Small Business Saturday tour kicks off in North West

The North West has been chosen to host the launch of this year’s Small Business Saturday UK tour, which is designed to support and promote the UK’s 5.6 million small businesses.

Blackburn and Birkenhead are the region’s two flagship towns which will host the start of the campaign, highlighting the North West’s top small businesses while offering free mentoring.

The annual Small Business Saturday nationwide tour begins in Blackburn, on Thursday, October 25, before heading to Merseyside for a stop in Birkenhead the following day, on October 26.

A tour bus will offer free mentoring sessions to small businesses, including mentors from Xero’s network of specialist accountants.

At each stop, 20 local small businesses will board the bus to exhibit to the public and encourage people to get behind the campaign.

The bus stop features a special ‘Blue Sofa’ interview series, where small businesses, entrepreneurs and leading local figures will share stories about their experiences in the local area to a Facebook live audience.

The tour will also highlight the North West’s representatives from the ‘Small Biz 100’ – the 100 nationally-selected small businesses spotlighted each day in the 100-day countdown to Small Business Saturday on December 1.

A growing business hotspot, the North West has been chosen as the launch of this year’s tour due to its huge contribution to the economy.

Almost 10% of the UK’s Gross Value Added (GVA) came from the region, according to latest figures from the ONS, bringing more than £167bn to the economy through 530,000 registered businesses.

Now in its sixth year, the Small Business Saturday UK campaign bus will travel more than 3,000 miles across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, visiting 30 locations over 25 days.

Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday, said: “We are excited for the Small Business Saturday bus tour to launch in the North West, a region that continues to grow and whose small businesses have a huge impact on their communities.

“The bus tour will be a fantastic opportunity to champion small businesses in Blackburn, Birkenhead and beyond, while providing a place for discussion and mentoring.

“The tour is not just open to businesses, it’s open to everyone – as all individuals can appreciate the far-reaching impact small businesses have on their community.”

Small Business Minister, Kelly Tolhurst, added: “With more than 1,000 starting up every day, the UK’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy and at the heart of our modern industrial strategy.

“The Small Business Saturday bus tour showcases the vital contribution they make to our economy and communities up and down the country. I would like to encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the tour and the day itself.”

The Small Business Saturday bus will stop in each location from 10am-2pm. Local companies can book a mentoring session with Xero on either October 25 or 26, via the Small Business Saturday website.

Now in its sixth year, Small Business Saturday is the UK’s most successful campaign of its kind, which last year saw an estimated £748m spent across small businesses over the duration of the day.

A grassroots, not-for-profit campaign, Small Business Saturday was originally founded by American Express in the US, in 2010.

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