With our latest update just around the corner we thought we would give you a sneak preview into one of its new features and our reasoning behind it.
One of the features we are most excited about with the OurHood’s latest update, is the fully automated platform for local businesses. In an increasingly homogenised world dominated by global economic systems, there is a need to localise and scale down economic activity and strengthen independent businesses. Locally owned businesses will be able to use the OurHood platform to provide deals for local residents, simultaneously benefiting the business and the customer. Localisation not only has immediate economic, social and ecological benefits but shifts power and control back into the hands of the consumers. Below are just a few of the benefits that come from supporting local businesses:
Community identity: from the dog grooming business to the second-hand furniture stall to the coffee shop, each small business adds character and charm and contributes towards a community’s identity.
Build strong communities: local businesses build connections and link neighbours in a web of economic and social relationships.
Create jobs: businesses in the local economy create jobs, which in turn result in an increase in employment in the region. Local employment further helps to cultivate a sense of community.
Boost local economy: when residents shop locally within their community, their money will stay within the local economy. Likewise, much of the small businesses’ revenue will be recycled back into the local economy
Innovation, product diversity & lower prices: in order to survive, small businesses need to stand out from the crowd with innovative thinking and competitive prices. Having to differentiate themselves from their larger competitors can often result in a broader range of products, thereby increasing consumer choice.
Environmental benefits: having businesses within walking distance will massively lower carbon footprints by both minimising the need to drive to shops, and also reducing the carbon emissions from shipping. Local businesses also tend to buy locally, further minimising the environmental costs of transporting materials.
What does it mean to buy local?
Whilst we strongly advocate supporting your neighbourhood businesses, buying local does not have to be restricted to your local surroundings. According to Eustace Mashimbye, CEO of Proudly South African, e-commerce is ‘a burgeoning market in South Africa.’ E-commerce is growing faster than traditional retail, and with this comes the opportunity to boost local businesses and the national economy. It is important that we ‘tap into digital shopping habits… to ensure that more locally grown, produced and manufactured goods are available to local consumers.’ In recognition of this, Mashimbye established Proudly South African, an online shopping site comprised solely of local products and services.
‘Proudly South African seeks to strongly influence procurement in public and private sectors, to increase local production, influence consumers to buy local and stimulate job creation. This is in line with government’s plans to revive South Africa’s economy so that millions of jobs can be created and unemployment can be decreased under the New Growth Path Plan.’
In a market inundated with consumer goods, it can be difficult to know where each product comes from. With Proudly South African you are guaranteed that every item – from boardgames to charcoal to electric bikes – is grown, produced or manufactured within the borders of South Africa. The organisation follows strict guidelines with at least 50% of the cost of production having to take place in South Africa. If materials are imported, there must be a ‘substantial transformation.’ Alongside this is a commitment to provide high quality products and services, follow fair labour practices and meet environmental standards. With goods delivered to your front within 48 hours within South Africa, it seems there really is no excuse not to buy local.
At OurHood, we strive to link the digital and physical world together in order to better connect neighbours and strengthen our communities – and what better way to do this than by supporting local businesses. Whether it is picking up a loaf of bread from your neighbourhood bakery, or selecting out a tee from Proudly South African, help your local economy by buying local.
The OurHood Team 🙂
Connecting Neighbours, Strengthening Communities