Business development · 22 April 2016

Small Business Saturday 2016 promises more people and more engagement

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The date for Small Business Saturday 2016 has been set for 3 December

The nationwide Small Business Saturday campaign will this year be celebrated on Saturday 3 December, it has been announced.

Supporting and promoting Britain’s small business community, the campaign will hope to build on the success of Small Business Saturday 2015, which last year saw £623m spent with small businesses in a single day.

Now in its fourth year in the UK, the campaign will once again see events planned throughout the country in the run-up to 3 December.

A nationwide bus tour will be expanded to reach more locations, and small business owners will be encouraged to create specific events and promotions themselves to mark the day. An annual search for 100 small businesses – the so-called “Small Biz 100” – will see one small business profiled each day in the 100 days leading up to 3 December.

As with previous years, the campaign will be running a series of free workshops held by experts and entrepreneurs for existing and aspiring small business owners called Inspire, which will be streamed online and be available via the Small Business Saturday YouTube channel.

New to 2016, the Small Business Saturday UK podcast will include campaign information as well as features of general interest to small business owners.

Small Business Saturday UK director Michelle Ovens said that this year’s campaign will strive to embrace more small business owners than ever before. “This year we aim to reach more people, get more engagement, and encourage more people to support small firms.

“We will be talking a lot about community because whether they are selling to consumers online or in a particular location, our small businesses are a community that benefits both our local and national economies,” she added.

At last year’s campaign launch Business Advice caught up with former-shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna, who first brought Small Business Saturday to the UK in 2012 after seeing the success it had had in the US.

Umunna was quick to highlight the support some of the UK’s key business organisations had for the campaign. “I knew we wouldn’t be able to do something like this unless we had different representative organisations together to start with. When I pitched it to them, they jumped at the chance,” he told Business

Umunna managed to bag the support of The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), The British Independent Retailers Association (bira), the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), all of which have once again pledged to support this year’s campaign. Enterprise Nation and the Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association have also announced support.

“All of them jumped on board with this in a very public way, which is wonderful,” added Umunna.

Speaking exclusively to Business Advice late last year, Ovens revealed that engagement is always the most important objective of each campaign. According to Ovens, almost two-thirds of the British public had heard of Small Business Saturday last year, and the intention is to increase awareness even further.

“It’s really about getting bums off seats,” Ovens confirmed. “We want to increase engagement – it’s not just about people knowing about Small Business Saturday but spending there too.”

The Small Business Saturday initiative was initially launched in the US by American Express in 2010. The company continues to support the campaign in the UK as part of a on-going commitment to encourage consumers to buy from smaller firms.

Read on to find out why Countdown’s Rachel Riley returned to her teenage weekend job in the run up to last year’s Small Business Saturday.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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