Tuesday 2 December 2014

Shoppers in Sheffield are being encouraged to support independent traders this weekend, in recognition of “Small Business Saturday.”

Small Business Saturday, which falls on Saturday, 6 December, is a national, non-political campaign which aims to encourage consumers to ‘shop local’ and support small businesses in their communities.

The initiative is particularly relevant in Sheffield, with the city home to a host of innovative independents, where independent retailers are thriving in areas such as Division Street, Sharrowvale Road and Chapel Walk, as well as through projects such as “Common People” which has seen pop-up shops introduced in areas including the Moor Market and the Winter Garden.

Councillor Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for business, skills and development at Sheffield City Council, said: “Sheffield has a real buzz of creativity, and we want it to be a place where independent traders and small businesses are given the tools and support they need to thrive.

“Through organisations such as Common People, traders can start-up and grow, and through Sheffield City Council’s own schemes, recently brought together under the Business Sheffield umbrella, entrepreneurs know that they have access to information and support which can help them to become established.

“This Saturday, I would encourage people to see what small businesses have to offer. This could mean anything from buying Christmas presents from the craftspeople, jewellers and designers based around our city, to doing their regular weekly shop at a market rather than the big chains.

“The best independents offer a unique quality and originality of goods, along with a friendly, personal service.”

Research by the Centre for Economic Strategies shows that, for every pound spent with a local, independent business, between 50p and 70p circulates back into the local economy.

By comparison, of every pound spent shopping online or out of town, only around 5pm trickled back into the local economy.

One successful independent business in Sheffield is “Grace’s Fabrics”, run by 72-year-old Grace Bolsover, which marked its 25th anniversary last week.

Mrs Bolsover, from Woodthorpe, traded in Crystal Peaks market for 16 years before moving to Castle Market and then the Moor Market when it opened last year.

The great-grandmother said: “Shopping local means that people get that special, individual, service that you just don’t get in the bigger shops.

“My customers like coming to me because they know my shop is all about family – my grandson works here, and so does my daughter. We also have staff members who have been here a long time; Marcie Brown is my right-hand woman. I wouldn’t be without her.

“Anyone who hasn’t visited us in the Moor Market yet should come in this Saturday and see just what we have to offer.”

Meanwhile, Business Sheffield is running a number of sessions this week, to tie in with Small Business Saturday, which are aimed at entrepreneurs and the self-employed, to help grow the next generation of small businesses.

These include:

  • Information session: “Employing people for the first time”, on Tuesday 2 December, in conjunction with Ironmonger Curtis
  • Information session: “Clinching the deal – How to perfect your pitch and win new business” on Wednesday 3 December
  • Coaching session: “What you should consider when starting a new business”, on Wednesday 3 December
  • Coaching session: “Registration and taxation for the self-employed – what you need to know” on Thursday 4 December.

To find out more, or to book a place on any of these sessions, call the new Business Gateway service on 0800 0435522 or 0114 224 5000.

Business Gateway, established earlier this year, aims to bring a huge range of help for businesses under one banner, meaning that those wanting to set up in the city – or grow their existing businesses – only have to go to one place in order to gain the advice they need.

The scheme was officially launched in September to coincide with MADE – The Entrepreneur Festival being hosted in Sheffield.

Coun Bramall added: ““Feedback from businesses and business intermediaries suggested that the previous support landscape was confusing and difficult to navigate, with too many brands, too many agencies, too many entry points.

“In response to this, we simplified the support we offer, brought it under a rebranded banner of Business Sheffield and established the Business Gateway service – building on First Point for Business – through which to channel all business enquiries in the city.

“The message is clear – Sheffield is open for business. I hope that people across the city support our start-ups and new firms on Small Business Saturday and help them blossom and thrive.”

People are being encouraged to Tweet about their favourite small businesses in Sheffield on Saturday, using the hashtag #SmallBizSatUk.

Free parking for shoppers will run in Sheffield City Council car parks and on-street parking bays, both in the city centre and in district shopping centres, from 2pm onwards on Saturday 6 December, Saturday 13 December and Saturday 20 December.

This came about after the council listened to retailers, who said that free parking on Saturdays would be more beneficial to them than free parking on Wednesdays, as occurred in previous years.

For further details on support for businesses in Sheffield, visit: http://www.welcometosheffield.co.uk/business