Airbnb launches initiative to support SMEs in Joburg 

International home-sharing platform Airbnb has partnered with local payment app SnapScan to launch ‘Support Jozi, Shop Local’. 

The initiative aims to assist the recovery of SMEs in Johannesburg by providing an incentive for people to support small businesses in the city.

 Airbnb has invested over R500 000 in ‘Jozibucks’ to support SMEs recommended by hosts in Joburg

Velma Corcoran, Middle East and Africa Regional Lead for Airbnb explains that supporting local SMEs is crucial to economic recovery for South Africa.

 “Airbnb’s community is known for its passion for spending and supporting local small businesses, and as many guests on Airbnb will know, it’s often their hosts who have the best local recommendations. Initiatives like this help drive local recovery in South Africa while providing an economic lifeline for local families, small businesses and communities. We know local businesses are struggling right now, so together with local Hosts, we want to highlight them and give them the praise they deserve, and encourage everyone to support their community, and shop local.”

Support Jozi, Shop Local

Locals are encouraged to visit recommended small businesses by their hosts through the Airbnb platform and by using the SnapScan app at these suggested locations, individuals can earn cashback vouchers called ‘Jozibucks’. 

These vouchers can be spent in allocated SMEs throughout the month of March and aim to increase overall revenue for these businesses. The initiative provides a platform where SMEs can showcase their services and products, further promoting their offer and hopefully draw in new customers.

Some of the businesses included in this innovative initiative include coffee shops, eateries, hair salons, and more. Some of these small businesses are The Bioscope and Salvation Cafe in Millpark, Home of the Bean in Jeppestown, Victoria Yards in Lorentzville, and Wild Hair in Parkhurst. 

Little Addis (Supplied)

Michelle, owner of The Perfect Cup and a host on Airbnb explains that the campaign offers a lifeline to local small businesses during the pandemic.

“When Hosts on Airbnb recommend small businesses like mine to guests, it really helps everyone thrive! Before Covid-19 I realised there had been an influx of people coming to my coffee shop. I wasn’t sure who was recommending the guests so I asked one of the customers. Turns out they were staying in a home on Airbnb – their hosts told them about my coffee store. ”

Supporting contactless payments by partnering with SnapScan, individuals are able to purchase items or pay for services via the easy-to-use mobile app.

Chris Zeitsman, CEO of SnapScan comments on the launch of Support Jozi Support Local. 

“At SnapScan, we can see first hand the impact the pandemic has had on small businesses across South Africa. The Airbnb Support Jozi initiative not only shines a light on hardworking small business owners but will also generate a real economic impact that directly supports recovery in local communities.” 

Johannesburg SME map

To further the overall plight of the initiative, Airbnb has created a map and guide, in partnership with South African Tourism, IAMJOBURG, CURIOCITY, and Gauteng Tourism Authority. 

The map showcases numerous small businesses in Johannesburg where users can utilise the SnapScan app to spend and earn vouchers as indicated with a Jozibucks pin. 

Sisa Ntshona, CEO at South Africa Tourism explains that the campaign fosters an inclusive economy. 

“This initiative speaks to the work that South African Tourism has been championing throughout the pandemic, to ensure an inclusive recovery of the sector by aiding the SMEs to recover from the pandemic. We are therefore delighted to be working with Airbnb to encourage South Africans to support small businesses. Tourism is a vital instrument for the economic recovery of our country, to help our economy recover, and we applaud this project which aims to inspire locals and visitors alike to explore and spend locally.”

Read more: SA food tech startup launches initiative to support local restaurants
Read more: SA logistics startup goes green with new innovation

Featured image: Salvation Cafe, Johannesburg (Supplied)

Ishani Chetty: Editor
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