Boosting Local Consumption: The Program that Will ...

Boosting Local Consumption: The Program that Will Strengthen Small Businesses

The world is facing conditions that hinder economic development, yet Aguascalientes has made the most of adversity and transformed it into opportunities.

The Aguascalientes Government implemented a $5.8 million strategy to strengthen eight sectors (from small to medium-sized businesses) that are key to the state’s economy, a measure to curb negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This Reactivation Plan, in which the Departments of Economic Development (SEDEC), Rural Development and Agribusiness (SEDRAE), Tourism (SECTUR) have an active participation, has helped to keep and create 33,550 jobs.

The Reactivation Plan envisages, in an early phase, a program to boost local consumption and electronic commerce that is mainly directed at the over 60 thousand micro, small, and medium-sized businesses. They represent one of the most important branches of local economy as they contribute with 28.1 percent to the Gross Domestic Product and account for almost 71% of the total jobs in the state.

Much has been said about large companies that promote economic growth, but small and medium-sized companies are relevant, too. In most large-scale economies there is a correlation between maturity and strength in small businesses, because they tend to develop in a better way, said Luis Arturo Cabrera, Undersecretary of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Businesses of Aguascalientes.

Cabrera, an expert in business innovation, high-impact entrepreneurship, and business acceleration, explains that there is a megatrend that considers globalization as a phenomenon that exerts a negative impact on companies, which is why a number of markets started betting on local commerce. This decision has—evidently—become even more popular due to the health contingency. 

Therefore, according to Cabrera, a program to promote local consumption was launched.  It encompasses three great strategies that promise to take small businesses to the next level.

Our Land, Strengthened Grocery Stores

In modern Mexican history, grocery stores have performed a social function that has not quite been understood. They represent the proximity market and the source of profit of the neighborhood, but it is also the epicenter of the community.

Taking as a starting point the role that these economic units represent, SEDEC has deemed necessary to give them a boost through a strategy that is based on several pillars.

One of them consists in homogenizing the facades of shops with a design named “La Tiendita Tierra Nuestra” (Little Shop, Our Land). The objective is to restore the concept of “neighborhood shop,” or “mom-and-pop store”, so that local citizens can easily identify them. The “Made in Aguascalientes” display will also be placed at these stores to indicate that brands belonging to this certification are sold there.

Moreover, store owners will have access to specialized training in a variety of fields like point-of-sales promotion, costs, customer service, and digitalization.

Other benefits of La Tiendita Tierra Nuestra include access to a digital platform that will allow owners to buy from wholesalers and the installation of sales terminals to enable them to reach new markets.

Fifty stores in the capital city will be getting the service in a first stage led by Comex, Coca-Cola, and Grupo Modelo, three of the project’s strategic allies that will provide the paint and neon lights. On its part, CANACO SERVYTUR AGS will be channeling businesses to the Department and will create joint strategies to raise awareness about the importance of strengthening the local economy.

This intervention is set to begin in the last quarter of 2020, and the idea is to replicate and increase the program in 350 economic units, which roughly represent 10 percent of all grocery stores in the state of Aguascalientes.

The New ‘Made in Aguascalientes’ Certification

Made in Aguascalientes is a distinction promoted by the present administration to identify and support business owners. The distinction certifies quality standards and helps to promote products in local and national events like Expo Café or the ANTAD Trade Fair.

With the launch of the Economic Reactivation Plan, the Made in Aguascalientes distinction now becomes a certification. This means that the benefits of existing associates who have not met the necessary requirements to become certified will be limited.

Brands that obtain the Made in Aguascalientes certification will:

  • have presence in the best local and national expos
  • be given access to the online marketplace operator Mercado Libre
  • get training and financial incentives like NOM-035 standard or the Distintivo H certification 
  • get a 10-point lead to obtain loans from the Financing System of Aguascalientes and the PROMIPYME program. 
  • be included in a coaching and continuous improvement program to increase competitiveness

Mentors for Aguascalientes

This strategy intends to make mentorship services available to small business owners, breaking the paradigm that this type of resources are exclusive to the business elite. 

Mentors for Aguascalientes will be a technology-based platform that will provide micro, small, and medium-sized companies (MSMEs) with a catalogue of free training course offered by international companies and world-renowned firms. The program will also include interactive spaces to solve questions and clarify doubts, hence maximizing business owners’ success potential.

The training is made up of a 28-hour common core in which participants are given a general overview of MSMEs, followed by 12-hour specialization courses in different industries. At the end of the program, participants get a certificate that is part of the requirements to obtain the “Made in Aguascalientes” distinction.