Champion Green, the national movement to drive recovery of small business, has launched its 2021 programme in support of the local economy.

New plans for Champion Green include a local loyalty app and a National Champion Green Week, all of which will encourage and reward consumer support for local brands and businesses, as well as facilitating SME recovery.

The initiative is backed by a €1m investment to drive consumer support for local enterprise and to help SMEs adapt their businesses.

Champion Green aims to encourage the public to shop locally to help businesses in the community bounce back from the impact of the coronavirus.

The new campaign is supported by Kilkenny Design and Visa, in association with Retail Excellence, the Small Firms Association and Chambers Ireland.

Marian O'Gorman said Champion Green's continuing priority is to drive the renewal of local communities and local enterprise.

"Change is in the air as we look forward to the country reopening in the coming months," Ms O'Gorman said.

"We are encouraging business owners to keep their spirits high, keep driving their business online, and grasp the green shoots of recovery," she added.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said that this year's St Patrick's Day will be a lot different than previous years unfortunately, but we can still make the most of it.  

"A great way to celebrate would be to support your local businesses, and this Champion Green campaign is a great reminder to people to consider what is on their doorstep and shop local," Mr Varadkar said. 

"Hope is on the horizon. There will be brighter days ahead and, in the meantime, we need to all look after each other and support our local communities," he added.

Recent research commissioned by Visa showed that consumers are keen to support local business wherever possible, with 75% of people saying they feel better about themselves when shopping locally. 

Businesses and service providers across Ireland are rallying to support the renewal of small firms. 

An Post created a Champion Green postmark and display material for Post Offices, encouraging people to shop locally, while also providing parcel delivery support to local businesses newly adapting to ecommerce.