In what has been undoubtedly a challenging year for everyone, shopping locally and supporting businesses within our Brighton community has never been more important.
Whilst many local businesses have been forced to close their doors, we have seen a number of larger corporations capitalise on Covid-19, increasing their market share as they became the only option to purchase particular products and services from. Larger businesses actually saw their profits increased by a whopping 35%, whilst their tax bill only increased by 3%! Their growth will have undoubtedly increased over the past 12 months and unless they bring their tax contributions in line with this, it must stop.
The sad matter of the fact is that when shopping with a large business approximately only 40p of every pound spent stays in the local economy, whereas when we shop with small or medium-sized businesses roughly 63p of every pound that stays within the local economy (this figure is significantly higher with smaller businesses). So, as we gradually come out of the pandemic and look to kickstart our local economy, it is crucial to shop locally and support small businesses where possible.
There are significant economic benefits to shopping with local businesses as previously mentioned, but for me the biggest benefit comes from preserving the individuality and culture of the local area. This has arisen from the collective creativity and enthusiasm people bring through their small businesses, supporting the dynamics of an area. Speaking on a personal level, Brighton is so fortunate to have an abundance of amazing local businesses and it is a big priority of mine to support our culture to ensure these businesses are given the support and love they need to recover from the last 12 months. Imagine Brighton without the Lanes? You can’t! It’s the hub of the city’s creativity and every single one of the change makers you find there is a credit to the city and the community we live in.
When we talk about economic recovery and the role small businesses can play to kickstart that growth, it’s paramount to mention the way these small businesses choose to spend the income they get to grow their business. The owners of these businesses are more likely to spend with other small businesses. This circulation of money is vital to ensure that when one small business thrives, so do many others. The way I always view the situation is to remind myself that we have the power to help out locally every time we spend money with a business. Shopping locally can be likened to voting in a ballot. Who we spend it with is us voting with our money and if we want to ensure our local communities thrive, it is important that we choose carefully and wisely about the kinds of business we want to support for the future we want to have.
One of the larger challenges when shopping locally is that we are often unaware of who these small businesses are and what they sell, as they do not have the huge marketing spends that larger businesses have. As a founder of Ethicul, this is something that stuck with me whilst studying Business Management at the University in Brighton. Together with the two other Co-founders, we made it our mission to solve this. We wanted to make it easier for people to shop ethically and locally with independent retailers – and to be rewarded for doing so!
At Ethicul, we showcase amazing ethical independent businesses on our websites and social media, to help spread the word about what they do. Each business has its own story and an ethical edge in the way they operate, care for the planet and grow local communities or boost the social wellbeing of local people. As part of Ethicul we also give something back to every single person that purchases with any of the wonderful businesses we work with. We reward people with ethical tokens for every purchase they make which can then be redeemed for exclusive ethical rewards and products.
So, if you’re thinking, ‘How can I support my local economy?’ check out the Ethicul website where you will find 50 small businesses that are doing business the right way! The website has plenty of information on how you can make small switches from the huge high street chains to kickstart a local economic recovery.