ROOG is a social marketing and ecommerce platform that connects consumers to minority owned businesses within their local community. Founded in 2018 in Austin, TX by Brandon Thurman, ROOG’s mission is to help build a lifelong community that drives loyalty, advocacy and growth to small businesses in minority communities.
Many minority business owners are challenged with growing and diversifying their consumer market when using technology. Today, business owners rely on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Yelp and Google Local to list their businesses for consumers to shop. In some cases, business owners have seen a slight increase in their consumer engagement but not a consistent increase to take their small business to the next level. During ROOG interviews with small business owners, the team found that applications such as Yelp will remove positive ratings from business profiles if business owners do not pay a monthly fee for their application. Also, more than half of business owners use additional tools to manage some of their daily business activities such as scheduling posts, appointments, electronic payments and online orders.
According to the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), average annual gross receipts of minority owned firms were approximately $167,000 compared to $439,000 of non-minority owned firms. This disparity continues to plague development and growth of minority entrepreneurs. From the consumer side, shoppers struggle to locate minority-owned businesses within their community and increase patronage for these businesses. ROOG is driving more awareness to businesses and fostering an inclusive environment for consumers and minority business owners.