Stroll, shop, save and socialise on Small Business Saturday

Small businesses have their own Black Friday – and it’s a campaign to encourage shopping locally and co-operatively. Small Business Saturday – or Shop Small Saturday in the USA...

Small businesses have their own Black Friday – and it’s a campaign to encourage shopping locally and co-operatively.

Small Business Saturday – or Shop Small Saturday in the USA – is taking place tomorrow (3 December) in the UK to show support to a different sector of shopping.

Founded in the UK by AMEX, the campaign aims to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.

The company’s research conducted last year showed that social media endorsements from everyone who shops small regularly could contribute around £31.3bn to the small business economy.

Small Business Saturday defines small businesses as those with an annual turnover less than £10m. According to Co-operatives UK, there are 6,662 small independent co-operative businesses operating across the country.

Communications manager Giles Simon said: “What makes co-operatives unique is that they are run not by institutional investors or distant shareholders, but by their members.

“People, as consumers, have a vast amount of choice. But what’s more appealing: to purchase goods and services from a local business that supports the community in which it operates, or from a business – whether online or on the high street – which isn’t values-led?

“People tend to agree that shopping local is a more pleasant experience.”

Small Business Saturday UK is an annual grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which highlights small business success and encourages consumers to shop locally and support small businesses in their communities.

Last year, UK customers spent £623m – an increase of £119m on 2014 – and over 75% of local councils actively supported the campaign. #SmallBizSatUK trended at number 1 all day on with over 100,000 tweets, reaching more than 25 million people.

Campaigns director Michelle Ovens said: “One of the main benefits we have seen over the first four years of Small Business Saturday is the way in which it brings small, independent companies together, to make contact, share ideas and best practice and in many cases work together in the spirit of the co-operative concept.

“Small businesses are by their nature agile, innovative and flexible and when they work together, their ability to achieve great things is remarkable. So in as much as we are asking the public to support small independent businesses this Small Business Saturday, we also hope the businesses themselves will use the network that the campaign offers to find new ways of working together for mutual benefit.”

American co-ops Purple Porch and Ticonderoga Natural Foods Co-op ran an all-day discounts on locally produced goods this year, while Valley Natural Foods gave away goody bags.

Around 40,000 co-operatives ranging from smaller credit unions to local groceries to worker-owned service providers exist across the USA. The total co-op economy is over $500bn, meaning the smaller co-op businesses make up over half of the co-op economy.

President and chief executive of the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) Judy Ziewacz said: “When you shop at a co-op, your money stays local because the community members own that business.”

A similar event called Social Saturday, which encourages people to buy from social enterprises, took place in October. The annual campaign, which is supported by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, gathers support for businesses that put people and the planet first.

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