MONCTON – A group of the province’s business leaders, led by Jon and Leslie Manship, have launched a “Buy Local” campaign to promote New Brunswick products at home, and create thousands of additional jobs in the process.
Their private-sector association, Excellence NB, launched the campaign called For the Love of New Brunswick, on Monday in Moncton. It will encourage private and public entities, as well as individuals, to buy more New Brunswick products, services and experiences. The goal is to empower New Brunswickers to power up their own economy.
Manship, the founder of Spielo Gaming International, compares growing a healthy economy to eating well. When we’re choosing nutritious food, he says, we pay attention to where it comes from. He says research was commisioned to measure the impact of shifting spending towards local products, services and experiences.
“The big question was, ‘Would it be meaningful if all New Brunswickers made small changes to purchasing habits, what would it be to our economic nutrition?'” said Manship at the announcement. “There didn’t seem to be much out there in terms of research studies.”
Jon and Leslie reached out to Pierre-Marcel Desjardins, an economist with the Université de Moncton, to measure the impact of such a shift.
Desjardins found that if New Brunswickers shift 5 per cent of spending towards buying local products, services and experience, between 5,000 and 9,000 full-time equivalent jobs could be created annually after five years. That would also generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue annually for education, health care, roads and infrastructure, and social services.
“It can be architect firms, it can be beer producing, there are a lot of products that we can increase production in a three-to-five year time frame without any problems,” said Desjardins. “And in already existing firms, it’s not creating new firms, not developing new products, something that we’re already making, good and services, that we’ll be producing more and employing more people.”
Desjardins also found that making that shift to buying local would add more than $881 million to New Brunswick’s GDP, and generate over $2 billion in additional sales annually after five years.
“When people are hired, they may buy a car. That’s not going to be produced in New Brunswick, but that’s going to generate sales in New Brunswick.”
He said it’s surprising that, in his knowledge, such a research has not been done before in New Brunswick.
“We’ve never really tried to capture what [buying local] would mean. So the speech is there, the discourse is there, but the research, I’ve never seen.”
The Manships also commisioned research by Corporate Research Associates (CRA) on consumer habits and perceptions about local products.
Craig White, the CRA’s Vice President for New Brunswick, says that although New Brunswickers are proud of local products and services, they are not very aware of what is made in the province.
“For residents, where a product is made is not a key consideration yet,” he said. “But really what they looked at was price, quality, recommendations, which sure would seem logical. It’s very similar for businesses, they think of price and quality first. On top of that, people aren’t really sure which products and services, which companies, are New Brunswick made.”
Excellence NB, whose founding member include BrainWorks Razor Marketing, wants to try to change that.
Thomas Raffy, President and CEO of the Conseil économique du Nouveau-Brunswick, is also one of its founding members. He said the organization will offer an online platform that catalogues New Brunswick businesses.
“So if you’re looking for beer, or lobster, chocolate, honey, or anything else, that you can find who in New Brunswick offers that product,” he said.
“It also helps businesses to connect with one another. So as a business you need services, you need products. Instead of having the instinct to look outside of our borders, can we look here in New Brunswick and find a business? It might not be the case, and that’s fine. But if we can help one business here in New Brunswick, then we can create, millions in our economy and create jobs as well.”
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Posted by For the Love of NB / Pour l'amour du NB on Sunday, February 25, 2018