Women Mean business: Helping Google Expand Street View for Business
Meet Maureen Erokwu: A successful, young, African American woman selected by Google to join its mapping initiative. As an award-winning photographer, Maureen has improved Google’s StreetView for businesses by providing an interactive experience for Google Maps™ users.
Maureen’s start-up VOSMAP—Google certified and trusted—continues to improve street and business views for all users and, to help businesses such as her own, get on the map. I was super lucky to meet with the oh-so-fun Maureen to chat about her success and, most of all, her passion for helping others. Move over superheroes, “Generation Start-up” has a real-life role model of their own.
Maureen, what inspired you to become an Entrepreneur?
With all honesty, my passion for photography came about after losing my job in 2010 and with a need for not wanting to remain idle. I applied to so many positions—I grew tired of applying to so many positions only to realize what I was really doing was begging to build someone else’s dream. Soon after, I realized, if I were to gain an opportunity, I would have to create it. If America wasn’t going to hire me, I was going to hire America
You’re obviously very young. How does it feel to be a successful, young black woman partnered with one of the most powerful businesses in the world?
I don’t see myself as being completely successful just yet. I think of my experience as being compared to a record deal. It’s hard work keeping it up and showing that you were worth it all. Later, that’s what will prove worthiness—looking back and seeing how long and how well you maintained your work.
What advice would you share to young female techies interested in starting a business of their own?
Don’t make excuses—just get out there. Don’t wait—experience is always gained along the way. Say yes to new opportunities, even if you’re unsure of where they will take you. You can always figure it out later. Otherwise, you won’t know until you try. Most importantly, create your own. You can either build a dream for yourself, or build someone else’s dream on a 9-5 schedule. It’s ultimately your choice.
What’s great about your start-up VOSMAP is you have the ability to work within a business centered on your passion for photography and also have a business such as Google support you 100% of the way. Heck! You’re Google certified and trusted! How does this inspire you to help other businesses get on the map?
Having a passion for not just photography alone, but also business development and technology allows me to become a part of helping other people succeed in a creative way. Understanding how much work it takes to get your business out there really helps the VOSMAP team do whatever it takes to work with those businesses to ensure they’re happy with our work.
How has VOSMAP improved the Google Maps™ experience for both businesses and Google Maps™ users alike?
It’s interactive, fast and very visual. It allows customers to be totally immersed in a business’s experience before actually having to stop by for a visit. You can view restaurants and other businesses near-by or abroad and feel sure of what to expect. This experience is a great way to enhance the user’s quality of research and the business owners’ method of advertisement.
What type of atmosphere do you try to build for VOSMAP? How does this encourage your employees to work hard?
Our business is inspired by the Google work culture. Everybody is a team member—sort of like family. You can be who you are and we apply members’ passions to the job, so that everybody is doing what they’re good at. When team members can apply what they love to their job, it makes the business a better one.
VOSMAP is currently recruiting. What do you look for in a prospective employee?
We’re searching for someone who is self-driven and motivates themselves as well as others. Of course, we’re searching for individuals with experience—preferably business development associates or managers—but also some creativity and knowledge of what they want to gain from VOSMAP. Know what you want. That way, you’ll always do your best.
Maureen, is there anything else you would like to add?
We’re “Generation Start-up.” That means it’s our time to shine—our time to build. I want to get more minorities involved in tech, which means more opportunities to follow. That’s my main goal.
VOSMAP is actively recruiting new team members who are passionate, driven, and self-motivated leaders. To learn about current opportunities, email: [email protected] Also to get updates on VOSMAP, follow them on Twitter.
Are you or someone else you know a successful female techie? Email and check us out on Twitter so we can share your success story.