A NATIONAL roadshow to support and raise the profile of small businesses across the country is being launched in Scotland by Small Business Saturday to help firms to cope with persistent economic challenges.
With an aim to spotlight and celebrate the vital contributions of the nation’s 5.5 million small businesses to the economy and local communities, ‘The Tour’ will set off in Inverness, on 30 October and go on to visit Fife and Glasgow, alongside 20 other towns and cities across the UK, 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-commercial 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 Glasgow, Exeter, and Belfast, to coastal communities such as Whitstable, and rural towns like Wrexham in North Wales.
Promise Okoye, founder of D’Lux Gift Box in Glasgow, said: “I am thrilled to see Small Business Saturday’s nationwide Tour begin its journey right here in Inverness. Running a business comes with its unique set of challenges, and having the backing of the campaign has been a game changer. I am so grateful for this incredible initiative, which not only champions small businesses but also fosters a sense of unity and purpose among entrepreneurs.”
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.
There will also be opportunities for business owners across Scotland and the wider UK to take part in Small Business Saturday’s online programme of free business support that is also 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.
“There are so many fantastic small businesses across the UK, it’s wonderful to have a network that unites and supports us. The Tour helps showcase the real diversity of businesses across the country – and in our case it’s great to put Fife’s small businesses on map!” said Gillian Erskine, co-founder of WildStrong, a business in Fife offering outdoor running and strength-building classes.
A Small Business Happy Hour will also take place every week on Instagram, with giveaways from local businesses all over the country.
“We are thrilled to kick off this year’s Tour in Scotland as we count down to Small Business Saturday,” said Michelle Ovens CBE, Director of Small Business Saturday UK.
“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.”
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.”
To get involved in ‘The Tour’ locally, or book virtual one-to-one mentoring sessions and workshops, small businesses should visit https://smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com/the-tour.