Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Proud to be a Small Business Saturday champ

I am delighted to share the news that I have been chosen as one of 15 entrepreneurs around the UK to become a new Small Business Saturday champion for 2016.

This means that I'll be promoting this year’s event, on Saturday December 3, and encouraging more of the UK’s 5.4 million small businesses to get involved and take their place in the national spotlight.

Last year I was one of Small Business Saturday’s Small Biz 100, and soon applications will be open for THIS year's #SmallBiz100. I'd urge ANY small businesses to head over to the Small Business Saturday website and register for the newsletter that will let you know when you can apply. While you're there you can also add the details of your business to the website's small business finder.

Small Business Saturday UK website screenshot

Being one of the #SmallBiz100 was a great boost to my business: it gave me the chance to meet and network with some inspiring businesses; a day when my business was promoted nationally across digital media and I met Chancellor George Osborne at a London reception.

Small Business Saturday plays a really important role in focusing on what small businesses can offer in terms of products, services and levels of customer care.

If you think about it, most people in this country either own a small business, work for a small business or know somebody who does! Small, independent businesses add choice and diversity to our high streets and put money into the local economy.

Mike Cherry FSB Small Business Saturday in Burton
Photo; Joanne Cooper Photography
On Small Business Saturday 2015, an estimated £623 million was spent with small businesses across the UK – up £119 million on the previous year.

In Burton, I was part of the team that held a 'flash' small business conga through Burton town centre. We danced through the streets to the town's Market Hall where we were joined by Mike Cherry, himself the owner of a Burton small business and now the national Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses.

Michelle Ovens, Campaign Director for Small Business Saturday UK, said: "Last year, small business owners, local authorities, a wide range of other organisations and members of the public embraced Small Business Saturday more than ever before. This year we aim to reach more people, get more engagement, and encourage more people to support small businesses because of the benefits they offer to both our local and national economies.

"Our Champions have a crucial role to play in mobilising that support and in ensuring that Small Business Saturday comes to life for small business owners in their local areas. They are our feet on the ground.”

As with previous years, events will be planned throughout the UK in the run-up December 3 as well as on the day itself. This year there were will be an expanded nationwide bus tour, details of which will be announced later in the year.

The build up to the fourth annual Small Business Saturday event will include Inspire, a series of free workshops around the country led by prominent small business experts and entrepreneurs. These will also be streamed live online with webcasts available on the Small Business Saturday UK YouTube Channel after each event.

Along with my colleagues in the Burton Small Business group I'm starting to plan events and publicity in the Burton area to help raise awareness of Small Business Saturday and get more businesses involved - so watch this space! Meanwhile, if you have any thoughts and ideas, or want to know more, please get in touch with me.

If you missed our Small Business Conga, enjoy this video below by Red Door Studios.

Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, which benefits from the backing of leading business organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses, Enterprise Nation and Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association.

American Express originally founded the ‘Small Business Saturday’ initiative in the US in 2010 and continues to support the campaign in the UK, as part of its on-going commitment to encourage consumers to shop small. The campaign is also supported by PRS For Music, TalkTalk Business and Vistaprint.