Our City Love is a social enterprise based in Taiwan. The business revolves around an app and web service that provides accessibility information to disabled users, their friends and families, and their caregivers. Not only does this deliver valuable information to those in need, but it also encourages businesses to adopt new practices to encourage customers.
Name: Dr. Chong-Wey Lin
Company: Our City Love
The inspiration for a database like OurCityLove came to Dr. Chong-Wey because of his relationship with his grandmother. The two of them have been especially close, ever since Dr. Chong-Wey was a child. He fondly recalls her holding him close and telling him she would love to share every happy moment with him. The inspiration for a database like OurCityLove came to Dr. Chong-Wey because of his relationship with his grandmother. The two of them have been especially close, ever since Dr. Chong-Wey was a child. He fondly recalls her holding him close and telling him she would love to share every happy moment with him.
However, he noticed that, as his grandmother had gotten older, it became increasingly difficult to share moments. Not wishing to be a burden on her family, she would decline going out for lunches and dinners. As many restaurants did not have accessible options for her, Dr. Chong-Wey would need to take measures to get her in. For example, their hometown had a vegetarian restaurant that Dr. Chong-Wey’s ‘grandmammy’ simply adored. But, there was a flight of steps to get to the restaurant, so her family would have to carry her up.
With OurCityLove and an accurate database of accessible restaurants and areas, Dr. Chong-Wey does not have an issue asking his grandmammy to go to lunch. He can simply pull up a location and show her that they’ll have no trouble going.
As the app grew in popularity, restaurants and businesses were eager to expand their accessibility options for disabled visitors, the elderly, and those with small children (all of whom require specific entrances, restrooms, or procedure). Even grandmammy’s favorite vegetarian restaurant added an elevator for their visitors, so she can now visit it whenever she wishes.
Making a Change for Good
When entrepreneurs look to start a business, there is usually a heavy consideration of profit. This is not a bad thing, but sometimes it lets us forget important things. Like that businesses can be a force of good for our society. OurCityLove is successful in the traditional business sense, but it’s successful far beyond that.
Launching a business has the option to be a major social action. You can affect the world as much as you affect bank accounts. OurCityLove has allowed families an easier time of navigating the world. Because of their team, businesses in multiple countries have adjusted their practices to be more friendly to the disabled, the elderly, and those with young children.
You, as an entrepreneur, can be just as much of a force for good in the world as an activist. You can change the world.
When building its database of businesses, OurCityLove hired differently abled men and women to their team. Other businesses may choose a consultant or just someone who can easily make the trip to see a business’s various accessibility options. However, OurCityLove hires and trains those who would be users of their app.
Why? Besides being a fantastic social enterprise that hires and provides skills to the disabled, OurCityLove also makes sure its database is as accurate as possible. By hiring researchers with experience using accessibility options, they avoid the pitfalls a similar database would fall into.
For example, many sites or databases will mark a restaurant has having accessible menus to those with sight issues. Usually, this means that the restaurant has a braille menu option. However, a significant percentage of those with sight problems cannot read braille and simply require a larger or more defined font on the menu. If OurCityLove had listened to consultants or researchers with no experience with such a disability, they would have made the same mistake.
Are you listening to your customers well enough? The team that keeps the database active is made up largely of the target market of OurCityLove, so when they add something new, it reflects what their customers approve of. If you bring on a consultant or researcher, make sure they’re as aware of your customers as you are.
Dr. Chong-Wey hopes OurCityLove is the first of many information providers for the disabled. He mentions that in the future, we may see increasingly advanced options for the disabled, elderly, and parents. Imagine a future where an AI, upon request, provides you directions to the nearest accessible bathroom or elevator.
The world can be changed for good, and businesses are one of the major driving forces behind that social change. OurCityLove is one such social enterprise. Yours can be as well.