With Small Business Saturday just around the corner on December 1st, FSB Northern Ireland are asking consumers to consider supporting their small, local traders in the Christmas season.
This is the sixth year of the campaign that really celebrates the idea of the value small firms contribute to our economy. In 2017, an estimated £748 million was spent on the day, an increase of £29m on 2016.
Many high profile celebrities across the UK supported Small Business Saturday and the social media campaign was really successful with over 115,000 tweets were sent on the day itself reaching more than 115 million people, with #SmallBizSatUKUK trending at number one in the UK.
Regional Chair of FSB in Northern Ireland, Brendan Kearney said: “It is obvious how much the small business sector contributes to the economy in Northern Ireland – we are a small business economy, with SMEs accounting for 75 percent of private sector turnover, and employing more people here than all larger companies and the entire public sector combined.
“Small Business Saturday on the 1st of December gives everyone an opportunity to really show their support and in a sense say “thank you” for the contributions small businesses make to their local community and regional economy. We would encourage people to think about their local retailer and trader in this Christmas season when buying gifts and goods – make them your first port of call and you won’t be disappointed with the quality of goods and personal touch you that can make a difference to your experience and to their lives.”
Local MLAs were asked by FSB to nominate local businesses in their constituencies to showcase the variety of grassroots businesses in Northern Ireland. South Down MLA Colin McGrath (SDLP) visited businesses in the Co Down town of Castlewellan. Firstly, new retailer, Philip King of Kingo’s, who said: “Supported small and local meant that the money would circulate locally in the economy.” Colin also visited McKenny Menswear who have been a fixture in the town for almost 50 years, owner John McKenny said: “Supporting local business is a great thing for local towns in Northern Ireland and by supporting them you end up keeping towns alive, employment opportunities available locally and the whole community are benefiting.”
In Killyleagh, Strangford MLA Mike Nesbitt (Ulster Unionsit) visited Leontine Haines from the 4-star guest house, Dufferin Coaching Inn who said: “If people don’t support local business then it all disappears and gone are the opportunities to buy fresh produce which I do at my local grocers and butchers daily. There is a real opportunity in my business to advertise that you use local produce – it is a positive thing. It is great to be able to interact with your local shopkeeper or business owner and show that you are supporting your local community.”
Mike Nesbitt voiced his support, saying: “The Strangford constituency has a well-deserved reputation for the quality of its small businesses, be they retail, manufacturing or tourism-focused. The Dufferin Coaching Inn is an excellent example of something uniquely local that stands out from the uniformity of the multi-nationals.”