The Local Enterprise Offices’ Look for Local campaign was launched today by An Tánaiste, Leo Varadkar along with Damien English T.D. Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Robert Troy, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation and several client companies from across the country who will be hoping consumers Look for Local in the run up to Christmas.Tanaiste Leo Vradkar holding the LookforLocal sign

This is the third phase of the campaign, supported by Enterprise Ireland and the Local Authorities, which began in November 2020, is aimed at asking consumers to Look for Local when they are purchasing gifts, services and experiences this Christmas. It is also encouraging businesses to see what local suppliers may be available to them, particularly with ongoing international supply chain issues.

Research released by the Local Enterprise Offices as part of the Look for Local campaign that took place across the Summer showed that 66% of those consumers surveyed had purchased a local product, gift or service having seen the campaign or other similar shop local campaigns, and that 66% planned to continue to Look for Local again in the future.

The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, said; “The lead up to Christmas is the perfect time to ‘Look for Local’ and support the businesses in your community, who are now entering their second festive period during the pandemic. Our SMEs have shown remarkable fortitude over the past 20 months. They employ over 1 million people and are at the heart of communities across the country. Irish-made goods are renowned for their quality, craftmanship and design. All good reasons to check out what’s on your doorstep when shopping for friends and family this Christmas.”

Damien English, T.D., Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, said; “People have shown that by ‘Looking for Local’ a big impact can be made on communities throughout Ireland by supporting our local businesses. Consumers can enjoy first class products, services, and experiences on their doorstep, and by supporting ‘Look for Local’, they will help ensure positive economic, environmental and societal impacts that will benefit all in the community. Hopefully this will continue in the run up to Christmas and beyond to the benefit our local small businesses and all those talented people who work with them across the country.”

Robert Troy, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation; “Looking for Local has never been easier as we prepare for the Christmas period. With many businesses pivoting online using government supports such as the Trading Online Voucher through the LEOs or Enterprise Ireland’s Online Retail Scheme, we have seen thousands of businesses open their virtual doors, offering a variety of quality gifts and experiences to suit everyone this festive season. This is a crucial time for business, and we can all play our part by thinking local when we can and continuing to support our small local businesses.”

The launch was attended by award winning chef Gráinne Mullins who set up Grá Chocolates at the beginning of the pandemic, Peter Sztal co-founder of Cloud Picker Coffee and Peigin Crowley of Ground Wellbeing, who also set up her business due to a downturn in her profession over the past 20 months. All were supported by their Local Enterprise Office to set up their businesses.4 people holding lookforlocal sign

Since the pandemic began the Local Enterprise Office have helped thousands of small companies get trading online and adapt their business plans through training, mentoring and financial supports as they change to a new way of doing business.

Padraic McElwee, chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices, said; “This is a significant time of year for many small businesses. The weeks leading into Christmas can have a huge impact on a business’ bottom line. What we have seen in the last couple of years is an appreciation of the amazing selection of gifts, services and experiences that are available on our doorstep around the country. So this Christmas we’re asking people to Look for Local where they can. It can have a real impact on a small business and on your local economy, community and jobs in your area.”

Mark Christal, Divisional Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland, said; “Supporting strong, vibrant regional economies is a key goal of Enterprise Ireland. We’ve been proud to support small and medium Irish businesses to pivot during the Covid-19 pandemic, notably through the Online Retail Scheme which this year provided €5m to help the retail sector increase sales and maintain customer relationships through their online platforms. We are delighted to join with the Local Enterprise Offices and Local Authorities to encourage businesses and consumers to ‘Look for Local’ when purchasing gifts and services this December.”

On behalf of the local government sector, Ann Marie Farrelly, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council and Chair of the CCMA Business, Enterprise and Innovation Committee said: "Local authorities are providing a range of supports to businesses alongside initiatives to encourage the public to shop locally this Christmas. Small businesses and retailers are the lifeblood of our cities, towns and villages, providing vital economic activity and employment opportunities and the support of the public is crucial for our local economies. Whether you’re shopping for gifts or searching for seasonal experiences, please ‘Look for Local’ and support local businesses and communities this Christmas."

The campaign will run up to Christmas on national and local media with profiling of small businesses to help spotlight the array of local gifts, services and experiences that are available and encourage people to Look for Local and for businesses to look for local where they can when sourcing materials and goods.

For more information on the campaign go to www.LocalEnterprise.ie/LookforLocal and agencies, businesses and consumers will also be encouraged to use #LookforLocal on social media to help support the campaign.