LET’S BUILD BELLVILLE BACK
A word from our CEO, Warren Hewitt
You’ve probably heard a lot of people talking about local: buying local, supporting local, staying local, so what’s all the fuss about?
The movement to buy local is definitely an outcome of the lockdown reality. Behaviour has shifted to being community-minded both geographically, with the call to stay home, and psychologically, with an increasing need for us to care for one another in the midst of a global pandemic. Struggling businesses need their nearest customers now more than ever. But the localisation message has been brewing for some time in a bigger economic picture.
The rapid rise of globalisation resulted in a series of job losses worldwide and a rise to prominence of countries that exploited cheap labour or resources to undercut the marketplace. The breakdown of the deeply interconnected local manufacturing industry has led to instability across the whole sector and a reliance on imported goods over which businesses had little control and no relationship. The result is a lot of sameness, fewer jobs and fewer skills in the manufacturing sector.
Bellville is an active, thriving business centre, rich with opportunities for businesses to sell to local customers and also to other businesses. It’s a retail hub, where around 85% of businesses are locally owned. In the CBD, around 220 retail companies operate in shopping precincts that range from independent trading communities, to a high street environment, to community malls and up to bigbox shopping centres. In short, for locally owned businesses and consumers looking for great deals, we’ve got it all going on.
Even with these assets as a critical economic node in the metropole, we are presented with a substantial set of challenges right now. I don’t need to outline them because each and every one of us is living out these realities to a greater or lesser extent. There’s no doubt that we’re at a turning point in our history, for our society and economy. In these unusual times, the community of Bellville must navigate new paths.
It can all start with us. Choosing to buy from your local business creates a sustainable economy and a connected community. Choosing to buy locally made goods, food and clothing also helps the whole infrastructure, creating jobs and encouraging more people to become entrepreneurs and create jobs for others.
The Greater Tygerberg Partnership is heeding the call to assist small businesses in reaching local consumers and clients. The Bellville Connect platform delivers an additional solution for SMEs in Bellville to build, grow and thrive. It’s a platform that can facilitate the kind of trade I’m talking about. Local businesses selling to local customers for local growth and development.
Follow Bellville Connect on Facebook or via www.bellvilleconnect.co.za for more information. Join me in a conversation with three thought leaders Bellville Connect is hosting a free webinar about how the buy-local movement can build communities.