Do you Buy NEO? On systems to facilitate local economy

Submitted by Sudhir Kade on Tue, 09/09/2008 - 13:39.

I buy NEO card

A recent collaboration between the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE), Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, and Interra has yielded an innovative new approach to facilitate regional economic development. As a fan of local economy and resident of the University Circle neighborhood I took careful note of this recent development and have quietly observed an impressive growth in the number of local merchants coming on board and offering significant discounts to cardholders. The IBuyNEO card features an innovative revenue model which brings prosperity to nonprofit and commercial sectors simultaneously, whilst delivering bargain values to the regional shopper. The system is designed to create a loyalty to local small businesses as opposed to corporate chain megaliths like WalMart. The merchant partner has the freedom to declare the price point at which the cardholder qualifies for a discount and the amount of discount - these targets can be viewed online at and integrated mapping pinpoints the vendor location for the cardholder. Interra is just implementing this system in a few pilot locations nationally at present, and it speaks to a level of first-mover, forward thinking on the part of the vested local partners who brought this vision to fruition. It remains to be seen, however, if adequate market penetration and consumer acceptance will follow. Should that be the case, we might have a nice win-win-win-win for consumer, retailer, and nonprofit, and government (tax revenue) alike. A win to the 4th power, we could call it. Currently the nonprofits from which the cardholder can select to receive 1/3rd of the benefit is limited to Rainbow Babies and Children's (the founding partner), the American Diabetes Association, Alta House, and the Little Italy Redevelopment Corporation. The remainder of the discount offered by the merchant is divided between the cardholder and Interra. There is an application form for other nonprofits to be considered as additions to this selection list, and we will to see how open and willing the founding partners are to allow expansion and extension of choice to the consumer. One thing is for certain, though - socially conscious consumers can feel empowered by the fact that their purchase brings a discount at sufficient volume while doing good in the community in which they live and supporting local businesses. NEO's denizens can learn more about the IBuyNEO card, which can be purchased for a one-time cost of ten dollars, here.

Half the purchase price goes to the beneficiary, which assists as a partner in the project with distribution, as well.

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Thanks Sudir...

I had been wondering what the card is. I have noticed the signs around by various cash registers in the University Circle area. I am buying one!