The Coronavirus outbreak has not only affected local businesses but has taken a huge knock-on in South Africa’s economy. It is important that at this time we try our best to not only support our local businesses and productions but to understand the importance of doing it.
When entrepreneurs and independent businesses are supported, they contribute to a strong supply chain, create more employment opportunities, and help stimulate the South African economy.
By supporting local entrepreneurs and businesses a consumer contributes to the resilient supply chain of South Africa, creating more employment opportunities and in turn naturally stimulating the economy. Buying South African products extends further than a mere convenience for consumers, as buying from these businesses and engaging in these services aid in addressing a multifaceted platform of local problems. Additionally, local business owners tend to support other local companies, from both a personal and business perspective. For example, preference will be given to local service providers when jobs need to be outsourced and this offers growth opportunities to other entrepreneurs.
Local businesses that are growing, supporting each other, and reinvesting their money locally, are contributing to the success of their communities. When the community thrives, more jobs are created, wages and benefits can improve, and people are attracted to live and work in the area. This contributes to reducing poverty and improving the quality of life of the local residents.
The main arguments in support of local manufacturing are that it creates connections within communities, provides jobs, and enables ongoing conversation in perfecting a product. Local manufacturing is never going to be the cheapest option, but the proximity between producer and buyer can help form great working relationships. These relationships are essential in getting a product just right. Local production also means lower costs and better-quality control as the product isn’t traveling far, so there should be less chance of damage and any issues can be resolved quickly.
Local manufacturing means more jobs can be created in the community. We live in a country with one of the highest unemployment rates in the world. Unemployment is the reason we have high crime rates, but instead of creating jobs, most businesses choose to automate, compounding the problem.
SMMEs contribute almost 40 percent of South Africa’s GDP and employ around 60 percent of the workforce. The National Development Plan predicts that 90 percent of all new jobs will be within an SMME by 2030. The government can clearly see the importance of supporting small and local businesses, and we stand firmly behind them.
Another benefit of local produce is that there is a distinct move away from mass-produced foods and the chemicals and additives that they bring with them, and growing demand for organic, pesticide-free foods. Fresh eggs, dairy, and vegetables are freely available in most South African cities, locally grown on nearby smallholdings – and they’re delicious.
“Think globally, act locally.”