UIU Online student named ‘Aspiring Business Owner of the Year’ by national women’s business association

Ini Augustine runs SocialWise Media out of her home and is a current UIU Online student.

When Ini Augustine started SocialWise Media Group out of her home, she found that she finally had time to realize one of her life goals – earn a college degree. But, she needed a university that would work for her. “I needed the freedom to schedule my school work around my work schedule, which varies from week to week,” she said.

Augustine learned about Upper Iowa University’s Online program from a mentor, Tom Smartwood of the Buchanan Center at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. “I investigated several schools, but Upper Iowa kept coming up very positively in reviews,” Augustine said. “Even if I am out of town on client business, I can still submit school work and participate.” She is majoring in management information systems and expects to graduate in 2015.

Augustine’s entrepreneurial spirit was ignited at a young age. She started her first business, Provision Staffing Group, in St. Paul, Minn., at the age of 23, but returned to her roots in the Des Moines area where she developed SocialWise Media Group. “I was writing and producing commercials for a local TV station at the time. When I sat down with business owners to discuss their commercials, I always asked for their social media pages and websites,” she said. “It was shocking how many business owners would say that they didn’t have one, or that their current one was so bad they didn’t want customers to go to it.

“It was like, (screech of tires) ‘Whoa! You cannot go on TV without your website and social media profile. People won’t think you are a serious business without one.’ Clients then asked me to help them set up and manage their social media accounts, and so SocialWise Media Group was born.”

Augustine has been recognized internationally for her efforts to educate business owners through the quagmire of social media. She was quoted in an article, ‘Mastering the Digital Marketing Basics,’ in The Guardian, England’s popular national newspaper in March. Closer to home, Augustine was just recently named the ‘Aspiring Woman Business Owner of the Year’ by the Central Iowa chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners.

In addition to Augustine, SocialWise Media Group employs three others, all of whom are virtually located. “We are big technology users, so we have the freedom to work from home most of the time,” she said.

Together, the four help companies manage their online marketing and website development. Using platforms like Pinterest, Facebook, blogging and Twitter, etc., SocialWise helps businesses generate more sales and stronger customer relationships. It also specializes in social media management and training, as well as public relations and reputation management.

Augustine has set goals for SocialWise, which will ensure its future in the ‘Silicon Prairie’ of Iowa. “I want to focus on making social media accessible to everyone - old, young, urban or rural. Social media is the only tool I know of that can change a company’s fate literally overnight. Ninety-two of the Fortune 100 companies are using social media to hire, and so really everyone needs to have this skill. That is why I am offering anyone who wants one, a free online social media class, whether it’s for business or personal use. It is crucial that everyone know how to use social media as a professional.”

To schedule a class or find out more about Augustine and SocialWise Media Group, visit www.getsocialwise.com.