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Small Business, Big Rewards #5by20

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These days, it’s quite hip to “shop local” for everything from groceries to large consumer items. And, call me a hipster if you will, but I do try to support a local business owner when deciding where to buy something. The first reason for doing so is entirely selfish — the small business owner knows you and will give you better service. Don’t believe me? Well, just chat with my daughter Stella then, who regularly calls into the local toy store to ask about Lego releases and availability. This store returns her call, answers all her questions, and treats her with respect. (Stella, in turn, is eternally local to them.)

The second reason is mostly selfish too. If the locals don’t support the local businesses, then these businesses shut down. Small business store fronts make a neighbourhood not only look nice but create a walkable lifestyle. Big box stores … not so much. Sure, you might pay a little more for some products at a locally-owned store, but you are probably helping your home’s property value and reducing carbon emissions at the same time!

The third reason is that small businesses have always played a big role in providing women with financial independence. That’s why women of the 1950s started hosting Tupperware Parties — the ability to earn an income, with the flexibility to still manage other household responsibilities. I am a small business owner myself. And have been since 2005. I’m not a bricks and mortar shop, but as I tap away on my laptop, I am sitting right now in a local coffee shop. The owner lets me run a tab, use the wifi, and work away for as long as a I want. This coffee shop is a bit of a hub in our neighbourhood; I’m sure its walls have seen their share of both tears and laughs.

I recognize that everything I’ve written above is from a “position of privilege.” (We white, middle-income folks are always supposed to acknowledge our privilege, so I wouldn’t want to be remiss!) Not everyone has the coin to start up a business, nor do they necessarily have the skills to make it succeed. And yet, the rewards of running a small business are plenty.

Enter the campaign that prompted this post: Coca-Cola’s #5by20. Here’s an overview:

From fruit farmers to artisans to vendors, women around the world are already pillars of our business. We at the Coca-Cola Company are building on that foundation by implementing programs to help women entrepreneurs.

Through 5by20, we are addressing the most common barriers to success women face. We do this by giving them access to business skills training courses, financial services and connections with peers or mentors.

And our goal is the empowerment of 5 million women micro-entrepreneurs by the year 2020.

I dare you to watch this video and not get at least a little misty.

Disclosure: I like this video. And I believe in the power of small business. That’s why I agreed to help share it by writing about it here. Thanks for reading and supporting Coffee with Julie!

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Comments

  1. I agree with you. I live in a lovely little neighbourhood which is lovely because it has all sorts of independent shops. If people regularly shop in the big boxes these shops will close (which frankly – a lot of them already are) and suddenly it won’t be so great around here. I can see this and it frustrates me when other people don’t realize this. Nice to see someone else with the same vision!

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