Small Business Saturday 2021: How Londoners can help SMEs facing ‘really tough time'

Londoners are being urged to shop local to support independent businesses (PA Wire)

Grassroots campaign Small Business Saturday is back for the ninth year in a row, and is set to help London's local, independent businesses take in much-needed extra revenues this weekend.

The non-profit initiative, backed by everyone from the Prime Minister and councils to celebrities, was launched in a bid to encourage people to shop local and support enterprises in their communities – from cafes and grocers to tattoo parlours.

A range of events are thrown on the day, including festive markets, shows, and light-hearted competitions for smaller businesses to join on their High Street. Many of the UK's six million small businesses take part.

Last year the event estimates it helped SMEs take in £1.1 billion in a single Saturday.

Small businesses were hit hard over the past 18 months, with thousands closing down around the country during the pandemic.

This year organisers said it is “particularly vital” that Londoners take part and consider spending on their doorstep tomorrow, as small businesses continue to face challenges.

SBS's latest research found surging utilities costs and supply chain issues are posing huge challenges, while a new survey from Simply Business suggested around one in five SMEs do not expect to survive 2022 without a bumper festive trading period.

Now they are also expecting reduced footfall due to the surging Omicron variant.

“Many are still facing a really tough time,” said SBS Director, Michelle Ovens CBE.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “This is more important now than ever before, the so many small businesses have suffered such a difficult year once again. Join me and millions of people across London and the UK as we support the small businesses that make our communities thrive.”

Organisers say they have seen a “huge upswing” in local events being held in London mark the day this year, which is encouraging.

Here we outline just some of the events, activities and projects happening to mark Small Business Saturday in London:

* SMEs all over London will be offering discounts and promotions

* Small businesses in Barnet have teamed up with the council for a fun shop window competition

* There will be local Christmas markets featuring independent traders in Putney, Teddington, Islington, and on Redchurch Street in Shoreditch

* A Feminist Library winter fair is being held on Sumner Road in Peckham

* Islington council is helping small businesses by working with software firm NearST to help them increase footfall. NearSt automatically shows shops' products at the top of Google to people searching for them nearby, then send them to your store

* Londoners are also being urged to give their favourite small businesses a good review on social media at some point during the day, to help their exposure

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