This Singapore website helps small-time businesses endure the economic impact of COVID-19.
With the decrease in people visiting their favourite hangouts during this COVID-19 season, businesses are feeling the pinch.
This is especially the case for small businesses, many of whom may not be able to endure the financial losses to pull through this situation.
Fortunately, a group of Singaporeans has come up with a solution to help businesses tide over this rough patch. ChopeAndSave to the rescue!
ChopeAndSave seeks to provide small businesses with the means to interact with and build a loyal consumer base.
PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM CHOPEANDSAVE
What is ChopeAndSave?
Youth.SG spoke to Nicolette Tan, 27, one of the youths behind the project, to understand what the website was all about.
The civil servant, who is doing this in her personal capacity, said: "ChopeAndSave is the Singaporean adaptation of SaveOurFaves. It is a directory of small businesses around Singapore that offer online gift cards for purchase."
By buying gift cards, people can get a "mini loan" from their store of choice and use them when the situation eases. This offers consumers the chance to continue patronising the store at a later date and helps keep businesses running until then.
Seeing the potential of this solution, the team of five decided to work on a website to "mobilise loyal customers to provide much-needed support for their favourite places in time" amidst the global COVID-19 situation.
The heartwarming fact is that these youths had to juggle this project with their full-time jobs. They made a commitment to extend aid, and continue to keep the website running without being asked.
The ChopeAndSave team (clockwise, from top left: Nicolette Tan, Joshia Seam, Agrim Singh, Aravind Kandiah and Tammie Siew).
PHOTO CREDIT: NICOLETTE TAN
The race to save small-time businesses
The ChopeAndSave initiative was conceived on Mar 23, 2020 and within two days, the website was launched. "Within the first 24 hours, we had more than 3,000 visitors to the site," shared Nicolette.
Even though the initiative is a recent start-up, over 90 businesses have expressed interest in participating. Some were even featured on the SGUnited page.
Currently, the team continues to receive feedback from collaborators and is working to improve their website to better help these businesses.
"It hasn't been easy for these businesses to survive with pre-pandemic recessionary pressure and increasing rentals, and we felt frustrated on their behalf as well," said Nicolette, who has friends running independent businesses in Singapore.
Hope for the future
Paradoxically, the ChopeAndSave team is hoping that there will be no need for their creation soon.
Nicolette said: "If ChopeAndSave shuts down tomorrow because our businesses could get back to business as usual, that's our ideal scenario."
Until then, their primary goal is to lend a helping hand to these small local businesses. And in times such as these, when better than now to help others in need?
"We should put our money where our mouth is and support them before it's too late. Every small business that needs us, we want to be there for them," said Nicolette.
BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/ESTHER LAM