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Support local: Lockdown start-up SOS partners with inKind to launch Universal Voucher

Kiwi start-up SOS Business has recently partnered with US-based company inKind to launch a Universal Voucher, a win-win for both local businesses and customers.

Back during the country’s first Lockdown, in order to assist businesses facing hardship, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise projects general manager David Downs set up the SOS initiative. Designed to act as an agent for businesses, SOS offered consumers vouchers or gift cards for their favourite local cafe or restaurant, which could be redeemed once Level 4 was lifted.

Since launching, the initiative has not only helped small businesses survive, but has built a community, where the “support local” message remains strong.

More than 2,500 businesses are now on the platform and consumers have bought millions of dollars worth of vouchers to keep their favourite eateries afloat. Maintaining the SOS initiative, inKind founder Johann Moonesinghe is now running the business and has created a Universal Voucher for consumers to purchase. As a restaurateur and tech entrepreneur he can relate to the businesses trying to find their feet.

“SOS provided a massive boost for New Zealand’s local businesses through the COVID pandemic, and inKind’s intention is to supercharge that support. The Universal Voucher was created and launched in New Zealand by the inKind team because the economy is open. It is designed as a win-win for customers and local businesses, as the country looks beyond the pandemic.” he says.

Unique to other vouchers, the Universal Voucher is a win-win for both consumers and businesses. Each voucher purchased nets a 50 percent bonus, for example a $50 voucher offers $75 credit, and a $100 voucher, $150 credit. Customers can redeem the voucher at any of SOS’s businesses who will receive the full fund from the voucher, with the bonus paid for by one of SOS’s generous sponsors.

Downs, who remains an advisor to SOS, says the initiative really is a win for both, with no strings attached

The first round of Universal Vouchers have already been launched and sold out, with $75,000 heading straight into the New Zealand economy. SOS is now preparing for the second release.

The voucher is the first of its type in the world, and due to its early success, inKind plans to expand the programme both in New Zealand and abroad with the help of more corporate sponsors.

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