On February 21st, WCPO ran a story on a new app developed by undergraduates at Ohio State. Called the SOAR Initiative, the app offers users a safe way to report batches of illegal drugs laced with deadly ingredients, like fentanyl, without contacting the police directly. The initiative's founders created the app following the death of one of their friends: "After a peer overdosed from cocaine laced with fentanyl in a Columbus bar, they built a text alert system for users and first responders to warn people about 'bad batches' of street drugs." The app also sports a mail-in testing program, which analyzes drug samples for fentanyl, as well as resources for people to find free Naxolone, the medicine used to counteract opioid overdoses.
SOAR is one of many apps that have been developed since smartphones became ubiquitous. Some are just fun ways to pass the time. Others, like SOAR, provide invaluable public services. Apps as a format have nearly an unlimited number of uses, and, it turns out, they're not too difficult to develop with a little know how.
Getting Into the App Game
There are already lots of app developers in the Cincinnati area. But where do you go to learn how to make apps? The Ohio STEM Learning Network (OSLN) is a state program that offers integrated STEM education in schools throughout Ohio. Hughes STEM School, a school in the Cincinnati Public School System, for example, has a variety of science and technology-based specialty programs, including one on software development. Students at this school learn basic programming, app development, and web design, all of which are marketable skills. They even have a program where students can earn college credit.
But what if you've already finished high school? The state of Ohio offers resources to connect adult learners with a variety of continuing education programs, including ones that offer credentials in software development and programming.
Scaling your App
Okay, so you've got an idea for an app. You may have even begun programming it. How are you going to bring it to market and make it scalable as a product?
In addition to using your own money to fund your app, which--let's face it--isn't always easy, there are a variety of tools you can use to procure investment. One way is to crowd-fund. You can use a popular crowd-funding websites, like GoFundMe or Kickstarter, where people explore various projects and subsidize ones that interest them. Or you can do what the SOAR Initiative did and directly solicit donations on your website.
You can also apply for a grant. Grants are gifts from large institutions, which invest in new projects and research. The nice thing about grants is that you don't have to pay them back, and they don't charge interest, unlike a loan. The down side is that they're very competitive, and they sometimes have onerous application processes. Still, there numerous grant opportunities from government agencies, universities, and private foundations.
Lastly, you can apply for a loan. Of course, the downside to borrowing money is that you have to pay it back with interest.
Are you in the beginning of your app journey? Do you need help finding funding, or do you need managed IT services for an established app business? Titan Tech can help advise you on infrastructure, funding opportunities, and security. Contact them today for a free consultation.
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