So often when we put on the news or are watching television and the adverts come on, we see big business. Whether it’s global giants like Coca Cola with their famous Christmas advert, or supermarkets such as Tesco or Asda who are promoting their latest offers, there are so many avenues for us to see what big companies are up to.
But what is not seen is the thousands of small businesses that we have right here in Burnley and Padiham, which collectively, with small businesses from around the UK, make up the backbone of the British economy. They are businesses that employ our friends, our family, our neighbours. They form the heart of our communities. And together they account for 99% of the total business population.
Most will be familiar with the old phrase of Napoleon, that ours was “a nation of mere shopkeepers” and whilst he wasn’t trying to be complementary, to me that has always been our strength. Individuals creating, pursuing, and innovating with the latest products and services. It’s what makes us such a great nation and is something which we should all be proud of, especially considering that we have plenty of it within our own borough.
On Saturday I visited several of these businesses to celebrate Small Business Saturday. From local furniture outlets to a new Apple approved mobile phone repair shop. It’s a chance to recognise all the positive contributions made by those who don’t have the hundreds of thousands of pounds in advertisement budgets, and to bring in to focus their achievements.
Because it takes a lot to go it alone and setup your own business. It requires hard work and determination, and acts as the bedrock of entrepreneurship. They’re the ones that are of, and not just in, our community, and it’s my mission to support them in whatever way I can.
That’s why it’s vitally important that we back them by shopping local, especially in the run up to Christmas.
Whether it’s a market stall in Burnley town centre, the independent retailer in Padiham, the village shop in Worsthorne, or one of the many businesses who operate in a whole range of areas. From hospitality, arts and crafts to local engineering.
Without big budget ads to pull people in, these businesses rely on word of mouth and social media to attract custom. And we all know that when you use these business, buy their products and services, it is of the highest quality. That’s what makes them stand out. And is why I’ll continue to promote them at every opportunity, both locally and in Parliament.
Government undoubtedly has a part to play too. Securing the £20 million Levelling Up Fund for example will see transformational change in the environment business can operate in, providing the right space for small businesses to thrive in Burnley town centre, much like the transformation that has already happened in Padiham. Mixed with the Future High Streets Task Force, which is providing knowledge and information on how to attract new people to our area, it will make sure that those who need that extra help will receive it. And that means more opportunities and a better offering for all residents.
Celebrating everything that small business is about is vitally important. Because it has to be remembered that every big business once started out as a small business. If we are to see our local companies thrive and grow, providing employment opportunities for future generations then they need our wholehearted support. So, this Christmas I’d urge everybody to shop local and support our independent traders.
And to all the small business owners across Burnley, Padiham, and all our villages, thank you for everything you do.
For information about what's on offer in Burnley Market click here
For Padiham businesses click here