Small businesses playing critical role in helping communities during Coronavirus crisis

  • 27 May 2020

A new report from the Federation of Small Businesses has shed light on the scale of small business efforts to help their communities during the current crisis.

Although thousands of small firms and self-employed individuals are temporarily shut down or facing uncertain futures, the new research has highlighted how they are engaging with their local towns, cities, and local areas to selflessly help their communities.

 

The report, New Horizons, highlights how thousands of small firms are going out of their way to help the vulnerable, saving jobs and finding new ways to keep businesses operating.

It shows how many small businesses have reinvented their business models, products, services and business practices. Many have added a new digital offer or enhanced their existing digital services and that is why it is so important the government makes funding available to support smaller businesses to adopt digital technologies that will enable them to recover from the crisis and improve their productivity.

Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry, said: “These are very uncertain times for all businesses, with futures unknown. Small firms have long been the champions of innovating, adapting and engaging with others especially during difficult periods, and the current situation is no exception.

“Right across the country we are seeing countless acts of kindness, volunteers and community efforts on display from small businesses and the self-employed, helping each other to survive, recover and thrive.

“Since the crisis started, we’ve seen how more than half of all small firms (57%) are carrying out key roles in their communities, with about a third prioritising their businesses for the vulnerable and about a quarter donating provisions to food banks.

“This is a testament to the efforts of all of the country’s 5.8 million small businesses and their importance to local communities.

“Small firms have also played a crucial role in supporting our key workers. Around a quarter (23%) have stepped up in some way to aid key workers, whether that be through volunteering or returning to work for the NHS, providing critical PPE and hand sanitisers as well as offering up support and accommodation for those professionals who are working tirelessly to save lives.

 

“Small businesses have introduced new creative solutions and frugally innovated to keep afloat and help others at this critical time. They have developed a wide range of innovative marketing strategies to provide their products and services during the lockdown. 

“Small businesses remain the backbone of the economy, pillars of local communities and crucial outlets of support. Government support has ensured that many of these businesses can either continue to trade in some way or pick up where they left off after the crisis. That’s why it’s more important than ever to support our small businesses wherever possible.”

Further support for small businesses came in the recent initiative between FSB and the Mail/Metro Media to provide £5million of free advertising.

But the newspaper group’s grants include a tailored advertising package worth £3,000 each, for use across its print and online titles.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak applauded the partnership, saying it will make a “real difference”.

He told FSB: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and that’s why we’ve been rolling out unprecedented support like the Bounce Back Loans and our furlough scheme, which have already helped hundreds of thousands of businesses with billions of pounds.

 

“But I am a great believer in everyone playing their part, particularly in a time of crisis.

“So I’m delighted to see the FSB work with the Mail to provide free advertising for SMEs to help them get back on their feet. I know you’re already working through thousands of applications, so thank you to all FSB members and staff involved in such a great initiative.”

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