How to Harness Big Data for Local Impact

Data tells us stories, shows us gaps, and areas of opportunity for growth. Over the past two months since launching Cureate Connect, we’ve started mapping data points about our local food & beverage ecosystem.

Cureate Connect currently operates in both DC and Baltimore Metro areas with 250+ local food & beverage businesses. Most of our community is in startup mode -- around 75% making less than $500K/year and 25% grossing over $500K/year. What does that tell us?

What Are Small Businesses Looking For?

Our small businesses are looking for stable cash flow; and not just through outside venture capital, but through new business opportunities. Not all entrepreneurs are looking to be the next national unicorn. Most want to build a viable, community-based business to create enough wealth and opportunity for the next generation — The American Dream, after all.

The problem with The Dream though is that we think it’s one size fits all.

But in fact, “the fundamental tension in the dream -- both the reason it keeps dying and the reason that, for some, it hasn’t yet been born -- is that every American is supposed to share in it, yet many Americans envision it very differently,” writes Matt Thompson for The Atlantic.

So, we’ve set out to create space for people to dream and act on opportunities in the best ways they see fit for their own growth.

Generally, in the food and beverage (F&B) business you can scale in three ways:

(1) Open brick-and-mortar locations.

(2) Secure ongoing retail/wholesale accounts.

(3) Increase catering/events.

At Cureate Connect we ask our community to identify their growth goals, and then we seek out new business opportunities on their behalf. As an example, in DC, more than 80% of the food and beverage businesses are looking for new retail/wholesale accounts, 75% want to increase their catering/event opportunities, and nearly 20% are avidly looking for real estate for either storefronts, pop-ups or production space.

What does this mean for you?

Well, you (as a consumer, or as a business owner) have the ability to put your purchasing dollars back into the local economy. But, why would you want to do that? Not just to feel virtuous. I’m here to say it’s also a wise business decision.

Food Always Tells A Story Worth Hearing

(and Snapchat has proven to us that the food experience is worth seeing, too).

Food tells a powerful story about the person who has put their heart and soul into the product that’s been created. The sharing of food between two people, that feeling you get pre- and post-digestion -- it’s extremely personal.

Local and handmade have gone beyond marketing labels, and become ways of life. We’ve seen large corporations falter because of their inability to change and adapt to this new economic order of values-based consumers.

Impact Assessment

Once two parties have connected through the site, Cureate Connect then tracks the outcome of that opportunity through a qualitative and quantitative impact assessment. Nobody has this kind of boots-on-the-ground data, and we expect this data set to explode as the business expands. We’re still in the very beginning stages, but there are so many opportunities opening up to use our procurement platform in meaningful ways. 

Build and Protect Our Communities

In these times of political and social uncertainty, the need to build and protect our communities is stronger than ever. Could someday our data be used for any number of public/private partnerships to drive policy and economic development? You bet.

Join the growing tribe of conscious business leaders, and let’s co-create the future we want to live in — one that is interconnected between big and small business, and a future where it is economically vibrant for us all.