Call to visit small firms

Weston Small Business Saturday launch.

Weston Small Business Saturday launch. - Credit: Archant

BUSINESSES in Weston were given top billing in the town this weekend with the return of a national celebration of small and independent firms.

Will Jeffries (left) with experts and delegates.

Will Jeffries (left) with experts and delegates. - Credit: Archant

Shoppers were encouraged to take a step away from the usual high-street chains for Small Business Saturday, a yearly event which promotes local industry and entrepreneurship.

Around 99 per cent of the 4.9 million businesses in the UK are defined as small or ‘micro’, and the majority of money spent with them remains in the local economy, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), which is behind the event.

Business leaders including town centre manager Steve Townsend, mayor Raymond Armstrong and Dave Mountford, of Weston’s FSB branch, toured independent shops on Saturday morning, hoping to encourage others to do likewise.

Mr Mountford told the Mercury: “It’s about making people think differently because Weston has lots of independent shops which offer more than the larger retailers in many cases, in terms of both the quality and the range of what you can buy. But we need people to break away from the main part of the High Street to visit.

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“We had a great group to have a look round and hopefully with the awareness raised from the day too, it can all help.

“The main problem we have is not having anything directly connected from that area of the High Street to the independent shopping areas; there is not much of a link as such.

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“So we have got to encourage people to get out and see the areas of the town centre away from the usual chains.”

It was not just shoppers targeted, though, with business owners also invited to take part in events.

A workshop was run on the Grand Pier by Will Jeffries, owner of Authentic Digital, which was listed by the FSB among 100 small businesses to be promoted nationally in the run-up to Small Business Saturday.

He gave a lecture on the ‘mobile revolution’ to fellow entrepreneurs, with advice on how to adapt to accommodate social media and mobile devices in the digital age.

He said: “When businesses in the same community partner up, the mutual understanding they develop equips them to help one another succeed and support the society around them.”

Attendees had the chance to gain insight into marketing, finance and business strategy.

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