Travel website founder pools team resources to support local businesses with innovative digital voucher scheme

Founder of much-lauded familytraveller.com, Andrew Dent, today announces the launch of a not-for-profit website aimed at helping smaller local businesses to survive the enforced Covid-19 lockdown. Amidst widespread economic downturn, Dent has pooled resources with industry contacts to provide a vital route-to-cashflow for local enterprises.

Savinglocal.com is an e-commerce platform that allows consumers to buy vouchers for their favourite local shops, restaurants, pubs, yoga centres and more. The vouchers can be redeemed against future goods or services once restrictions on movement are eased. It is a not-for-profit entity where 100% of all voucher revenue goes directly to the chosen business (less credit card fees).

The site has been created with the aim of keeping many small companies afloat during lockdown by creating an ‘intent to buy’ scheme driving cash flow through to businesses materially affected by the government enforced lockdown. 

Dent, who is currently isolating in New Zealand, came up with the idea after seeing a similar business model launched on local TV (sosbusiness.nz) by entrepreneur David Downs. “The next two to four weeks will be the real crunch for businesses as they start to run out of any cash reserves they may have had. The announcement on April 16th of a further three weeks of enforced lock down, is further evidence that this scheme is needed right now.” says Dent. “A healthy local high street and community is vital, never more so than now, and we believe this platform could be a lifeline for many smaller outlets that otherwise might not survive.”

While the ‘buy local’ movement has been steadily gathering momentum for some time, it has thus far seen most success in the UK in regional pockets. Dent’s objective with SavingLocal.com is to build it into a national movement, and one that supports future sustainability beyond the immediate situation.

Commenting, Dent says: “We want to raise awareness with businesses across the country that could benefit from community investment. We encourage them to list themselves on the site. Equally we encourage consumers to nominate those businesses they want to see survive the lock down. ‘

“As a small business manager myself this is a passion project: given my experience with building digital communities, and my co founder’s e-commerce background, we feel well-placed to launch this. It’s an opportunity to apply my time and mobilise my existing skill set and network productively to help those facing similar issues. We want to support the UK government by helping more small businesses to survive.”

In line with many other businesses, Savinglocal.com intends to include the option of donating vouchers to local NHS or care workers as part of its plight. 

Dent concludes “Savinglocal.com could play a strong part in the UK’s recovery post crisis, by ensuring on going local employment, and ultimately driving tax payments by business.”

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