Small businesses contribute massively to their local communities as well as Britain's economy. If you're the owner or manager of a small business we're here to let the world know how great you are. While you are quietly getting on with running your business, we will be shouting about all the great ways that you support families, young people, the environment, the economy, other businesses and vulnerable people in your communities. Even you may not realise that you are doing all of this.
The Get Britain Trading campaign has started a celebration of small businesses!
Varied and creative Britain
Small businesses ensure Britain is a creative and diverse country to live in. Without them Britain and its towns and cities would be very dull. 99.2% of businesses in the UK are small (0 to 49 employees) and, according to the United Kingdom Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities (SIC), there are 728 different types of businesses. There are so many interesting and different small businesses in the UK, from hairdressers to engineering firms and from manufacturers to coffee shops.
Helping young people
Small firms are active in providing young people with the skills they need to enter the workforce. The majority of apprentices work for SMEs. 70% of apprentices are employed by organisations with fewer than 100 employees, including 47% employed in organisations with fewer than 25 employees.
Assisting vulnerable groups
By being involved in Payroll Giving, volunteering and other charitable donations small businesses are contributing towards national and local causes and helping vulnerable groups within communities. Payroll Giving increased by £8 million in the last financial year to £114 million (HMRC) and around 50% of the 10,000 employers involved in the scheme are estimated to be SMEs.
By providing flexible and part-time working options, small firms are helping employees and families to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Only 11% of SMEs had refused a flexible working request in 2008 compared to 38% of larger organisations.
Many small businesses are active in reducing energy bills, recycling and encouraging green travel, helping to reduce the UK's carbon footprint and contributing towards a greener environment. Smaller firms have an inherent advantage over larger businesses in that they see business and environmental needs as closely aligned. When we surveyed Forum members in July 2011, 77% said it was possible to undertake environment friendly practices during a recession. Download the research here >
Encouraging other small firms
Many small business owners are involved in business mentoring schemes, and others do this in an informal capacity. This involves helping start-ups and other businesses to realise their potential by providing advice, coaching and support. There are currently around 21,000 business mentors in the UK, the majority of which are owners of small and medium-sized businesses.
Keeping it local
Small businesses invest a significant amount of profits into their local area, supporting local communities and economies to flourish. In a recent survey for Get Britain Trading, 60% of Forum members were looking to grow their business locally in 2011 and invest 54% of turnover in their local communities. Download the results of this survey >
Paying suppliers within 30 days means small firms are helping businesses to manage their cash flow and survive during difficult economic times, yet only 43% of all contracts are paid on time. Larger firms are the worst offending late payers, with small firms more likely to pay their bills on time.
Small businesses employ 46.2% of the UK's workforce, helping to support families throughout Britain.
Keeping the economy growing
Small businesses contribute towards 24.9% of the UK's wealth.