Small Business Saturday sweeps the nation’s high streets » SMEInsider

Small Business Saturday sweeps the nation’s high streets

After months of hype and excitement, Small Business Saturday finally hit the nation’s high streets this weekend as millions of people came out in support of their local shops.

The UK’s largest small business event got underway on the 5th December, with local traders, politicians and small business groups showing their support.

Anna Soubry, Minister of State for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, was in Beeston, Nottinghamshire supporting a range of local businesses.

Soubry has been a huge supporter of Small Business Saturday. In July, she met with a number of small businesses leaders to discuss how they can build on last year’s success.

In 2014, 16.5 million adults went out to support a small business on Small Business Saturday with 64 per cent of the UK aware of the campaign.

“Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to come together as one nation and get behind the small businesses which form the backbone of our economy and employ 12 million people across the UK,” said the minister.

Another politician that came out in support of small business Saturday was shadow home secretary Andy Burnham. The minister visited his local butchers, a business which he blamed for his double chin.

Michelle Ovens, founder and national campaign director for Small Business Saturday, was in the nation’s capital celebrating her and her team’s hard work, which included a month-long nationwide bus tour in order to raise the profile of the event.

A number of small business owners noticed an increase in customers on Saturday, with Colin Telford of Hayling Island Bookshop in Portsmouth handing out free books to celebrate the occasion.

“It was quite busy, certainly in the morning – it was a busy day. It was great that the council gave three hours of free parking across the whole borough,” said Telford.

Free parking was certainly a contributing factor to the success of the event. Last month, SME Insider reported that two North Somerset councillors had campaigned to get free parking in their high street on the day of the event. It seems like North Somerset and a number of other local councils were able to provide free parking on the day.

In Brighton, everyone was getting involved in the action, including its local football team Brighton and Hove Albion. Club legend Bobby Zamora and his team helped kick off the festivities in the high street.

Chancellor George Osborne also joined in the celebrations, attending the Small Business Saturday Christmas  fair at the Treasury.

Sixteen small businesses representing the UK’s “Northern Powerhouse” showcased their products and services in specially constructed chalets at the Fair, which was praised by the chancellor.

“Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity to champion some of the brilliant entrepreneurs and firms we have in this country and make sure everyone is aware of the powerful role they play,” said the chancellor.

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“Small Business Saturday has become an exceptional example of collaboration and co-operation with small businesses teaming up in communities around the UK,” explained campaign director Michelle Ovens.

“We aim to showcase the level of diversity, innovation and talent that is active within our small business sector. Small Business Saturday works towards persuading people to get out and support their friends, neighbours and family members and reinforce local communities and economies,” concluded Ovens.

Official attendance numbers for the event are yet to be released, but many are predicting that this could be a record breaking year for Small Business Saturday.