Sadie Walden, Ingenious Britain
There has been much talk of the high street demise in the UK, but as businesses take an early glance towards the festive period, a new initiative is looking to reinvigorate sales among Britain’s most fragile of sectors.
Small Business Saturday UK is a grassroots campaign encouraging people to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses on December 7th and beyond. The initiative has had incredible successful in the US, last year generating a whopping $5.5 (£3.5) billion in sales to small businesses, and leading to an increase in long term custom.
In the UK, SMEs provide almost two-thirds of private sector employment and almost half of private sector turnover, yet they rarely get the recognition they deserve. This initiative is the perfect opportunity to provide them with that recognition and start getting consumers out of ‘brand mentality’ and shifting their focus onto the small businesses that make their local high street.
The idea was first pitched by shadow secretary of state for business, innovation and skills Chuka Umunna MP in January, and now has the support of prime minister David Cameron, dragon and entrepreneur James Caan, as well as the Federation of Small Business and many Local Authorities and Councils.
The initiative encompasses all businesses; both B2C and B2B companies are getting involved. Although it may seem harder for the latter to make the most out of the day, we are encouraging Saturday clinics for clients and workshops for graduates who wish to get into an industry. The run up to the day itself will be very important for B2B companies, with networking events and lots of opportunities to engage with other businesses. For B2C companies, one time offers or free gift wrapping are being promoted to get shoppers back into their local shops.
There are endless possibilities for all involved, whether businesses, consumers or local authorities! This Christmas, let’s toast to a new era of the ‘shop local’ mentality!
Much of the campaign is taking place on Facebook, so ‘like’ us (www.facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturdayUK) for more information, and follow us on Twitter (@SmallBizSatUK) and use #SmallBizSatUK to get involved!