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Motherland Coffee offers free coffee to protest Starbucks opening

Starbucks opens up its first branch this morning in Rosebank to great fanfare – but not everyone is queuing up to try the coffee. Motherland Coffee has announced that the first 50 customers at its Rosebank store every day from Thursday 21 April until Saturday 23 April will get their coffee on the house.

In a clever marketing move, the coffees are being paid for by Xero, an international company that makes online accounting software for small businesses, which is launching in SA next month. Motherland Coffee’s Seb Schneider explains his reasoning behind the initiative: “As a local café, we’re familiar with the challenges small businesses across South Africa face, and we’re fully behind Xero’s mission to empower small businesses. With Starbucks opening in our neighbourhood today, we’re thrilled to be teaming up with Xero to champion small businesses and entrepreneurs like us.”

In a press release, the two parties said that small business owners are the largest job creators around the world, and locally, small businesses contribute a third of South Africa’s GDP.

The announcement that local company Taste Holdings was bringing the American coffee brand to South Africa was greeted with mixed responses when it was announced in July 2015. Taste, however, has been careful to emphasise its commitment to upliftment in local communities. Partners for the new stores have been recruited from Taste’s Changing Lanes programme, which focuses on giving opportunities to unemployed youth, and the company claims that the new stores will have created 40 new jobs. The group also announced plans to open a Starbucks training store in Linbro Park, to pass on training that local partners have received overseas.

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