Small businesses in communities around the UK are to be put back in the national spotlight after organisers of the UK’s first Small Business Saturday named Saturday December 6 as the date for this year’s event.
Small Business Saturday is a celebration of small businesses across the UK, both on the day and beyond. Small Business Saturday encourages consumers to “shop local” and support their local communities, as well as giving small businesses a great opportunity for visibility and promotion.
According to research undertaken by campaign supporter American Express in the 24 hours following the UK’s first Small Business Saturday, just under half (48 per cent of UK consumers were aware of the day of which, over half (57 per cent) shopped at a local, independently owned business.
Senior politicians led by the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Ed Milliband; Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne; Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable; Chuka Umunna, the Shadow Business Secretary and Matthew Hancock, the Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise, all took to the streets to encourage consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“I have the utmost admiration for the millions of people who run a small business in this country.
“They are making an enormous contribution to our economic recovery and their hard work and commitment embodies all that is great about the UK. Small Business Saturday is a vital reminder that we need to celebrate small businesses not just on one day, but all year round.”
Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Opposition, said:
“It is fantastic news that Small Business Saturday is returning in 2014, having been such a huge success last year.
“As well as making a huge difference for small firms it was great to see it attract support from consumers and local authorities right across Britain.
“I look forward to Small Business Saturday being even bigger and better this year – a great opportunity to celebrate and promote small businesses and the contribution they make to our national life.”
The Small Business Saturday UK initiative attracted the support of leading business organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses, Association of City and Town Management, Association of Convenience Stores, Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association and Ingenious Britain.
Gordon Millward, Regional Chairman of the FSB, said:
“We are delighted to launch this year’s Small Business Saturday campaign at the FSB National Conference.
“It will be bigger and better this year, supporting thousands of local businesses across the UK on December 6th. Small business Saturday is an opportunity to show government at all levels and consumers why they should support our small firms every day.
“Last year the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) was firmly behind the campaign and we look forward to making this year an even greater celebration of small businesses.”
Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills Vince Cable said:
“The Government is fully behind the Small Business Saturday campaign, which gives people the opportunity to trumpet the valuable contribution they make, not just to the economy but to their local communities.
“This event is an opportunity for you to show support for these businesses and take advantage of the huge array of goods and services they have on offer.”
It also received strong support from a number of corporate supporters, including the founders of Small Business Saturday American Express, who were joined by O2, Lloyds Bank, Natwest and RBS, Make It Cheaper and prominent entrepreneurs James Caan, Piers Linney and Martha Lane Fox.
Commenting on the UK’s first Small Business Saturday, Rafa Marquez, UK Managing Director, American Express, said:
“As the founder of Small Business Saturday, American Express was thrilled to see how consumers really got behind their local small businesses and backed them for this important campaign.
“We’re delighted to see it return for a second year and look forward to working in collaboration with other supporters to build on last year’s successes.”
The research taken after the event in December also showed that some 43 per cent of shoppers chose to do so specifically because of Small Business Saturday.
These consumers spent an average of £33 per person in small businesses, which equated to a total of £468 million across the UK as a whole.
Indeed 45 per cent of those aware of the day who shopped in a small business on December 7 said they spent more than usual, with nearly one in five (19 per cent) saying they had spent at least 50 per cent more than they would have usually done on a typical Saturday.
Commenting Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna MP said:
“When I first called for a British version of Small Business Saturday back in January 2013 I knew it would be popular and a concept people would take to their hearts, yet no one could have predicted the huge impact it has had.
“I will be promoting and taking part in Small Business Saturday this year as it grows from strength to strength. It was great to see so many MPs, local authorities and councillors across Britain getting behind Small Business Saturday 2013, alongside small firms, consumers and business organisations. I’m sure we’ll see even more support this year.”
American Express founded the hugely successful “Small Business Saturday”’ initiative in the U.S. in 2010 and is an active supporter of the programme in the UK, as part of its on-going commitment to encourage consumers to shop small.
Minister for Skills and Enterprise, Matthew Hancock, said:
“Last year’s Small Business Saturday showed the warmth of feeling people have toward the small companies and shops in their community.
“It’s my hope that this year will be even more successful as people take the opportunity to support these vital elements of our economy.”