The Kiss Me I’m Local post highlighted the biggest prize we are offering for the Ideal Date Night Contest: the Oakland Grown Gift Card. Every post submitted for the contest will add $3 to the gift card (max $300). The technological back-end responsible for the gift card is Hope Commerce Solutions. I had the honor of meeting Jessica Nowlan, founder of Hope Commerce Solutions at Awaken Cafe in Oakland (thanks Emily!). We discussed about the need of an alternative payment solution for small businesses, since Visa and Mastercard does not care about the success of small businesses.
I learned rather quickly how the lack of information provided to business owners was used by many payment industry professionals as a way to inflate prices and negotiate unfair contracts, ultimately hurting the small businesses that drive our economy and creating distrust between the business community and the payment processing Industry. – Jessica Nowlan
We all probably have the Visa or Mastercard logo in our wallets or purse, and that’s fine. They provide convenience, protection, and for the savvy consumers, rewards points. But with dominant market shares and shady business practices, we as consumers need to understand that each time we swipe our cards at independent local businesses, there is a huge fee that takes away from a business’ bottom line. And contributes to the billions in assets of these payment processing companies.
Q and A with Hope Commerce Solutions
What is your definition of Local?
Local is my community, where I live, work and play. Shopping local means supporting independent businesses and artists because together we are building and strengthening our community and contributing to a better world.
Why did you choose Oakland as the home of your business?
I chose to do my business here in Oakland for many reasons. The first is because I live here, I am raising my kids here and after being pushed out of San Francisco during the first “.com” boom, Oakland was welcoming and became our home. I love and believe in the diversity Oakland and as a business owner I strongly believe that it is my responsibility to embrace and understand the communities in which we do business and do everything in my power to help strengthen our community. To me that means building a service business that supports other local businesses vitality and growth, to create opportunities and jobs in my own business for Oakland residents and to be a leader in the business community that encourages hiring local residents and people with barriers to employment.