Entrepreneur promotes recycling, launches mobile app business
By Judith Hence
Angela Harmon is a publisher and mobile marketing entrepreneur. She is an ambitious individual, committed to the health and ecological well-being of her community. She would also like to see small businesses succeed through the creative use of marketing on the Internet. She created two virtual businesses with these ideas in mind: one company emphasizes a healthy environment, the other progressive marketing.
Minnesota Green Pages
Harmon agrees that Minneapolis is arguably one of the country’s cleanest cities. However, she noted there is more work to be done in terms of maintaining that reputation. “It [recycling] needs to become a mandatory thing, where recycling is required. We need to do it on a legislative level. If we did, everybody would follow suit and it would become natural.”
Harmon gave two examples where recycling efforts could be improved: apartment buildings and businesses. “Right now I have a bag of recyclables in my car, because the apartment where I live does not require recycling. It’s a pain to have to find places to dump your recyclables.” With this focus in mind, Harmon created Minnesota Green Pages, a website that promotes recycling through community events, do-it-yourself tips and business activities.
Creating an ecology/recycling website came from Harmon’s experience with Green Grease, a recycling company in Atlanta, Georgia. Green Grease recycles cooking oil into diesel fuel. Harmon contracted with the company to teach recycling and ecology to young people. “What I didn’t know was that I would be working with a group of male teenagers who had come up from foster homes with criminal backgrounds.”
She facilitated the group for a week, starting them out with Inconvenient Truth, a movie produced by Vice President Al Gore about the startling effects of global warming. The boys could not see how the film had anything to do with their lives. “But,” said Harmon, “by the end of the week, they realized that they could make money off of what people called trash.” They were hyped and excited at that prospect.
“They saw Atlanta as a chance to make money and through recycling make the world a better place,” Harmon explained. As one boy put it, “I will have money in my pocket.” Harmon pointed out that they could feel good about what they were doing, and it was legal.
She has since been offered an opportunity to work with Green Grease again. She will build a website and app where Green Grease customers can phone in orders to pick up used cooking oil.
Shortly after returning to Minneapolis, she began working with the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, where she did marketing and communications for the publication. Harmon worked with MSR to create “Green2Green,” a section of MSR’s newspaper and website.
“Green2Green” publicizes local events and opportunities for businesses to develop projects such as those sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. This year, the MDA provided $2.5 million in grants to fund bioenergy projects.
Harmon’s website, Minnesota Green Pages is up and running; it can be found at mngreenpages.com. The site will be updated monthly.
In addition to 20 years’ experience in various marketing and communications positions, her education reflects a background in sociology, psychology, anthropology, and graphic arts. She used that training to develop a website for her Minnesota Green Pages website.
While building the website, she was using skills that could help other small businesses take advantage of mobile marketing. That idea became her second business venture: App4mobiz.com, an “online, ecommerce enterprise.” Harmon develops websites and applications (apps) that use the Internet to integrate social, mobile and marketing strategies. According to Harmon, “It is projected that there will be more people surfing with a mobile device than with their desktop.”
Mobile marketing is poised to reach $601 million in 2014, a 43 percent jump from 2009. Although App4mobiz is in its start-up phase, Harmon’s clients include Robin Hickman with Soul Touch Productions, Inc. and Simply Fabulous One Boutique. The Minnesota Spokesman Recorder was her first client.
MSR expanded its web-based online marketing to include a more interactive approach through smartphones and apps. The apps are now located in libraries and in Superpages, a local search engine.
Small businesses need not have an operating website to benefit from App4mobiz. Harmon can develop a website from scratch or from Facebook, then create apps and mobile marketing strategies. “I don’t just offer the mobile website and the app; I educate my customers how to market their business, drive customers to their website, and increase their online presence.”
Recycling and mobile marketing would appear to be an unlikely pair, but Angela Harmon has found a way to make that connection where society and small businesses can benefit from either — or both.
Judith Hence welcomes reader responses to [email protected].