A software application created by a Whanganui woman is starting to attract interest outside of the city.
Paula Fore created the Local and Loyal mobile marketing app in her spare time and those efforts were acknowledged when her company won the best emerging business category at the recent Whanganui Chamber of Commerce business awards.
She set up her company, ID.Applications Ltd, last year but is self-taught, using the resources available on the internet.
The app is designed for people to keep up-to-date with what's going on with multiple businesses in Whanganui or any other place. Businesses sign up and are given a two-page mobile site on which they can put everything about their business, as well as any deals, promotions or offers.
While it's gaining traction locally Ms Fore said there was growing interest coming from other centres.
In her acceptance speech at the awards she told the audience she had learned lessons along the way and refined her business model. She still does much of her work for Local and Loyal at night (she holds down a fulltime day job) but she has taken on two staff, with Fiona Bryant taking care of sales and marketing while Simone Geange is responsible for the social media side of the business.
The app itself has been expanded. It now has a local listings tab, a quick-fire way to locate businesses. And there are a variety of plans businesses can sign up for depending on what they want.
"We've got a lot of schools interested as well and already Castlecliff School is on board," she said.
"Schools are operated like businesses now and all of them are vying for children. Castlecliff School has experienced high growth and they were keen to come on board.
"It's an easier way for the parents to connect with the school. The school can promote important information which parents have easy access to. It's a really handy tool."
Ms Fore said the school market offered them huge scope for growth.
"It's all about keeping our community in the know. Businesses, schools, sports clubs can all get engaged via our app."
Sport Whanganui is another which had jumped at the chance to hook into Local and Loyal and now can provide all sports in one portal.
"There's a tab in there that lets people know what summer sports are coming up and how they join or contact clubs."
Local and Loyal is now in premises on the first floor of the former UCOL clothing school on the corner of Guyton St and Wilson St.
Next year Ms Fore said they would be in the hunt for another award, targeting the digital service trophy.
"There will be a lot of changes. We're still refining much of what we do and how things work to make it better for businesses. And we'll have extra tabs to encourage people to find out more about the businesses using the Local and Loyal app.
"We've got other centres that are interested in what we've created, places like Auckland. We can't keep our product just in Whanganui. But our head office will stay here and hopefully we'll be employing more people."