THE founders of a York mobile phone app are celebrating their first full year as a business despite the many knock-backs due to Covid-19 - and have become part of the Northern Powerhouse scheme. 

The app, called Connected York, helps businesses communicate and advertise with residents and visitors.

Originally launched in 2019 after many months of research and development – the company said Covid-19 threatened the app’s future.

Founders Andrew Stark and Melissa Magson said they have since had to evolve and adapt the app to better support the businesses and residents of York as their needs changed during the pandemic. 
The app was developed to enable businesses to create better connections with residents - adding categories such as ‘home delivery’, ‘open for business’ and more recently, promoting those organisations taking part in the government’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme. 

The app now has more than 300 local businesses registered with it. 

Andrew said: “Covid-19 knocked all businesses sideways, and we were no exception. Lockdown delivered a horrible reality for us and many other organisations too - we can only count ourselves as lucky as we were able to be quite dynamic and change our model quickly to continue to champion our local retailers.”

Melissa added: “Things slowed with Covid-19 initially, then the pace of app downloads began to increase dramatically as residents have looked for up to date and timely information, and retailers have looked for more ways to communicate. This form of real-time digital connection between retailers and residents and the high-street has resonated with many.”

The app has seen further success after it became a Northern Powerhouse Partner in July.

The Northern Powerhouse aims to boost the local economy by investing in skills, innovation, transport and culture – with members being organisations such as KPMG, LNER, Yorkshire Building Society and Make It York.

Melissa added: “We’re possibly one of the smallest Northern Powerhouse members however our aspirations and passion for the north, particularly Yorkshire, remain just as strong. We’re thrilled to be part of this, and for us, it also represents a great support and networking opportunity with some fantastic organisations we can learn so much from.

“We’ve taken a few knocks, but we’re made of strong Yorkshire stuff and we’ve got so much more to come.”