North East businesses can put supporting the local economy at the top of their New Year’s resolutions thanks to a new website designed to make buying local easy.
Motivated by discussions with his Business Gateway Aberdeen City & Shire adviser, and the recent Buy Local campaigns, Richard Logie, a global expert on business exchange trading platforms, undertook a soft launch of www.getslocal.uk in December.
With over 1,200 products listed across 23 business sectors, which include Business Goods & Services to Construction, Materials & Contractors, the platform is already being used by over 50 local businesses to buy and sell services with others in the region.
Now, Mr Logie hopes the enthusiasm generated by the many Buy Local campaigns will translate into thousands of companies using the GETS Local platform to help inject money back into the local economy.
He said: “An excellent example of a Buy Local campaign is Buy North East. It made local businesses and people aware of the power of buying local and showed them who was on their doorstep. We wanted to support and bolster this initiative by creating a trading platform to buy and sell. Through multiple discussions with my Business Gateway adviser, Gordon Mackay, I identified this as an opportunity and decided to adapt the existing business exchange technology I’d created to provide a site where local businesses could connect and easily trade with each other. Gordon thought this was a brilliant idea. He is at the coal face and knows the mood of the local business community, so his subsequent support with strategy and marketing gave me the confidence to take the idea forward.
“We now have a local trading platform that is easy to navigate and will help slow the money down. Research has shown for every £100 spent locally £68 stays within the region, and for every £100 spent with a company that has no local presence it all leaves. What GETS Local does is make it easy for North East businesses to find and buy exactly what they need on their doorstep. I like to call it the Karma pound – if you buy local the money will come back to benefit the area, and it will help surround the North East with an economic firewall.”
Gordon Mackay, Business Gateway, said: “Richard is a leader in his field and regularly speaks with heads of Government about new forms of economics. He fully embraced the idea because he’s passionate about safeguarding local economies. With his knowledge and our understanding of the local business community he has created a site that will help keep money that would normally leave the area within the North East.”
Originally an agricultural engineer, Richard became involved in financial services and first read about exchange systems in the 90s. At that time he became aware that numerous companies were having to sell excess stock to only then rent it back, and he realised there was scope for a trading platform that would allow businesses to trade their extra capacity for credit.
Development of the GETS technology started in 1995, he then took it online five years later before suppling it to the International Reciprocal Trade Association for 10 years. He then began selling it directly. Now tens of thousands of businesses across the world, from the Far East to Mexico, America to Australia, trade on platforms created by Richard’s company, The Business Exchange (TBEx).
Richard said: “The whole ethos of exchange platforms is to buy local so tweaking what we already had to create GETS Local was a natural process and straightforward. The online marketplace is much like any other – it’s free to join and works in conjunction with business’ existing purchasing departments. There are also procurement tools designed to help users explore and identify trading opportunities.
“The ultimate aim for GETS Local is to list every locally owned business in Scotland, starting with those in the North East. Imagine if every local business spent just £1 with another local business, the benefits to the local economy would be huge, and we hope GETS Local will be a catalyst to inspire and empower businesses to support each other.”