“Our local customers are very loyal to us, and we couldn’t do what we do without them.” Founder of GIY in Waterford, Michael Kelly, understands the importance of local support.
 
‘Look for Local’ is a new campaign by the Local Enterprise Offices, launched by the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar which asks consumers to look local when they are shopping for products, services and experiences this Summer.
 
Every €10 spent locally on Irish products generates more than €40 of benefit to the local community, and research that was carried out in November 2020 showed that Irish consumers were 83% more likely to look local for products and services in 2021.
 
GIY Ireland is an organisation created in Waterford which aims to give its members the skills and confidence needed to grow their own vegetables and fruit successfully. Michael has been a client of the Local Enterprise Office Waterford for a number of years and said, “The LEO has been a huge supporter of ours since day one and I think they understood GIY and particularly the complexities and nuances of what a social enterprise meant before most.  We have obviously found the various grants and funding streams incredibly useful, but also the mentoring and support we’ve received has been very important for the strategic direction and growth of the organization.”
 
“Our business is increasingly global in nature, with significant activities in the UK, but the local market is hugely important for GROW HQ which is the home of GIY and our food education centre here in Waterford.  Our local customers are very loyal to us and we couldn’t do what we do without them.  I also feel they are our greatest word of mouth advocates.”
 
The Look for Local campaign, supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities, aims to raise awareness of the benefit of spending in your local area. This campaign seeks to strengthen that sentiment and to educate consumers on the domino effect that local spending has throughout their community.
 
Brid Kirby, Senior Enterprise Development Officer at the Local Enterprise Office Waterford stresses the importance of the campaign, “Now, more than ever supporting local is important.  Small businesses have had to make huge sacrifices over the last 18 months.  Over the coming months if we, as consumers, can make a concerted effort to look for local we’ll be helping these businesses get back to on their feet and thrive.”
 
It has been a difficult year for GIY Ireland but Michael is optimistic for the future, “GROW HQ was closed or operating under severe restrictions for most of the last year, which was very difficult for our team but we adapted and innovated, creating new click and collect and Food Truck offerings.  We also moved our education programme online which has actually created a huge opportunity for us to scale.”
 
The Local Enterprise Office ‘Look for Local’ campaign will run throughout the Summer and will continue until the end of the year to help spotlight local businesses across the country and encourage people to Look for Local.
 
For more information on the campaign go to www.LocalEnterprise.ie/LookforLocal and agencies, businesses and consumers will also be encouraged to use #LookforLocal on social media to help support the campaign.