Consumers and businesses in Athlone and within County Westmeath are encouraged to shop local this Christmas, being reminded of the vast range of goods and services they can access on their own doorsteps courtesy of a new Government campaign, ‘Look For Local’.
Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy TD, launched the campaign with the Local Enterprise Office Westmeath to encourage shoppers to ‘Look for Local’ this Christmas following a challenging year for small businesses.
“Ireland’s small businesses are woven into the fabric of our communities, they sponsor our teams, support local events and are central to community life. The ‘Look for Local’ campaign is an opportunity for everyone to support these businesses and think closer to home as we begin our Christmas preparations.
“It’s been a very difficult year for businesses. The Government have assisted thousands of local businesses across the country since the onset of Covid-19 to pivot and change the way they operate. I know many Irish businesses in Westmeath have transformed how they provide goods and services through the Business Continuity Voucher and the Trading Online Voucher from the Local Enterprise Offices and are now open for business over the phone or online.
“Looking to local businesses when and as you can, and by using collection or home delivery services where its available, means you can shop locally and safely in the run up to Christmas, and support local jobs and communities,” Deputy Troy commented.
The Local Enterprise Office Westmeath ‘Look for Local’ campaign, which is funded by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland and the local authorities, aims to highlight small Westmeath businesses in every sector, asking that people continue to build on the recent groundswell of support shown to local businesses when looking to buy goods or services.
Since January, the Local Enterprise Offices nationally have approved over 11,000 Trading Online Vouchers for small businesses, helping them to create or adapt their online trading presence. Over 12,060 Business Continuity Vouchers to small businesses have also been approved so far this year, while over 55,000 people have received Covid-19 specific training or mentoring from their Local Enterprise Office.
Several Local Enterprise Office companies who availed of supports in recent months to help them through the impact of the pandemic were in attendance at the launch, including Rosie Boles of Burgess Department Store in Athlone.
Local businesses lost up to 80 percent of their business when the pandemic hit only to change to an online selling model thanks to a Trading Online Voucher and the Client Stimulus fund from their LEO and who now are getting huge demand online for their products.
The campaign will be promoted by Local Enterprise Offices across the country along with Enterprise Ireland and the local authorities who will all be promoting the ‘Look for Local’ message over the coming months and will highlight Local Enterprise Office client companies across a range of sectors to spotlight the options out there for those who want to ‘Look for Local’ in the coming months
“This has been one of the most challenging years for Irish businesses in recent history. The Local Enterprise Offices have been working closely with thousands of companies and entrepreneurs to provide financial and training supports to help them navigate these unprecedented times. Now we want to try and encourage more consumers, but also businesses, to look local if they require goods or services.
“If they are looking online, we want them to see if there is someone local who can help them and to try to support the small businesses and jobs in their local communities. Small businesses across the country have had to pivot or change their models during this year and now more than ever they deserve our support,” Christine Charlton, Head of Enterprise, said.