Coronavirus - help economy with an app?

Hi Guys,
since the outbreak of the Coronavirus I was thinking that perhaps it could help the economy (but actually at the end the people with small business) to continue spending money as usual.
I mean, just donating money to small business without receiving the goods. For example, let’s say 1 x month 15 chf to the barber, 1 x week a lunch (15 chf or so) to our usual restaurant / cafeteria, 2-3 x week a coffee in our preferred bar, and so on.
Perhaps it will not be a lot, but it could help these business.
Unfortunately my computer knowledge is very basic, but I know here are some developers…should we unite our forces and save the world? (and our investment :smiley: )

1 Like

I think vouchers would be a better idea. Maybe with the option of paying an increased “solidarity price” or something?

  1. I don’t think people will want to donate lots of money to a business. Especially right now with a lot of economic uncertainty.
  2. I think that individual donations should mostly not be aimed at people in the developed world. Even if this does bankrupt some business, these people will still live in one of the richest countries with one of the most generous social security system. It would be a better idea to keep donating to underdeveloped countries (e.g. https://www.givewell.org/charities/top-charities).

Vouchers would help pay bills now but people would still get something in return. Obviously this will reduce the income a small business will make after measures are lifted or eased.
But there will be financial aid dripping in either way, so the urgent issue right now is liquidity and that is something that a quick voucher plan could fix.

4 Likes

Apparently some people think it’s not a good idea (sorry can’t find a good source, but saw it mentioned in various discussions from people at least from restaurant side), it brings cash flow now, but the liability still exists. I’d expect small businesses will get gov loans for cash flow instead.

For sure, I don’t think this is a great long-term idea. But it might be able to produce liquidity faster than governments can (because they need to vet any demand first).
I don’t think the liability is a problem, per se. If we could time the vouchers right, it could temporarily create liquidity. Businesses would obviously be free to offer as many vouchers as they feel comfortable to issue.

I guess the most important question might be “When do we suspect that business will more or less resume? In 2 Months or in a year?”

  • This uncertainty makes it difficult to set the right timeframe for the validity of the voucher.
  • But this also calls into question in how sensible it is for individuals to support currently-non-productive business at all. If we expect them to have to shut down for a year, everyone would be better off if the affected business just seeked out other markets or job opportunities. And then later on decide whether they want to return to their original business.
1 Like

Seems the voucher approach has picked up - at least with some businesses.
The best (IMHO) cafe in town started a campaign on social media, offering vouchers 10/20/50CHF.

Another way to attract customers could be some “benefit” for supporting them this way, like 10% discount on the cash-to-voucher value or such. :slight_smile:

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