Buying Local Stimulates Economic Growth - Business Media MAGS

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Buying Local Stimulates Economic Growth

Buying local may well be the answer not only to various COVID-19 challenges, but also to stimulating job creation and economic growth, writes Denise Mhlanga.

When South African consumers buy local products, they create demand. Meeting that growing demand opens up job opportunities. Since its establishment 20 years ago, Proudly South African has been an advocate of the buy local movement in the country.

“Every local company that produces items for sale in South Africa needs customers who are economically active and able to buy from them,” says Eustace Mashimbye, Proudly South African CEO.

Mashimbye suggests that we need South Africans to have more faith in their products, and to trust that locally made goods and services represent value for money and are high-quality.

“SA has talent, local supply chains are efficient, have a lower carbon footprint, and are more reliable with faster delivery times than waiting for consignments from overseas. Due to COVID-19, imported supplies are unpredictable as country borders open and close based on infection rates.

“Buying locally mitigates these risks (and that of fluctuating exchange rates), money stays in South Africa, we sustain jobs and create new ones, all while growing the economy,” he says.

Larry Hodes, a business coach and facilitator, opened the Gourmet Grocer store in Johannesburg in 2020 to create an outlet for local products. Locals who started their businesses or side hustles as a result of the pandemic, produce most of the supplies.

“Any business that supports small local businesses contributes towards sustaining the economy,” says Hodes.

Embrace local

Entrepreneur Lufuno Netshithuthuni of Funo Designs creates unique and innovative modern traditional “takkies” for women who love cultural fashion.

“There is a growing need from middle-class women in both rural and urban areas for traditional fashion. Funo Designs advances our African fashion identity and promotes and celebrates colours and prints that represent diverse SA cultures,” she says.

However, Netshithuthuni says that for entrepreneurs to succeed, South Africans must embrace local products more, and businesses must always strive to offer value-for-money products.

“Consumers look for quality, not quantity, and people are willing to spend more for locally produced quality,” she says.

Proudly South African’s Eustace Mashimbye says when businesses commit to local procurement through their entire supply and value chain, they boost the manufacturing sector.

Most entrepreneurs and small businesses find it difficult to access finance and markets to sell their products. “If retailers were to give more shelf space to local products, we would stimulate the creation of more small businesses.”

Business coach and facilitator Larry Hodes  adds that small businesses need to develop skills like financial management, branding, and sales and marketing to assist them to sell their products.

“SA has talent, so what we need is an outlet to showcase this creativity and for more businesses to buy from them,” he concludes.

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