How Your Business Can Support Local

Investing in Alberta’s Economy Means Investing in Your Success 

As business owners and leaders, we all started somewhere. We made sacrifices, stayed up late, dug our heels in, navigated through chaos, and worked extremely hard to make our goals become reality. This is the same for most local Alberta businesses. Amidst an ongoing pandemic, we saw many within our own community struggle, and some even close their doors. Especially in today’s times, everyone deserves a helping hand and opportunity for their business to flourish – and there is no better way for us, as neighbours and as fellow business owners, to help them to that by supporting local.

Supporting local is a concept that gets thrown around a lot, but the idea of it is quite simple. It means thinking local in everything you do and in every action you take – in turn, putting money back into neighbouring businesses, your community, and the local economy, too.

As individuals, it could be as simple as buying produce from a local market, taking your family for a homecooked meal at a family-run restaurant, or getting your hair cut at the neighbourhood salon. For businesses, while the concept of supporting local may initially seem slightly more challenging, there are several things you can do: using local companies to source your manufacturing, supplies, and equipment are a few examples.

To date, the local movement has focused mostly on the retail, hospitality, and food and beverage industries. Yet, the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME, 2016) reported that Alberta’s major manufacturing sectors were food commodities (21.7%), chemical commodities (21.1%), and petroleum and coal commodities (20.3%). Manufacturing makes up roughly 5% of Alberta’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product), employing over 100,000 Albertans. So, while an action as simple as sourcing manufacturing locally where possible may seem small, it can significantly impact the lives of your friends, family, and neighbours, and play an essential role in the province’s economic recovery by growing job opportunities and increasing GDP.

Beyond manufacturing, there are several other ways your business can support local, too. We review several of those opportunities below.

Ways Your Business Can Support Local 

  1. Do a Vendor Audit – Audit current vendors and note which are local and which are not local. We recommend working towards having at least a 50/50 split between locally sourced partners and those who extend beyond your community. While you should strive to support 100% local, this is the first step to find immediate opportunities that keep dollars in the province.
  2. Build a ‘Local-First’ Culture – Integrate a ‘local-first’ strategy into business operations. When selecting a vendor, ensure that employees look for businesses in the area first. From an internal perspective, encouraging your employees to seek out and identify opportunities, including volunteer opportunities within the community. After all, local businesses are your neighbours, and your employees probably know of someone who can use support.
  3. Help Local Promotion – Your business is likely quite established and using your platforms like your website or other channels to help promote others is an easy way to support your neighbours. Promoting local vendors, and vice versa, can also help solidify your commitment to the prosperity of your community (i.e., it shows you care!). This is key to generating more economic return in the province and enhancing current business relationships.
  4. Attend Webinars and Digital Networking Opportunities – Networking and attending events will increase your local presence with other business owners. Meeting them and taking the time to get to know them will also help support that business in achieving their goals.
  5. Engage on Social Media – Help promote other businesses by liking, commenting, and sharing their content on social media. By engaging with their social, their organizational messaging reaches new audiences and even potential clients through your network. It’s a small (and free) way to promote local businesses if your organization does not currently need a vendor’s services.
  6. Donate to Local Organizations – Set a leading example and earn tax benefits by donating to local not-for-profits. Promote your donation in conjunction with the not-for-profit to increase awareness of your presence and dedication. This is also a great way to build your ‘local-first’ culture.

By employing some of the easy-to-implement tactics above, you can help ensure the local businesses that you and your family have come to know and appreciate do not have to close their doors. Scaling your business on a foundation of ‘local-first’ can make all the difference to them, and to the local economy, too.

If you want to learn more about how you can help, reach out. We pride ourselves on building local connections to take businesses beyond provincial borders using industry connections and experiences within reach (check out  HYJACK Energy Services which is a great example of this).

At our core, we’re committed to using local resources for our operations. We want to help you to do the same.