Leeds entrepreneur launches new app encouraging shoppers to support local businesses across the nation

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A Leeds-based entrepreneur is launching a new “go-to” app for shoppers who want to support the nation’s independent traders.

'Localize' is the brainchild of Lee Williams, 32, who quit his former job as a regional manager with a security business to develop the app and more than a thousand independent businesses have already signed up to Localize ahead of its official launch on Boxing Day.

The plan is for Localize to help people find and shop with local independent businesses wherever they are in the world, for a monthly membership of £3 that is more than covered by rewards they can access.

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Initially the app will be launched in Leeds and nearby Bradford, as well as London and Surrey, where there has also been enthusiastic take-up from businesses.

The new app encourages shoppers to support local shops.The new app encourages shoppers to support local shops.
The new app encourages shoppers to support local shops.

Mr Williams, who lives in Moortown, said: “I saw a gap in the market for an app targeted at people who prefer to spend their money with independent businesses some time before the Covid-19 pandemic took hold, and since then the idea has made more and more sense.

“Businesses are listed on the app and every listing features a member-exclusive reward for anyone who shops with them. They can set up a Localize account in just five minutes. In these difficult times Localize makes sense not only for businesses but also for individuals who want to support the independents, but who also need to shop smart and save money.”

Among the businesses listed on the app is Farnley-based nail salon Pretty Little Polish. Owner Samantha Ward said: “I think Localize is a great idea. I love the concept and the image and I hope it can help me connect with more customers. The fact that it has no direct cost right now made signing up a no-brainer for me.”

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Mr Williams said he hoped there would be 5,000 business signed up next year and while the focus is currently on the UK there are hopes people can use it abroad or on holiday.

Entrepreneur Lee Williams.Entrepreneur Lee Williams.
Entrepreneur Lee Williams.

He added: “This is the first app to be targeted purely at independents that offers such a wide range of products and services, plus offers and rewards. Our aim is to be the go-to app for anyone who wants to support the UK’s niche and independent shops.

“We expect to expand the service quickly as we grow first in Yorkshire and London and we are hoping that by next summer people will be able to use Localize when on holiday or visiting Spain as we are in talks there."

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