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The Benefits of Supporting the Maker Movement

One of the most socially crucial things we can do to help our local community is back its maker movement, according to Madulthood.

At Fab Lab FACENS.

Fab Lab FACENS in Sorocaba.

There’s a false belief, especially in developing nations, that local manufacturers (or goods) are inferior to imported ones. People care about where their goods are sourced. As a matter of fact, an article on Jakpat points out that more than half of the consumers in Indonesia take a little extra time to see where the product is made before buying. This type of mindset has contributed to an international maker movement phenomenon that directs customers away from major vendors and into local and continental business.

Professor Wilton Sousa at his students' robotics lab in the Colégio Christus in Fortaleza.

Professor Wilton Sousa at his students’ robotics lab at the Colégio Christus in Fortaleza.

There are local business professionals who exclusively present us with advantages we can’t get from big corporations. Here are some reasons why – in most cases – supporting local products is the way to go:

 

Local Business is More Personal and Provides Better Customer Service

By choosing local, we get a more personal connection with the women and men behind the product. We build the financial aspect of our community and celebrate its success as much as look forward to what’s in store in the future.

Pronto 3D, a Fab Lab in Florianópolis.

Pronto 3D, a Fab Lab in Florianópolis.

Transportation, gaming, and, of course, the overall landscape of technology have seen a bevy of European companies that have started small and achieve unbelievably great things in the business world. In the UK, for example, the online gaming company Gala Coral, which owns themed slot machine specialists Gala Bingo, has bagged prestigious industry awards including best mobile experience, as well as Gaming Intelligence’s Socially Responsible Operator of the Year. From starting out as a small bookmaking company way back in the 1920s, Gala Coral is now one of the biggest operators not just in Europe, but the whole world.

Kids designed their own robot during a workshop hosted by RoboLivre in Recife.

Kids design their own robot during a workshop hosted by RoboLivre in Recife.

Many of these local businesses have exemplary customer service. As consumers, we’re practically linked to every employee of every business we patronize, making it simple to voice our concerns and for them to provide the needed solutions. In addition, the consumer can be confident of the business’s professional sincerity and honesty, assuring us that whatever problems we have, they will be taken seriously.

Miriam Engle with Rodrigo Sousa and Enoque Alves of Santarém at FISL 17 in Porto Alegre.

Miriam Engle with Rodrigo Sousa and Enoque Alves of Santarém at FISL17, the annual open software convention in Porto Alegre.

 

Local Business Provides Homegrown Identity and Improves the Economy

Another advantage of championing the maker movement is that it improves our economy–particularly by improving the lives of the small people behind the product. In Slovenia, for instance, there’s Olaf, a homegrown kick scooter brand that aims to design, innovate, and develop this well-liked commuting staple.

Based on a study by AmIBA, for every dollar spent on local business in a Chicago neighborhood, “$0.68 cents of additional local economic return is ultimately generated after additional spending cycles,” whereas only $.43 cents is generated by their chain competitors. This dichotomy highlights the popular phrase of the “rich getting richer” and entices us to balance the scale, so to speak, in terms of the choices we make when buying.

Fab Lab FACENS again--support your local maker scene!

Fab Lab FACENS again–support your local maker scene!

To add to the economic factors, small-scale firms give our city or our country a clear identity. We’ll have more options to choose from, attracting tourists – both domestic and international – in the process. Moreover, this diversity maintains and protects our respective communities’ distinctiveness.

 

Editorial Note: Many thanks to guest writer Aaron McLean for the contributing article text. Photographs by Miriam Engle.

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