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The Ohio city is working with govtech company Colu to develop a civic and community engagement platform to spur its economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The City of Akron in Ohio is incentivising citizens to shop locally by rewarding them with a city coin that is redeemable at participating businesses.
The US city is working with govtech company Colu to develop a civic and community engagement platform to spur its economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Colu will create a customised app that will give retailers marketing tools to connect them with residents while incentivising Akronites to shop locally by rewarding them with the unique currency, which is yet to be named.
“Our locally owned small businesses are facing enormous challenges and we need out-of-the-box ideas that safely connect them to consumers and turn local spending into a source of pride for residents,” said Akron mayor Dan Horrigan. “Our partnership with Colu will enable the city to reward customers for shopping local, improving revenues for our small businesses while helping folks stretch their dollars.”
Colu creates a custom-branded mobile app for cities that reward residents who take actions that promote local goals. Its technology places the economic and social wellbeing of cities in the hands of their residents and aims to create long-term, positive behavioural changes that build public wealth, foster a sense of community and provide local businesses with a platform to connect with communities.
“Our locally owned small businesses are facing enormous challenges and we need out-of-the-box ideas that safely connect them to consumers and turn local spending into a source of pride for residents”
Citizens also have the opportunity to like and share city stories via the platform that reveal narratives happening every day around their city.
“Mayor Horrigan, the city council, and the hardworking staff at city hall have done amazing work to protect the health and well-being of every Akron resident,” said Colu CEO and founder Amos Meiri. “Now it’s time to supercharge the relationship between Akron’s residents and local businesses.”
This project marks Colu’s first collaboration with a US city after delivering success for local retailers in cities such as Tel Aviv.
The initiative in Ohio continues Akron’s legacy of industry and transformation: the city was once the centre of the global rubber and tyre trade and has evolved into a haven for arts and culture, economic, and social activities that foster creativity and ingenuity.
“Akron has a long history of innovation within our economy – this initiative draws on that legacy,” said deputy mayor for integrated development James Hardy. “By putting the future of Akron’s locally owned small businesses in the palm of our citizens’ hands, we hope to make it easy for consumers to keep their money local and continue to strengthen our incredible community.”
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