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Small Business Owners are Vital to the UK Economy

Here in the UK we rely on small to medium businesses like your own as they’re such a vital part of our economy.  Last year there were 5.7 million businesses in the UK and more than 99% of these were small or mediums sized businesses (employing 0 – 249 people).  A massive 5.5 million businesses were micro-businesses employing fewer than 10 people but accounting for 33% employment and 22% of turnover.  When it comes to business launches, 414,000 new businesses launched in 2017, compared with 328 business closures, meaning that business is still on the increase.  As for feminism, 21% of SMEs are led by a woman and in 28% of FTSE100 board members, 28% were female.

When it comes to business here in the UK, they are good for the economy, good for employment and good for customers so supporting our small businesses is a vital part of keeping the UK economy in good health. 

It’s often the case that when faced with large, multi-national corporations, small business owners feel that they just cannot offer the same competitive prices on goods and services but this is not necessarily so.  Small businesses have the added advantage that they are able to offer the personal touch which is so important to shoppers nowadays.  Smaller businesses are also on the ball when it comes to appealing to shoppers’ consciences, offering a more ethical service or product than their large counterparts.

While it’s true that many of the large corporations advertise their ethical policies and display badges and awards demonstrating their commitment to the environment, this needs to be looked at more closely.  It’s often the case that the transportation of goods to branches in towns and cities across the UK adds to the carbon footprint of the products.  It may be great to learn that the fruit you buy in a supermarket has been grown organically, but if it’s been transported half way around the world to reach the point of sale, the environmental advantages of organic farming may be lost. 

Large companies may supply eco-friendly carrier bags that quickly decompose but those carrier bags may be filled with bananas wrapped in plastic, fruit packaged in polystyrene trays with plastic wrappers and sauces in squeezy plastic bottles that take a lot longer to decompose.  You may buy pickles in a glass jar (more eco-friendly than plastic) only to find that there is a plastic drainer to make getting the pickles out easier! 

It’s often the case that our hectic modern lifestyles mean that we don’t have time to shop in the way in which we would wish – local.  Many of us here in the UK would love to support these smaller businesses more and manage to do so when shopping online, buying from independent sellers on platforms like eBay, Etsy, etc.  However, when it comes to food shopping (which we all have to do on a regular basis), the smaller, local shops find it difficult to compete with the convenience offered by large supermarkets where customers can buy all they need under one roof.

Next week we’re going to take a look at an initiative that is set to turn that situation on its head, making it easy and convenient to support local food shops in the internet age.