When I started Buy From The Bush (BFTB) I never anticipated an Instagram account could start a national movement that changed the lives of thousands of people living through drought across rural Australia.
In the two years since its inception, I’m proud to see that BFTB has evolved into a successful purpose-driven business with more than 550,000 followers across Facebook and Instagram and even more importantly, generated $9 million in revenue for rural small businesses.
Today I want to share a new report in partnership with Meta which looks at the longer term impacts of BFTB on rural businesses and communities. The report draws on three main sources including BFTB commissioned research by YouGov, data from the BFTB Marketplace and survey responses from our loyal Instagram followers. In the report we found:
BFTB promotes the growth of female-led businesses which diversify regional economies
BFTB has shown how digital tools like social media can empower entrepreneurs, and in particular, women, to launch and scale businesses from remote communities. YouGov found that seven in ten (70%) rural SMB respondents agree that online/digital businesses have helped women in the regions gain economic security.
Digitally-enabled small businesses can crisis-proof rural communities
BFTB was launched on Instagram when regional Australia was in the grip of one of the worst droughts on record. Soon afterward, the global Covid-19 pandemic arrived and made the notion of crisis-proofing economies even more relevant to all Australians. More than six in ten (62%) SMB owners and managers agree that digitally enabled SMBs can help crisis-proof rural communities.
BFTB is broadening people’s perception of rural Australia’s potential beyond the farm gate
BFTB has created a powerful platform to showcase the breadth of enterprise in regional communities and drive new growth in non-traditional industries like e-commerce. This produces tangible benefits for bush businesses. In fact, social media drove 36% of all users to the BFTB website in the last 12 months, and when we asked our Instagram followers what they thought about us, 70% said that we had changed their perception of rural communities.
The report also looks into the impact that the initiative had on five businesses including Peggy & Twig (Trangie, NSW), Emmanate Creative (Dubbo, NSW), Perennialle Plants (Canowindra, NSW), Singing Magpie Produce (The Riverland, SA) and PHYLLi Designs (Scone, NSW).