Big retailers show their support for small businesses 

Michelle Ovens CBE, Director of Small Business Saturday UK and Dan Edelman, General Manager, UK Merchant Services at American Express

As Small Business Saturday marked its tenth year celebrating small businesses in the UK last weekend, the campaign’s principal supporter in the UK American Express brought together some of the nation’s leading big retailers to highlight the value and contribution of their small counterparts. Small Business Saturday is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign that encourages people to ‘shop local’ and support businesses in their communities.

Recognising the significant challenges facing small businesses, American Express approached some of the UK’s most well-respected ‘big’ retailers to ask for their support in encouraging people to shop small on Small Business Saturday.

Boots, Fenwick, Robert Dyas, Selfridges, Timpson and Waitrose are the big-name brands who have stepped forward, sharing messages of support capturing why they’re proud to back small business. From stocking innovative products from small suppliers, to celebrating their small business customers, to acknowledging the major role that these small businesses play in creating healthy high streets, each Big Backing Small supporter has shared their unique perspective on why it’s so important for them to ‘back small’.

Over the 10 years that Small Business Saturday has been running in the UK, the campaign has engaged millions of people, and seen billions of pounds spent with small businesses across the UK on Small Business Saturday. It has gained support from political leaders, MPs, councils and business networks, with the Prime Minister, leader of the opposition and Mayor of London among those backing the campaign last year.

Dan Edelman, General Manager, UK Merchant Services at American Express, said: “A huge thank you to the big businesses who are part of Big Backing Small and shining a spotlight on how small businesses punch above their weight in creating a diverse retail sector and contributing so much to local communities. At what is such a challenging time for all businesses, it’s incredible to have their support and to celebrate Small Business Saturday, which has superbly championed the nation’s local, independent small businesses over the past 10 years.”

Michelle Ovens CBE, Director of Small Business Saturday UK, added: “The UK’s 5.5 million small businesses are vital to our economy, our society and our local communities, but they are facing massive challenges at the moment and need a huge boost. Small Business Saturday is all about shining a big spotlight on the phenomenal contribution of small businesses and mobilising people to support them. This help must come from across all of society and bigger businesses can play a major role in encouraging and backing entrepreneurs too.”

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

What the Big Backing Small supporters:

Elizabeth Hewitt, Head of Christmas, Boots  

“Congratulations to Small Business Saturday from all of us at Boots. As the UK’s number one health and beauty retailer, we are proud to support new and innovative businesses and to help our customers discover smaller, independent brands in our stores. Through our work with The Great Brand Exchange, we have been able to provide brands access to our store portfolio, with space in some of our flagship stores across the UK.”

Adam Kelly, Buying and Merchandising Director, Fenwick

“As a family-owned department store, Fenwick is proud of its continuing support of new and exciting independent labels. The small companies that Fenwick supports are broad ranging from diverse fashion and unique accessories brands to niche family run food companies. These innovative brands ensure there is always a sense of discovery for our customers at Fenwick. I’m delighted Small Business Saturday, founded and supported by American Express, is celebrating ten years of shining a spotlight on small businesses, it’s what keeps retail interesting.”

Robert Dyas

“A huge congratulations to Small Business Saturday, a grassroots initiative founded by American Express, which is celebrating 10 years this weekend. Initiatives like this are so important as every business starts somewhere, but the big difference in their growth journey is where they are recognised and helped along the way through the good, the bad and the ugly. Robert Dyas strives every day to support independent and small suppliers, and there is nothing better than watching them grow, which is why we are thrilled to be part of Big Backing Small.”

Catriona Woolner-Winders, Executive Communications Director, Selfridges

“Selfridges is proud to support small, independent brands and businesses, who each bring creativity and inclusivity to our experience and product offer, connecting with and inspiring our customers. From partnerships with specialist vintage resellers, to collaborating with stores like London’s iconic Machine-A and giving a platform the best young and emerging talent, small and independent is key to our point of view. It’s more important than ever to share our voice and spaces with small brands. With Small Business Saturday encouraging others to think this way, we can shift mindsets to protect a unique retail landscape, where diversity can thrive.”

James Timpson OBE, Chief Executive, Timpson

“Small businesses and the dedicated people that run them play a major role in creating healthy high streets – that’s why the Small Business Saturday campaign is vital to ensuring they are recognised and valued by shoppers. Timpson shares many of the same values that make small businesses special – great service, adaptability and willingness to try something new. We’re delighted to be part of Big Backing Small that spotlights and celebrates 10 years of Small Business Saturday and encourages people to keep showing their support for small businesses.”

Steven Hand, Head of Customer Experience and Store Development, Waitrose

“It’s great to hear that Small Business Saturday is celebrating 10 years this weekend. We’re really keen to help and support small businesses wherever we can, and we’re thrilled to say that Waitrose has partnered with The Great Brand Exchange. This relationship means that our customers have the chance to explore and shop with some incredible small brands in the run up to the festive season. We know that our customers are always on the lookout for exciting and innovative products when shopping with us, so we’re really happy to be offering this partnership.”

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024