This year, Hack the Hood will work with over 250 youth, offering bootcamps, alumni programs, and events that will connect low-income people of color, ages 16-25, to careers in tech. We've received a lot of positive feedback for our high level of youth engagement and participation, the value of the 21st century workplace readiness skills we teach (like project management, and using the Google app suite) , and the real-world focus of the youth projects (building web sites for local small businesses).
What we haven’t talked about enough, however, is our commitment to supporting the small businesses, emerging local entrepreneurs, experimental micro-ventures, and seasonal enterprises that are core to the economy of every local community. Small businesses and emerging entrepreneurs are often also on the other side of the digital divide. Only 44% of all small businesses are marketing online, according to a March 2016 study by Clutch. The reasons? Cost and unfamiliarity with the tools and strategies need to build a robust online presence.
Nevertheless, having a presence online is critical to getting customers - especially if you’d like your business to attract more people than those who happen to walk by (or you’re not a brick and mortar store). A recent article in The Atlantic says that Google researchers have found search-engine users are 38% more likely to visit a business with a website that includes the address and hours of operation than one that doesn’t.
At Hack the Hood, we deliberately focus on serving local small businesses in Oakland that need greater visibility online. To do this, we make sure that all the small businesses we work with have mobile-friendly sites, and that their critical information can be pulled into Google Maps and Pages. (See examples)
During their boot camp training, our young people not only learn web development skills, they learn to:
In addition, the Hack the Hood team, through our alumni program for interested bootcamp graduates, offers continued support at a reasonable cost for small business clients who would like help after the bootcamp with site maintenance, updates, or enhancements. Members also help clients with social media marketing and online presence.
How small businesses can get involved with our program
For interested and qualified small businesses, Hack the Hood provides access to trained youth web developers, offers a caring and committed client/developer relationship, and facilitates the design and development of a quality web site. This all happens without any charge to the small business client. The only costs are the domain purchase fee (which does not go to HtH), and the time required from the client to participate in the design and development process (normally 3 meetings).
Typically, we seek small business clients online, and through partnerships with local small business networks, merchant associations, neighborhood groups and small business incubators.
We’re recruiting small businesses in Oakland now through June 24th
Interested businesses can begin with this Participant Checklist to get a feel for the workload, Check out this FAQ for a quick, at-a-glance and finally, move on to completing the application.
Who are good candidates to apply?
Come find out more in person on June 11th
There is an Information Session open to all applicants & service providers on Saturday, June 11th @ 11am at Hack the Hood's offices (439 International Blvd in Oakland). RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
Need more information? Check out our links
Small business page
Application for small business owners
Small business FAQ
Some examples of sites built by young people at Hack the Hood:
Hack the Hood Blog
News items and musings on tech inclusion, youth development, buying local and more.