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Small Business Saturday was ‘a no brainer’, says Shadow Business Secretary

Small Business Saturday was ‘a no brainer’, says Shadow Business Secretary

Chuka Umunna, Labour’s shadow business secretary, helped bring Small Business Saturday (SBS) to the UK.

Speaking in an interview with Startups, a website aimed at entrepreneurs and small firms, Chuka Umunna detailed how he dreamt up the idea to help bring SBS to UK shores.

The event made its second annual appearance on December 6th, and is designed to promote independent retailers.

After coming across the US version in action on Twitter, Mr Umunna “Googled it and loved the idea, it was a simple concept; helping small businesses recognise their potential. It was a no-brainer, it’s easy for businesses to become a part of it.”

He quickly realised the potential for its use in the UK, and started formulating plans. After traveling to the US to meet with the Barack-backed SBS team and studying how to market it, he came up with three golden rules to make it work in Britain:

  1. Be non-party political – instead, he got in touch with local authorities to get their backing
  2. Operate from the bottom up – as he says, it won’t work top-down
  3. Centre on small businesses – it’s not for large companies, though they can offer support

After pitching the idea in early 2013, Mr Umunna found that “the response was overwhelming, everyone was really interested in it.”

“I then brought together several leading organisations such as the Forum of Private Business to get their feedback, and they were all behind it,” he added.

Thousands of businesses have signed up for 2015, and SBS has the backing of the Federation of Small Businesses as well as large corporates such as O2 and Lloyds TSB.

When asked how SBS helps new UK businesses and small retailers, Umunna said: “SBS provides a vehicle for networking and collaboration. It’s about promoting your local area, and it’s not about just attracting business on the day – it’s also about the repeat custom.”

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