Fylde coast firms are backing a scheme to big up small businesses this weekend.
Small business Saturday aims to help boost local firms from high street retailers to one-man-bands with a range of initiatives.
Championed in the UK by Chuka Umunna, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, and supported by the Prime Minister, the Business Secretary Vince Cable and the Minister for Skills Matthew Hancock, this non-political campaign highlights small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses.
Wyre council is offering free parking at all council pay and display car parks for the day. Don’t buy a ticket just park and shop and Fylde Council car parks are free on the day too. In Blackpool, the council is hosting an event in the Floral Hall at the Winter Gardens to show people how to start their own small business. Geoff Reeves, Blackpool Council’s small business advisor will be on hand all day on Small Business Saturday to offer advice and encouragement to those who may be starting out on the path to becoming a Fylde entrepreneur.
And 15 people who have done just that - started their own business with the help from Blackpool’s Get Started programme funded by Start Up Lancashire project and supported by European Regional Development Fund, will be there too to showcase their businesses and talk to people on the brink of joining them.
Geoff Reeves said: “We will have 15 businesses which started up this year from a barrister to greetings cards and even a close up magician.
“I will have a stand and be available to talk to anyone thinking of opening a business about loans, start up loan scheme, grants creating a business plan everything.
“We have had the best year ever at Get Started with the most start-ups, 25 per cent more than last year.
“We have high unemployment in Blackpool but this year we have had more than 90 people starting new businesses. At a time when people have been putting Blackpool down this shows there is life here and that people do want to get off benefits.”
Free help for SMEs on Saturday
Other helping hands for small businesses this Saturday include accountancy firm Jones Harris offering free tax advice.
Jim Baker, business Development Manager, (pictured) will be there at their Fleetwood offices on Saturday morning.
He said: “Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs are continually launching new campaigns to investigate areas which are known for abuse and to recoup unpaid taxes.
“People are sometimes unaware that they need to make these payments, or if they do know are unsure how to go about making sure that they only pay what they need to pay. These are the type of areas that we’re aiming to help with in this new surgery.”
The session will be on a first-come, first-served basis at the offices on St Peter’s Place between 10am and 12 noon. Another firm helping mark the UK’s first ever Small Business Saturday, is the People 1st Training Company which is offering small and medium businesses in Blackpool free passes to its People 1stWorldHost Insights online customer service training programme.
Businesses with up to 250 staff can claim their passes for the e-learning programme, which includes elements of the training used to prepare thousands of staff and volunteers for the London 2012 Olympic Games, by registering at http://sme.worldhost.co.uk
Over an hour-and-a-half course, WorldHost Insights gives staff an introduction into how to connect with customers.
Sharon Glancy, managing director said: “Small businesses play such an important role in the visitor economy in Blackpool and Small Business Saturday is a brilliant campaign that promotes that message.
“Offering excellent customer service is the most effective way of generating repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations, and we want to help.”