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Rural small businesses given boost through PayPal and Buy From the Bush ecommerce platform

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Paypal and Buy From the Bush (BFTB) have launched an online marketplace for rural small businesses to expand their reach through ecommerce.

The online marketplace connects bush businesses to consumers in cities around Australia. More than 250 small businesses have already signed up to the BFTB marketplace. Four out of five BFTB businesses are sole traders and 81 per cent are side-businesses.

Paul Ryan, CEO of PayPal Australia, explained that PayPal partnered with BFTB in line with their commitment to rural and small businesses.

“Following a historically challenging year for Australia’s rural small businesses, we reached out to Grace Brennan, founder of Buy From The Bush and asked how we could help.

“Grace explained her goal was to create long-term economic opportunity for rural small businesses – which is aligned with our own values and mission.

“We then mobilised a taskforce of engineers and experts who worked closely with Buy From The Bush to design and build the new marketplace.”

This platform is especially important as the pandemic has spurred a rise in online spending and localised consumption.

PayPal’s August ecommerce Index 2020 found that whilst 54 per cent of Australians had cut their spending (by an average of 11 per cent), 15 per cent had started shopping online for the first time during COVID-19.

Source: PayPal

These trends are also here to stay.

The Index showed that 38 per cent of those surveyed would continue a higher level of ecommerce post-COVID-19 and 37 per cent will make fewer trips to the shops.

COVID-19 has also prompted more Australians to purchase locally.

Around 46 per cent of Australians will continue to buy from local businesses after the pandemic and 39 per cent say they will purchase fewer products that need to be shipped from overseas.

Source: PayPal

“It has been really great to see that Australians do want to support local,” said Alison O’Brien, Head of Merchant Services at PayPal Australia.

“The platform that PayPal provides helps businesses of all sizes to reach consumers.”

Ms O’Brien also noted that ecommerce has provided an opportunity for businesses to expand geographically.

“We know from last year, one in five businesses have started shipping internationally and two in five have started shipping interstate.

“ecommerce has never been more important. It is a safe, efficient and permanent way for people to sell their product.”

This partnership will stimulate business in rural communities that have been devastated by drought, bushfires and COVID-19.

“So many bush businesswomen have told me that online visibility has transformed their hobbies and side hustles into enterprises worthy of investment, especially as the drought, and then COVID-19 dried up their family’s regular income,” said Grace Brennan, Founder of BFTB.

For instance, Coonamble artist, Jillian Kelly, saw a four fold increase in her artwork business’ revenues because of the BFTB initiative.

“One year on after launching Buy From The Bush, the movement has created real relationships between strangers, injected hope into isolated communities, created jobs and undoubtedly saved bush businesses,” said Ms Brennan.

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Ann Wen
Ann is a journalist at Dynamic Business with a background in commercial law and research. She is interested in SME tax law, public policy and Australian innovation.