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A $5 university challenge turns into a great way for people to shop locally

WATCH ABOVE: Former Trent University students were given $5 and a challenge to start up a business within five days. Long story short, they did raising more than $6,000 printing a small coupon booklet and getting local businesses involved. Susan Hay explains.

What started off as a university $5 challenge, has turned into a great way for people to shop locally.

“In university, my co-founder and I were given $5 and five days to run a business,” explained Ribat Chowdhury, Co-founder of Ribitt. “We actually printed a small coupon booklet and went up and down the streets and got local shops to participate.”

Long story short, in just five days, Chowdhury and his partner turned their $5 into $6,300 with the simple idea to shop local.

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“I think we broke the North American record for the most money ever made in the challenges history,” said Chowdhury,

The pair took their passion for local businesses and turned it into an innovative idea calling it Ribitt, a free app that brings neighbourhood shops together and connects them with consumers.

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“If you live in an area that’s participating, once you download the app you go from shop to shop gaining points with each purchase,” Chowdhury said. “We are rewarding you for shopping and supporting your local neighbourhood shops.”

“It’s Christmas so this makes us little community stores really happy to have our customers coming back and using us to shop locally,” said Deborah Ross, owner of Simply Beautiful.

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The more points you build, the more money you’ll have to spend.

“I have more than $100 worth of points,” said Tracy Ferguson, a Ribitt user. “I am going to save a bit more, but in the new year when I want to purchase something big, then I will use my points towards that.”

“It’s really nice to reward them for coming in and keeping their dollars in the community and supporting a business like mine,” said Ross.

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“We’re currently in ten neighbourhoods in the west end of Toronto and growing,” said Chowdhury. “Sure there’s Amazon and Big Box Stores, but I think there’s a place for unique local experiences that’s always here to stay and people are now moving towards that.”