Online portal to support local products

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Buying locally made products and services not only creates jobs but also changes the face of the economy, says entrepreneur Sihle Magubane.

The coffee originator, roaster and barista, Magubane, on Tuesday urged South Africans to buy South African products.

“I’m not saying boycott other products. Let’s support local businesses and change our economy,” said the Sihle’s Brew founder.

Magubane was speaking at the launch of the website at the SABC offices in Johannesburg.

The online portal, which is the first site of its kind, was created not only to assist small, medium and even large local businesses to sell more, but it was also built using only South African suppliers and service providers, and is the brainchild of RSA Made and Proudly South African.

The online store provides South African products - ranging from toys, food, clothing, health and beauty products from 140 vendors.

“When you support platforms like this, you are actually creating jobs and allow us to not only grow our brands but to also employ more people,” said Magubane.

“We urge everyone to support this kind of initiative.”

The entrepreneur became a Proudly SA member in 2014 and currently employs five full time staff.

“Through that I’ve managed to grow my business from strength to strength. We are growing as a brand. Proudly SA helped my company with access to markets, while we were also funded with machinery from government,” he said.

The launch of the website - which will bring high quality locally made products a click closer to South Africans - will help in the fight against inequality, unemployment and poverty.

Speaking at the launch, Proudly SA Chief Executive Officer Eustace Mashimbye said it is crucial to support local business in order to grow the economy and create much-needed jobs.

“We must stimulate demand for locally made products,” said Mashimbye, adding that buying local campaigns are not unique to South Africa as other countries including the US have used them to grow their economy and create jobs.

Mashimbye said while some Proudly SA members still believe in taking their products to the traditional markets, others are embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Proudly SA vets and verifies local content and quality and all vendor companies on the website adhere to labour and environmental legislation that form part of the terms of Proudly SA membership.

“We need members to embrace the fact that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is here. We are in a digital area,” he said.

South Africa currently has an active online shopping population of over 18 million, who spend between 30 minutes and over three hours shopping online, racking up sales of R37.1 billion in 2017.

“Every single product that is on the site that will be offered to consumers will have to confirm to high quality standards, and in the process we know that new jobs will be created,” he said.

Proudly SA seeks to influence procurement in public and private sectors, to increase local production, influence consumers to buy local and stimulate job creation in line with government’s plans to revive the economy under the New Growth Path (NDP).

Proudly SA also dispelled the notion that membership of Proudly SA is expensive, adding that membership fees were significantly reduced as of April 2017.

It is envisaged that the website will also include services in the future that South Africans can buy. Mashimbye said the creation of an app to complement the website is also in the pipeline. –