A Darlington jockey who created an award-winning new smartphone app to help local shops has linked up with a business group for a successful town centre trial.

Roam Local promotes more than 20,000 local businesses across the North East, increasing exposure in the local community and on a nationwide directory.

Founder and Managing Director Andrew Bartlett said: “Multinationals can afford to spend thousands on their websites and apps, which small companies can’t, so I developed this free to download app to help promote local businesses, helping them to compete, increase footfall and bounce back from lockdown."

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The app - which won Best Marketing Initiative in the Teesdale Business Awards 2020 and the Technology Innovator Award from Corporate Vision magazine - has attracted plenty of support, with one Area Action Partnership funding a ‘#ShopLocal’ trial of the Roam Local app in Chester-le-Street - with over 200 businesses.

Forty per cent of local households have now downloaded the app with local shops receiving over 150,000 impressions.

Zak Ahmed, owner of Babul’s Indian Restaurant, explains: “We joined Roam Local during the Covid-19 pandemic with little idea if it could save us. But we increased our profits by 30% in just four weeks."

Andrew's career as a successful jump jockey began at the age of 16 when he was scouted by world-class racehorse trainer Alan Swinbank where he went on to win races for a number of racing yards. He later started Sonic Horse Shoes, importing horseshoes from China which he sold to his racing connections before developing the Roam app.


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