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Shop Local This Christmas
Jan Harris, Assistant Editor
Taking place on the first Saturday of December, Small Business Saturday celebrates the huge contribution that small businesses make to the British economy and their local communities.

Created by American Express, the first Small Business Saturday started in the US, at a time when the world was recovering from the financial crisis. Taking place on the first weekend after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday has now grown to become a key calendar moment in the US, UK and Australia.

Small Business Saturday is now thought be one of the busiest weekends of the year as it is the first Saturday in the UK after payday for most people and so encourages everyone to start their Christmas shopping.

Small businesses have a combined annual turnover of £2 trillion and also employ 16.3 million people, emphasising the huge contribution that they make to our economy.

Last year customers spent £743m with UK small businesses on Small Business Saturday, an increase of 4.3% on 2016 spending.

Commenting on Small Business Saturday, which is set to take place across the UK tomorrow (Saturday 1 December), Internet Association's UK Executive Director Daniel Dyball said:

“No matter what size or location, small business right across the UK can now reach a truly global customer base. The number of small and medium-size businesses trading online is set to rise to 88 per cent by the end of 2018 - with exporting helping UK SMEs reach the 95 per cent of consumers in advanced economies outside the UK. The internet is the best way to level the playing field for businesses.

"Online sales are also helping to support traditional bricks and mortar businesses. 54 per cent of people prefer ‘click and collect’ over other methods of obtaining their purchases - showing that the internet strengthens bricks and mortar businesses, especially during off-seasons and slow periods."

Mike Cherry, Federation of Small Businesses National Chairman, said:

“In what is the sixth year of Small Business Saturday, it’s great to see that the campaign has been so successful in highlighting and promoting 5.6m small businesses working hard across the UK.

“Up and down the country, many of these firms are facing mounting pressures from increasing business rates, online shopping and future uncertainty post-Brexit while, at the same time contributing so much to their local communities.

“Which is why Small Business Saturday is a great moment to encourage everyone to show their favourite local businesses some love, especially in the run up to the festive season.”

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Director of Small Business Saturday, Michelle Ovens, said:

“Small Business Saturday is a day to recognise the priceless contribution of the small business sector – not just to the UK economy – but to their communities as well; whether through support for schools and hospitals, mentoring or training for other businesses and for the long-term unemployed, and so much more.

“Day in, day out, small businesses find new ways to be innovative, community-minded and capable of thriving in what are undoubtedly challenging times. We urge everyone to go out and shop local this Small Business Saturday, to give something back to the stalwarts of our communities that give us so much in return – our small businesses.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

“More than 99 per cent of businesses in our city are small businesses – and during these challenging times, I am absolutely delighted to support this initiative."

Last year the Ministry of Defence invested over £2.5 billion into small and medium businesses as part of its commitment to make it easier for them to win contracts. In addition, hundreds of small businesses have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging their support for the military community.

So with Christmas fast approaching why don't we support our small businesses by shopping locally in the streets and markets of our villages, towns and cities otherwise our local high street might disappear forever.

Shop Local This Christmas, 30th November 2018, 17:03 PM