It’s the beginning of the year, and as usual, almost everyone makes resolutions to experience a change, an improvement in life. These resolutions are not only personal; they could also be collective.

In that vein, I’d like to suggest a resolution that we can make together as a community in order to boost local entrepreneurship, or local content as it’s often referred to.

Many of us complain that our economy is bent outward, and that it is widely run by foreigners. But is it enough to complain? Can we also be, or become, the change we want to see?

Nowadays, supermarkets abound in our cities, and that’s a good thing, given the many advantages and facilities they come with. However, we as consumers have developed a habit which is slowly leading to the loss of local content in our economy.

Buying from supermarkets what we can buy in local shops is actually damaging the business of our local merchants and entrepreneurs, who are struggling in a not-so-easy environment.

Please note that this is not a call to boycott supermarkets, or to avoid buying from them. Let’s get the facts straight. Some items can only be found in supermarkets, not in local shops. But for others, we can make an effort – because, yes, it will take an effort – to purchase them from our people and so encourage them.

It’s true that supermarkets are better equipped, well fitted, apparently cleaner, and we feel comfortable in there; but sometimes the prices we pay there also include a ratio for these amenities. And so, you’d be surprised to discover that some (and I mean some) items are less expensive in local shops than in department stores.

Here another fact: Have you noticed that we tend to be less price-conscious in supermarkets? Have you also noticed that when we are given change money by cashiers, we only quickly check the change in foreign currency, and when it comes to local currency, we barely take the time to check what is written on the invoice or the amount we are given back?

That’s a clue! And yet, we would behave differently if we were in a local shop. Supermarkets have a kind of environment that pushes people to act like they are well-off, giving without counting. Yet, we know that the rich are said to strictly manage every penny they got!

When we go to local shops, we wouldn’t certainly be exposed to such an environment that stirs our ego to spend thoughtlessly. As a result, we would manage our finances even better. Managing our finances better; isn’t that a resolution that almost everyone has at the beginning of the year?

We can pursue a common and patriotic goal by committing ourselves to support these fellow-citizens who are in business to help them grow their nascent businesses.

In addition to purchasing from their shops, we can also initiate conversations with them with the noble purpose of encouraging them to grow and develop. We certainly have ideas to share about their businesses, and sometimes we have skills and advice that we can share to help them improve their services, their layout, their accounting, their communication, etc.

Therefore, in pursuing a collective goal, by making a decision to help our people, even if they don’t always offer us in return a better service, a better environment, or even a better price, we can also manage to get some personal benefit, while contributing to the change we want to see and the rising of local entrepreneurs.

On behalf of Kalda Group,

Happy New Year 2024!

Daniel K. Kalonji