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Keeping Local Alive: The Importance of Supporting Irish Businesses

by Dan Hinchliffe

“70% of online sales in Ireland are spent abroad”. A powerful statistic shared on the Champion Green’s website and other social media channels. 

The culture of creativity, enterprise and innovation is truly entrenched in Irish society. Education Ireland report Irish people have been behind several life-changing inventions; from the submarine, to colour photography, the portable defibrillator, and chocolate milk! The Irish are known internationally for their inventiveness, resourcefulness and imagination. This can be certainly seen throughout the country which is home to wonderful and unique businesses and their creators.  
The continued domination of multinational retailers has had a real impact on local enterprise across the island. It is now all too easy to have a package delivered within a matter of clicks to your door, explaining why 70% of online purchases are spent abroad. Competing with these multinational retailers who have incredible economies of scale and unlimited resources, is a significant challenge facing Irish businesses.  Over the last number of months Irish business owners have faced new and unexpected challenges. According to Chambers Ireland, the real economic suffering has been unequivocally carried by small and medium enterprises, with businesses reporting up to 60% in immediate revenue loss in 2020.  
Now more than ever before we must pledge to buy local and support local enterprise. Several high-profile initiatives have recently come to light encouraging consumers to divert their spend away from multinational retailers and in turn support local independent Irish businesses. Champion Green is a national movement which encompasses government, industry, business and consumer, and encourages them to support each other to aid the kickstart of local economies. RTE has launched a “Boost My Business” feature, a dedicated editorial section which will showcase local businesses which sustain local communities. The Late Late Show has announced it will showcase small businesses on their show on November 6th to encourage people to buy local in the run up to Christmas.  
Shuppy’s founder, Peter O’Connell, says 
“I am delighted to see such initiatives materialise after such a challenging period for independent Irish businesses. It is easy to become reliant on, and overuse multinational retailers and forget about the rich culture of enterprise and innovation right on our doorstep. While independent businesses may not be able to compete with retailers on delivery time, people need to remember the old saying, good things come to those who wait!”. 
Peter hopes Shuppy can actively contribute to these wonderful initiatives by providing a platform for Irish businesses to access new revenue streams, and global exposure by showcasing them to the Irish abroad. While the Irish diaspora is spread across every corner of the globe, most still have a strong connection with home which transcends generations and would embrace the opportunity to support businesses in their hometowns. 
How can I support local businesses in my area? 
There are many ways to support local businesses in your area during these challenging times.  
Buy Local: 
The most straightforward way to help local businesses is to buy local, particularly in the run-up to Christmas. Ireland is awash with wonderful businesses which foster innovation and underpin local communities. From craftmanship to artistry, boutique hotels and unique experiences, Irish entrepreneurs have a lot to offer. How amazing does a “forest bathing experience in the hills of Donegal” sound?! 
Support an Innovative Business.
During the current period of uncertainty, many businesses have been once again forced to close their doors. At the same time, our resilient businesspeople are finding new and innovative ways to continue operating. Be it through click and collect, takeaway or by offering online shopping, businesses are doing their best to still serve their local communities. Make the effort to find out how businesses in your locality are operating and consider supporting them. While it may be a small gesture, it is a big pledge in helping to maintain local business.  
Follow Your Local Businesses on Social Media:
Many local businesses in Ireland operate under the radar as they may not have marketing budgets to compete with bigger firms. Following your local business on social media, perhaps writing a review, or sharing a post with your followers can help boost their exposure in times when it is needed most.   
Gift local, gift good.
Make present-giving even more special this Christmas, by supporting local businesses.  Two gifts in one! 
Join the Campaign   
Join the Buy Irish campaign and tell your friends and family! Find new and fun initiatives in your locality to let small businesses know their community is behind them! Find out more at https://championgreen.ie/ or visit our soon to launch platform www.shuppy.ie to purchase products, services or experiences from retailers across Ireland. 


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