Local businesses like hawker centres don't just support the economy. They contribute to the culture and diversity in Singapore. However, if we are not wary, we might lose these intangible cultural assets that form Singapore’s backbone.
For example, hawker culture is now officially on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list
, exemplifying Singapore’s melting pot of cultures, promoting and preserving a uniquely Singaporean tradition. However, despite being UNESCO recognised, it is a heritage that locals are scrambling to preserve. The government even warned back in 2013
that there is an insufficient number of people joining the hawker industry to maintain the culture.
The pandemic isn’t doing much to help either. 6 in 10 business owners
in Singapore stated that they are struggling to stay afloat due to the pandemic. There has even been a steady decline of hawker businesses - hawkers saw business plunge by up to 50%
due to the outbreak.
So how can we stand in solidarity with local businesses and show our support during these difficult times?
How to Support Local Business in Singapore
It’s certainly no secret that the ongoing pandemic has had a huge negative impact on businesses of all sizes and from all industries. As such, now more than ever, it’s important for us to go out of our way to actively support local businesses. And true to form, many Singaporeans are doing what they can
to help the businesses that need it most.
Beyond the simple act of buying local products, there are small ways you can help the local economy and businesses:
When buying products or seeking out services, use platforms that support retailers or F&B businesses without taking a large cut from their revenue. If you are ordering in, opt for channels that are zero-profit sites like dineinmovement or SG Dabao. Even online marketplaces like Shopee only take commission fees of up to 5%. This way, participating retailers and restaurants will receive full earnings.
Support home-based businesses too. Just like other retailers and hawkers, home-based businesses and the self-employed are just as affected by the lockdown restrictions. Hop onto Instagram, Shopee’s ‘Support Local’ pages, or Promondae.sg and search up small-scale local businesses to lend support.
Buy gift vouchers. They’re a fantastic present for friends and family for birthdays and everything else and simultaneously provide much-needed revenue for the business you buy them from.
If making a purchase isn't feasible, promote their product or service on your socials. This will give them more exposure and reach. Take hawkers, for example, more often than not, those run by the older generation might not have the resources to build on their online presence.
Where to Find Local Businesses to Support in Singapore
Starting a business in Singapore is no easy feat especially with the slew of challenges and restrictions that have risen due to the pandemic. As such, it’s high time we show some solidarity and support them as we all try to adapt to the new normal. If you are not sure where to find these local businesses to support, consider doing the following:
Do a quick online search: A quick search on Google will reveal several lists of local businesses to support. Sites like sethlui.com often feature them on articles like 20 F&B Businesses to Show Your Love for #LoveYourLocalSG. Visa also features small local businesses to support too!
Leverage social media: Did you know that Viola Tan, one of Singapore’s most popular influencers is the founder of Love, Bonito? Social media influencers often tag local businesses and brands in their posts. Be it in the fashion world or beyond, influencers like Andrea Chong are ones to follow.
Local YouTube channels: MothershipSG has a series called “Beyond the Glass Door” where they post fun interviews with local business owners like BreadTalk and Love, Bonito. The local YouTube channel and website also conveys the stories of local businesses like that of Pelyn Tan, a local home baker.
Now you know what you can do and where to find these businesses, head out and make a great impact! Don’t forget to do your part and work alongside the government in supporting the local tourism businesses during these trying times with the SingaporeRediscovers Vouchers and grants. Designed to help hotels, attractions, and tours, the vouchers are aimed at pushing locals to rediscover the local scene and support the tourism business scene as a result. With the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers scheme extended to 31 December 2021, you’ll have more time to use them! If you have no intention of using them before they expire, why not donate them to non-beneficiaries? SingapoRediscovers works with authorised booking partners to support underprivileged children and families in Singapore. For more information on how to donate your vouchers, check out the steps here.