Published: October 29th, 2021
Setting off from the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, The Tour will visit 20 British towns and cities to support, inspire and spotlight the 6 million small businesses across the UK, as part of the countdown to Small Business Saturday.
And for the first time it will showcase a fleet of eco vehicles that reflect daily life for small businesses and the sustainable switches many are making or considering – including an electric van, car and scooter, as well as a ‘delivery style’ push bike.
This comes as 97% of small businesses say sustainability is important to their business, according to research by Tour supporter BT Skills for Tomorrow and Small Business Britain.
It will be a zero emissions Tour and this sustainability focus is part of a drive both to reduce environmental impact, and to highlight the important role small businesses play in getting the UK to Net Zero by 2050.
The Tour will for the first time deliver a hybrid format of online and in-person activity. This will include virtual workshops, webinars and mentoring on a range of small business topics, as well as on the ground visits and live-streamed interviews with local businesses in cities including Manchester, Belfast, Cardiff, and Edinburgh, as well as coastal towns like Whitley Bay and rural Hereford.
“We are so excited to get back on the road with this new Tour and put the spotlight on fantastic small businesses and their communities, as well as opening up skills and networking opportunities to millions of entrepreneurs using a new hybrid format,” said Michelle Ovens, CBE, director of Small Business Saturday.
“Running The Tour in an environmentally conscious way is incredibly important to us, and in doing so we hope to encourage small businesses to take the leap and pledge to go Net Zero.”
Chris Sims, BT’s managing director for its SoHo (Single/small office, home office) unit, said: “Despite the hugely tough period small businesses have endured across the UK, we have seen many businesses embrace new ways of working and a shift towards digital. The Tour is a fantastic initiative to reach out and support small businesses with the digital skills they need as they look to scale up in key areas such as digital marketing and sustainability, and we are delighted to be supporting it again this year.”
Kicking off on 1 November, The Tour will be on the road for a month, finishing in London shortly ahead of Small Business Saturday on 4 December.
Now in its ninth year in the UK, Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign, which celebrates small business success and encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ and to support businesses in their communities.
Last year Small Business Saturday achieved record-breaking success and saw an estimated £1.1 billion spent with small businesses across the UK on the day, according to research from American Express, the campaign’s founder and principal supporter in the UK.