Small Business Saturday: An interview with Michelle Ovens MBE

posted by 3 years ago in Interview

Small businesses up and down the country will be running events and promotions to raise awareness through this year’s Small Business Saturday campaign on 3rd December.

The annual event launched with a national bus tour which stopped off in Chester and featured an online marketing workshop from Businesscomparison.com. We spoke to campaign director Michelle Ovens about what’s in store for the big day…

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In a nutshell, what is Small Business Saturday?

Small Business Saturday is an annual campaign to encourage support of small businesses, both on the day itself (3rd December this year) and all year round. We encourage small businesses to promote themselves and to trade with other small businesses, and we encourage customers to support their local small businesses, both on the high street and online

How has the campaign grown?

It has grown phenomenally over the last 4 years (we are in year 4!). And has seen over 25% growth in spend at small businesses on the day itself as well as huge engagement with the campaign on social media, traditional media and in local events around the country. Over 80% of local councils support the campaign now and so wherever you are in the country there will be something going on near you.

It’s been estimated that small businesses will contribute £217 billion to the UK economy by 2020. What’s responsible for the upturn?

The UK is a fantastic place to start and grow a small business, with a strong sense of awareness in communities about who they are spending with as well as a spirit of entrepreneurship prevalent. It has never been easier to start a business, learn about how to best run a business, market a business online and share your content and product through websites, social media or other platforms. This makes a huge difference to businesses that were previously offline – reach, impact, voice. All of this contributes to a booming business sector.

There has been economic uncertainty in 2016 for small businesses with the EU referendum. Has this had an impact on your campaign?

We don’t comment on the referendum, but I will say that we are seeing even more support than ever before for the campaign, so it is going to be a strong year for us and hopefully small businesses too.

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You’ve run a national bus tour in the weeks leading up to Small Business Saturday. How has that gone?

Fantastically! The bus has been so well received all over the country – 29 stops in 5 weeks, going from A to B (Aberdeen to Bournemouth) with the theme of taking your business from A to B – there have been loads of workshops and help and advice sessions on the bus, which have been incredibly well supported across the UK. We will definitely be back next year with our big blue bus!

 Are there any small businesses that have stood out?

So many! We are not allowed to have favourites! However we do pick 100 businesses each year for our Small Biz 100 – so I would suggest you check them out as they are brilliant!

You usually have some big names supporting the campaign. Who’s behind you this year?

So many people support us now! A few examples – the Prime Minister, Karren Brady, Levi Roots, Olly Proudlock….

What’s planned for the big day on 3rd December?

Lots of events around the country! Follow on social media for news of what is happening near you @SmallBizSatUK

Is there still time for businesses to get involved?

Yes! Go to our website and get your marketing pack and logos and put yourself on our map! www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com