills in an innovative niche where traditional consulting firms and market research agencies have typically neglected. Our product has both business value and socio-economic value, helping local planners make better evidence-driven decisions, and assisting SMEs grow their businesses.