Supporting local businesses is a growing trend in many parts of the world, and Canada is no exception. Keep reading to learn about its benefits and how to be part of it.
By: Pierina D’Amico
Nowadays, an increasing number of people are becoming interested in buying from local businesses.
Just months ago, a survey by Ownr revealed that 83% of Canadians care more about supporting local small businesses than in previous years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 44% willing to pay up to 10% more.
Commenting on a similar poll by Twitter Canada, Head of Business Marketing Michelle Slater said: “It’s been a very challenging period for retailers. They’ve been hit hard with increasing regulations, with changing consumer buying habits, and obviously the pandemic has been rough. Knowing that Canadians want to step up and very much help support Canadian retailers is a very positive sign of how our country is coming together to support each other.”
Indeed, this is by all means a positive phenomenon, since research has consistently shown its benefits:
- Local and dispersed business ownership strengthens the middle class and contributes to equality.
- Local businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar in the local economy, as they create locally owned supply chains and invest in their employees.
- Locally owned businesses employ more people per unit of sales, and retain more employees during economic downturns.
- Locally owned businesses are linked to higher income growth and lower levels of poverty.
- A community’s level of social capital, civic engagement, and well-being is positively related to the share of its economy held by local businesses.
- Locally owned enterprises generate more tax revenue for cities, with less cost.
- Supporting local businesses helps the environment by reducing waste from packaging and diminishing the use of fossil fuels, thus saving energy and improving the community’s health through better air and food quality.
Noticing the importance of this issue, the Canadian Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade Mary Ng launched “Shop Local” in June of last year. The initiative involves a country-wide investment of 33 million Canadian dollars to encourage Canadians to shop locally.
According to the official announcement, funding is provided through provincial and territorial chambers of commerce, whose allocated amounts are based primarily on the percentage of small businesses in their respective regions.
Additionally, in marking the start of Small Business Week 2021 (which ran from October 17 to October 23), Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed that “Small businesses are counting on us to get vaccinated, so we can prevent avoidable lockdowns and help them get back up to speed”, adding that supporting Canadian businesses is key to ensuring a strong economic recovery.
Martha Gómez, Members’ Representative at Latincouver’s Latin Canadian Business Network (LCBN), shares that sentiment: “I like to see it as an investment. That simple decision of choosing local can change the way a place is perceived in the eyes of the entire world. It develops a sense of belonging that adds high value in this globalized world, which can result in tourism opportunities.”
With the hashtag #WeShopLocal, Latincouver is joining this movement through LCBN, launching a campaign aimed at building a stronger culture of support to entrepreneurs in Metro Vancouver.
In the coming weeks, special discounts for local shops will be shared on Latincouver’s social media channels. There will also be webinars where entrepreneurs can access tools to enhance their performance and ensure a better experience for the community.
Finally, LCBN is currently working on a directory of local businesses that will be available in its website’s “Shop Local” section.
If you want to be part of this trend, be sure to check out Latincouver and LCBN’s latest posts! You can find them at:
Canadian Consumers Intend to Support Local Businesses Ahead of December Holidays: Interview, Retail Insider, 15 November 2021
Key Studies: Why Independent Matters, ILSR, 8 January 2016
10 Reasons Buying Local is Great for You and the Planet, One Green Planet, 10 August 2018
Minister Ng announces Shop Local investment benefiting Canada’s small businesses, Government of Canada, 21 June 2021
Statement by the Prime Minister on Small Business Week, Prime Minister of Canada, 17 October 2021