Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament of Reading West, supported his local highstreets during Small Business Saturday this weekend.
This year’s Small Business Saturday, which aims to support and celebrate small businesses across the UK, took place on 4 December. Last year, approximately £1.1bn was spent in small businesses across the country on the day. The significance of Small Business Saturday was even more pronounced this year, as small businesses use these crucial winter months of trading to recover from the pandemic.
Alok visited a number of local businesses on the day and helped co-judge the Christmas window competition for businesses located in Theale High Street. Theale Green School Headteacher, Jo Halliday, was co-judge for the competition.
Following COVID-19, it is vital that small businesses grow and thrive again. The Government wants to give the UK’s many businesses the support and skills they need to drive the innovation, growth and job creation we need as we move towards a secure and prosperous future. This includes making sure every small and medium business in the country has access to productivity-boosting training and digital technology.
Earlier this year, the Chancellor announced the Help to Grow initiative, with two new business support schemes - Help to Grow: Management and Help to Grow: Digital - to boost productivity and drive growth among the UK’s small and medium sized businesses. Help to Grow: Management has been running since August, providing businesses with 90% subsidised management and leadership training, and access to alumni networks and one-to-one mentoring.
Businesses can now register their interest ahead of the launch of Help to Grow: Digital. When available, the scheme will give small and medium sized businesses access to free and impartial advice and support online, to help business leaders choose software that will transform their business. It will also offer eligible businesses a discount of up to 50%, worth up to £5,000, towards the purchase of approved software from a range of leading technology suppliers.
“It was great to be out and about in my constituency on Small Business Saturday. I was delighted to be asked to judge the Christmas shop window competition for local businesses on Theale High Street. Huge congratulations go to The Falcon for winning the competition, with La Baguetterie and Frame Direct close runners-up. I am grateful to Theale Parish Council for organising the whole evening so brilliantly.”
Paul Scully, Minister for Small Business said:
“We all know the impact that COVID-19 has had on our small businesses, and we have all been humbled by the resilience, resolve and determination they have shown in innovating and adapting to the challenges of the pandemic. Small Business Saturday 2021 is an opportunity to show our continued support and encourage our local communities to do so as well.”