A national roadshow to support and raise the profile of small businesses all around the country is being launched by Small Business Saturday to help firms cope with persistent economic challenges.
With an aim to spotlight and celebrate the vital contribution of the nation’s 5.5 million small businesses to the economy and local communities, ‘The Tour’ will set off in Inverness, Scotland on today and go on to visit over 20 towns and cities before finishing in London shortly ahead of Small Business Saturday on 2 December.
In its second decade in the UK, Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, non-profit campaign, which celebrates small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and to support businesses in their communities.
Once again supported by BT Skills for Tomorrow, Small Business Saturday’s roadshow will travel the length and breadth of the country and visit 23 locations including city centres like Newcastle, Exeter, and Belfast, to coastal communities such as Whitstable, and small towns like Knowle.
And with sustainability high on the agenda for small businesses, ‘The Tour’ will make use of electric vehicles to reduce emissions and reflect the sustainable switches many business owners are making as part of their vital role in the race to net zero. This will include touring with a state-of-the-art eco-friendly electric bike – the Electro Ride X – from innovative London electric motorbike company, Stirling Eco.
Sarah White, founder of a photography business based in Chester, is just one of the many small business owners who will be profiled as part of the roadshow when it visits her town.
She said: “I am really excited to be holding an event in Chester for small business owners on the day that the Small Business Saturday team come to visit.
“I want everyone to know how many amazing businesses we have in this area, and I want to introduce those businesses to the fantastic support that they can get from Small Business Saturday.”
Another business The Tour will visit is Calibrated Concepts, a web design company based in Belfast, founded by Ellie McBride.
And she said: “The Small Business Saturday campaign is such a fantastic way to shine a light on the creativity and resilience of small businesses through the challenges we’ve been facing this year.
“I can’t wait for The Tour to come to Belfast. I’ll be offering free Simplicity Sessions – quick 20-minute check-ins to help business owners free up time and space.
“I’m also looking forward to connecting with fellow entrepreneurs and seeing what inspiring stuff they’re up to.”
There will also be opportunities for business owners across the UK to take part in Small Business Saturday’s wider online programme of free business support that is being offered as part of The Tour.
Virtual workshops and webinars on a range of business topics will be offered each day, as well as free one-to-one mentoring and opportunities for entrepreneurs to tell their stories, and network on Small Business Saturday’s social media channels.
Michelle Ovens CBE, Director of Small Business Saturday UK, said: “We are thrilled to visit small businesses all across the UK on this year’s Tour as we count down to Small Business Saturday.
“With the campaign this year, we want to shine a light on the nation’s fantastic small firms and instil a real sense of optimism for next year, especially at a time when many entrepreneurs are struggling with some persistent economic challenges. I encourage everyone to support their favourite small businesses, in person and online, during the campaign and all year round.”
A Small Business Happy Hour on Instagram will also take place every week, with giveaways from local businesses all over the country.
Chris Sims, BT’s Managing Director for Small and Medium Business, said: “Small Business Saturday is a fantastic initiative that empowers entrepreneurs to tackle the biggest challenges they are facing today. This year small businesses can access specialist mentoring and support, giving them tailored guidance on issues ranging from effective marketing to cyber security.”
“As the tour enters its second decade, we are proud to be partnering with Small Business Saturday on this initiative again through our Skills for Tomorrow program, which has helped over one million entrepreneurs grow their small businesses with free digital skills training.”